Hope you are enjoying the ride on #XploreBharat express with a recent trip to Daman with Supriya yesterday. Today the train reaches a major city, the land of temples, beaches and of course superstar Rajnikanth – Chennai!
I was born and raised in Delhi and for me Saddi Dilli is much more than just a motto- it’s a culture. Being married to a Tamilian and settled in Gurgaon after marriage, Chennai was never on my radar till my husband and I came to live here about 3.5 years back.
As the locals say, Chennai is a city and Madras is an emotion. Being the capital of Tamil Nadu it is a major center of activity and boasts of being one of the oldest cities in India.
Here’s how my relationship has evolved with ‘Namma’ Chennai.
P.C. – Marina beach from Wikimedia Commons
It was definitely not love at first sight. But I came with an open mind. This place and its biggest treasure – its people, welcomed me with open arms and made me comfortable. Some cultural differences were evident. I was fascinated right from taking off shoes before entering a house to having rice, rice and more rice for every meal! I was surprised by the concept of getting served with only hot drinks everywhere despite the hot weather.
Chennai made me realize some very distinct caste differences, not just in terms of the line of work or appearances but also in the way certain customs were done only by few and not others. Temples dot every nook and corner of the city and the beach is its greatest attraction.
P.C. – A jasmine vendor from Wikimedia Commons
After a year or so it felt like home. While relatives had been nice and loving right from the beginning and made me comfortable in their city, I had made new friends too. I started soaking in the sight of vibrant temples, fresh flowers, women in bright saris and men in dhotis / lungis all around me. I stopped looking for the high rise buildings I got so used to in the millennial city of Gurgaon and started enjoying the buzzing city and crowded streets. Over time, with IT sector booming here and lots of job opportunities being created, one has started seeing many more immigrants come into this city. You can overhear more of Hindi being spoken compared to the traditional bias against the use of that language. I am still to adapt to the three seasons of Chennai- Hot, Hotter, Hottest!
Here are some tips for your next Chennai visit. For further details, drop a comment here and I would love to help you out!
How to get here – You can reach by road, rail or air. The city is well connected to other major cities in India and abroad.
Where to stay – You can stay in any part of the city in any budget, depending on your preference. For those who want to be in the midst of the entire buzz, stay in the heart of the city. For a resort vacation, go down East Coast Road (ECR) running parallel to the ocean and pick one of the numerous lavish properties there. It’s a nice drive and well connected to the city.
P.C. – Kapaleeswarar temple from Wikimedia Commons
Places to visit in Chennai – The top places to visit are beaches, temples, churches and parks.
- Marina beach is the second longest urban beach in the world.
- Edward Elliot’s beach, also known as Besant nagar beach, is a popular hangout for the youth. The beach ends with Velankanni church and the Ashtalakshmi temple.
- Breezy beach is located in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar (Thiruvanmiyur) and is very close to my place. It’s nice and breezy and usually not as crowded as the other beaches.
- Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore is one of Chennai’s oldest and best-known temples. It’s beautiful and spectacular.
- Guindy National Park is a delight to visit with kids and is well maintained
- Shore temple in Mahabalipuram is a must visit
- Taj Fisherman’s cove is a great beach resort with many activities and wonderful food to relish
P.C. – Basketball at Thiruvanmiyur beach by Satyam
What to do – This place is a paradise for literary geniuses and music lovers with its local music festivals, book festivals, Lit fest etc.
Places to visit around Chennai – Chennai is surrounded by beautiful places and you can plan a weekend getaway to many of them when you visit. Some of my favourite destinations over the years have been Ooty, Coorg, Conoor, Munnar, Bangalore and of course the closest one being Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry.
P.C. – Shore temple in Mahabalipuram from Pixabay
I have summed up my journey in Chennai in these few lines –
It took several years to get to know each other
For when I came, my heart was still in Delhi
Now, a part of me will be left here forever
The city taught me something
And I gave back the city some others
Amid all noise, I will always hear the temple bells ring
I discovered in my time here, there’s more to me
Through so many friends, family and experiences
I never imagined I would see
P.C. – Bharatnatyam performance from Wikimedia Commons
India with its diverse cultures, languages, customs and food options offers a vast variety of wonderful places to visit and stay in. There are so many places that I’m yet to explore and I’m glad that at least I’m exploring them virtually as a part of the #XploreBharat blog train, till I go there physically.
Share your experiences of your visit to Chennai. Check out my previous post on Pondicherry as a part of #Xplorebharat with #BlogBoosterIndia blog train.
Tomorrow the express will leave for its next destination as Manas takes discovers the hidden gems of Goa.
P.C. – Title image is of Thiruvanmiyur beach clicked by Satyam (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This post is a part of the #XploreBharat Blog Train hosted by
Aditi, Esha, Maheshwaran, Preeti, Saba, Pragun, Sanjota, Sonia, Sudip, Suhasini, and Supriya, sponsored by KAIV and FABZANIA.