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Chennai, previously known as Madras, is situated on the Bay of Bengal in the south of India and is one of the main gateways to places further south in the country. It is a major destination for health tourism, though there are plenty more things to see and do in this rapidly growing city.
With a unique cultural flavour, Chennai offers something different to other places in India. The main food is rice, and accompaniments use a lot of spices for extra zing. Local cuisine caters for both vegetarians and meat lovers.
Some of Chennai's main sights include the Basilica of the National Shrine of St Thomas, built over the tomb of one of Jesus Christ's Apostles, the old British built church of St Mary's, and the magnificent Wallajah Mosque. For lovely temples check out Karaneeswarar Temple, the old Kapaleeswarar Temple, and Parthasarathy Temple. The brightly coloured Valluvar Kottam and Fort St George are also highlights in the city.
Children will enjoy the large Arinjar Anna Zoo, with its extensive selection of animals. Nature lovers will like the Pallikaranai Wetland, Nanmangalum Reserve, the botanical garden, and the Guindy National Park and Snake Park. There are museums and art galleries across the city.
For some relaxation, you can go to one of the lovely beaches. Although you cannot swim, they are great for sunbathing. Chennai is known for its great performing arts scene; check out a concert, dance show, and the cinema. Pondy Bazaar is a great spot to pick up some souvenirs.
Chennai International Airport is a major gateway to the city. There are also two long distance train stations, and bus services. To get around Chennai, there are local trains and buses, auto rickshaws, and taxis.
Browse our Chennai Holidays or the Chennai Airport guides for further details and hot travel tips. Country travel information is available at our India Holidays guide.