The Marina Beach

The pride of Chennai is the second longest beach in the world Marinaand has a wide sandy shore. Situated on the beach, are the Samadhis or memorials dedicated to C.N.Annadurai and M.G.Ramachandran, both former Chief Ministers of the state. They attract thousands of visitors everyday. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Chennai such as the University of Madras, the Senate House, Chepauk Palace, Presidency College and the Ice House are located on the beach drive.

Elliot’s Beach

Following the road along Elliotthe coast down southward from the Marina one reach the Elliot’s beach. This long stretch of the coastline has the Velankanni church at one end. Built on similar lines to the church in Nagapattinam this church too attracts a large number of pilgrims. The Ashtalakshmi temple, which houses different forms of Goddess Lakshmi is another favourite place for devotees and tourists.

Vivekananda House & Museum

The state government had leased this building Sri Ramakrishna Mission. It is an imposing structure on the Marina along the South Beach Road. It was constructed in 1842 to store ice blocks imported from the USA by the Tudor Ice Company and the business continued until 1874, when the ice began to be produced locally. This is why it is called Ice House. Later Bilagiri Iyengar purchased this building in 1885 and called it "Castle Kernon."

In 1897 Swami Vivekananda Vivekanandavisited this city and stayed in this historic building from February 6 to 15 in 1897 on his way to Calcutta, after his acclaimed speech at Chicago for the Parliament of Religions. The Government took over the building in 1930 and in 1963 it was named after Vivekananda. On the eve of his Centenary Celebrations, in 1999 the building was renovated and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu unveiled the sage’s statue on the 20th December 1999. Photographs depicting the historical happenings associated with his life and books about him and his own written works are on display and sold here in the Museum.

Guindy National Park

The Deer Park, comprising 595 acres, is situated adjacent to Raj Bhavan. It was originally a part of the Governor’s Estate. This is the only National Park in the world to be situated within a Metropolis. GuindyIt is botanically the only one of its kind to carry even today, vegetation that is truly representative of the natural thorny scrub jungle of southern dry zone. Interspersed with more than 30 trees species that include a number of centuries-old gigantic banyan trees. This park with a network of roads, footpaths, nature trails, lakes and ponds, offers good opportunities for viewing wild life

The main attraction of this park is fauna such as the rare Indian Antelope popularly known as the Black Buck found nowhere else in the world. This is also a sanctuary for the endangered animals like the Spotted Deer, White Buck, Bonnet Monkey, Small Indian Civet Cat, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Common Mongoose and the Common Palm Civet Cat. The bird life is also equally interesting. You can see the King Fisher, Blue Jay, Golden Backed Woodpecker, Crow Pheasant, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Redwattle Lapwing, Blue Faced Malkoha, Shrikes, Koels, Doves, Munias, Parakeets, Grey Partridge, Tailor birds, Robins, Drongos, Quails, Bird of Paradise Flycatcher and the Stone Curlew can be seen here.

Timings:- 8.30 a.m - 5.30 p.m

Holiday:- Tuesday

Entry Fee:- Adult : Rs.5/- Child : Rs. 2

Phone No:- 22301328

Snake Park

This is situated adjacent to the Children’s Park within the Guindy National Park. It houses an impressive collection of snakes. Demonstration of the extraction of venom is an absorbing activity here. The King Cobra,Python,Turtle,Tortoise and the Monitor Lizard are some of the popular reptiles that can be seen.

Timings:- 8.30 a.m. to 5.30p.m.

Entry Fee:- Adult: Rs. 5.00/- Child: Rs. 2.00

Holiday:- Tuesday

Phone No:- 22353623.

Children’s Park

Within the limits of the Guindy National Park is the Children’s Park. Play for recreation and animal houses sheltering various animals are available. There are a large number of specimens of reptiles and an aviary with different species of birds.

Timings:- 9.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Holiday:- Tuesday

Phone No:- 22301328

Entry Fee:- Adult : Rs. 2/- Child : Rs. 1

Birla Planetarium

The Birla Planetarium, at Kotturpuram, is situated between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country. It houses a fully computerised projector that depicts the heavens on a hemispherical dome. The Planetarium presents to the public and students audiovisual programmes on various themes in astronomy.

Adjoining the planetarium is the Periyar Sceince and Technology Museum, which is of interest to students and other science enthusiasts. Timing : 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.


English Programme : 10.45 a.m.,1.15 p.m.and 3.45 p.m.

Tamil Programme : 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.

Phone No:- 24915250.

Entry Fees:- Adult :Rs. 20.00/- Child : Rs. 10.00

The Govt. Museum , National Art Gallery

The Pantheon complex was built before 1789 and was a place of assemblage for the British. The Government bought it in 1830 and later several new buildings were added to it. Today this complex houses the Government Museum, the National Art Gallery and the Connemara Public Library.

The Government Museum was established Museumin the year 1857 and has the country’s best collection of South Indian bronzes, both ancient and modern. Among which beautiful bronze icons of Nataraja, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. The museum also has geology and anthropology sections. The Amaravathi Gallery contains the rare second century marble sculptures, depicting important events in the life of Gautama Buddha. The sculptures were unearthed from the Buddhist ruins at Amaravathi and are housed here. The bronzes from the 10th and 13th centuries and handicrafts from the 11th and 12th centuries also are seen here.

The National Art Gallery exhibits several beautiful paintings that include 16th and 18th century ones from Rajasthan, the Mughal period and 17thcentury Deccani art.

Entry fee:- Adult Rs.15.00/- Child Rs.10.00

Timings:- 9.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.


Phone No:- 28193238.

Valluvar Kottam

This memorial to the immortal Tamil Valluvarsaint philosopher Thiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is in fact the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the 39 metre tall chariot.

The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall and corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvarkottam is said to be the largest in Asia and it can accommodate about 4000 people. The latest additions in this complex are paintings depicting themes from Thirukkural.

Entry fee:- Adult Rs.3.00

Timings:- 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.

Phone No:- 28172177.

Fort St. George

Fort st.George occupies pride of place and prominence in Chennai. This bastion derived its name form St. George, the patron saint of England. The State Legislature and the Secretariat are located inside this fort . The St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India built in 1680 is situated here. The tombstones in its courtyard are some of the oldest British tombstones in India. The weddings of Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale, who later founded the famous Yale University in the U.S.A were solemnised in this ancient prayerhouse.

Gudiyam Caves (75 kms)

Situated 10 kms from the Poondi Reservoir at Alikuzhi Ghats, it is believed to be a pre- historic hominid habitation. There are about 16 rock shelters that are naturally formed like canopy-like structures in the reserved forests. It is the right kind of expedition for trekkers and nature-lovers.

Fort Museum

It houses rare exhibits of weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes, medals and other artefacts and memorabilia of the British period. The flagmast at Fort St. George is the tallest in India.

Fees:- Indians Rs.5.00 Foreigners: Rs. 100/- or 2 US $.

Holiday:- Friday

Timings:- 10.00 a.m.- 5.00 p.m.

Phone No:- 25671127

The Island Ground

This is one of the lungs of this teeming city. It is situated on an island formed by the River Cooum. This ground is the venue for Trade and Tourist Fairs that are held periodically and seasonally.

The High Court

It has decorative domes and corridors reminiscent of Indo Saracenic architecture. Adjacent to Parry’s Corner, it is another prominent landmark of Chennai. Built in 1892, the High Court of Chennai is one of the largest judicial complexes in the world.

Theosophical Society

The world headquarters of the Theosophical Society was formed to facilitate and encourage the study of comparative religions, philosophy and science and rational thought. It is situated in the beautiful and sylvan surroundings of the Adyar River. This society was founded by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott in the U.S.A and transferred to Adyar in 1882. Apart from shrines of all faiths and the peaceful Garden of Remembrance, there is a 95 years old library which has a very good collection of rare Oriental manuscripts written on palm leaf and parchment.

Timigs:- 2.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Holiday:- Sunday.

Phone:- 2491 2904 / 2491 8431.

Kalakshetra Foundation

In Thiruvanmiyur, beyond Elliots Beach is the Kalakshetra Foundation or the Temple of Art. Rukmani Devi Arundale founded it in 1936. The purpose of this center was to train, encourage and revive interest in Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu. Ph: 24911844.

St. Thomas Mount

A top the 76 metre high hill is believed to be the place where St. Thomas was martyred. An old church, built by the Portuguese around 1514 is located here. Among the interesting relics in the church is an old stone cross that the apostle is said to have clutched in his hand while dying. The blood-like stains on the cross have given it the name Bleeding Cross and the mystic stains on it have to this day been found to be too deep to be removed. On the wall above the altar is an oil painting of the Madonna that was brought to India by St. Thomas and is believed to be one of the seven that were painted by St.Luke.

Ripon Building

This huge Indo-Saracenic building is named after Lord Ripon, who was the Governor General and the father of Self-Government in India. This building is the seat of the Chennai Corporation, the oldest city Corporation in India.

Dakshinachitra (35 Kms)

True to its tradition of preserving its rich cultural heritage, Tamil Nadu can boast of an Art Village. It is otherwise called DakshinaChitra. Situated near Muttukkadu on the way to Mamallapuram it was founded by the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshina Chitra has models of traditional handlooms and the replicas of the kinds of houses of the four south Indian states. Kancheepuram silk weavers and other craftsmen and the weavers work here demonstrating their skill and dexterity in their specialities. To the joy of the visitors, the weavers, potters and the other craftsmen give live demonstrations of their crafts and art. The centre showcases the heritage of the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Entry Fee
Indians Rs. 50/-
Student Rs. 25/-.
Foreigners Rs.175/-
Foreign Student Rs. 70/-.

Holiday:- Tuesday.

Phone No:- 24918943

Muttukadu(36 kms)

This is an ideal picnic spot. The T.T.D.C. runs Muttukadua Boat-House where facilities for boating and windsurfing are available. A restaurant is also being run by TTDC. Ph: 954114-272369.

Kovalam(40 Kms)

This seaside village offers a unique environment. Within the precincts of this fishing village there is a Dargah and a Catholic church that attract pilgrims from Chennai and neighbouring districts.

The Crocodile Bank(44 Kms)

Not far from Mamallapuram, there is a crocodile Crocodilebreeding and research centre that is run by the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. This bank houses several species of Indian crocodiles and alligators from India and around the world. These reptiles are bred in captivity and are kept in their natural habitat in open pools and can be viewed by the public from a safe proximity. This farm breeds crocodiles to augment the crocodile population of wildlife sanctuaries.

Timings:- 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Entry Fee:- Rs. 20.00

Holiday:- Monday

Phone No:- 954114-272447.

Mudaliarkuppam(67 kms)

These the backwaters, sand dunes and the calm beach make this place an ideal picnic spot. TTDC provides boating facilities to the tourists.


It is about 60 kms from Chennai.MamallapuramThe monuments of Mamallapuram date back to the Pallava period of the 7th-8thcenturies. It is also a beach resort offering wide range of hotels to stay. Tourists are charged a one-time Entry fee for all monuments:

Fees:- Indians Rs.10.00/- Foreigners:5 US $.

Season:- All the year round.

Timings:- 6.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Phone No:- 954114-242226

Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Animals can be seen in a large open island type enclosure with simulated natural environment. Vandalur Zoo The attractions are the Noctnimal House, Safari Park, a Walk- through Aviary, the Pre-historic Animal Park, Zoo-education and interpretation, Prey-Predator enclosures and an Aquarium. Battery operated vehicles are available to take visitors around the Zoo, apart from Elephant Rides and Lion Safari vehicles. The popularly called the Vandalur Zoo as it is located in Vandalur, 30 km south of Chennai.

Timings:- 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

Entry Fee:- Rs.5.00/-

Holiday:- Tuesday

Phone No:- 22751089

Vedanthangal (85 kms)

This is a bird sanctuary for migratory water birds. It is about 85 kms from Chennai.

Season: November- March.

Entry Fee: Adult Re 1.00, Child 0.50 paise.


It is India’s second largest brackish water lagoon, and is located 60 km north of Chennai. The Pulicat Lake is a breeding ground for rare birds. It consists of about 16 island villages and 30 adjoining the lake. The lake offers a good potential for eco- tourism. The principal birds that visit Pulicat lake are the flamingo and heron. About 15,000 of these birds visit Pulicat every year.


The TTDC provides boating facilities to the tourists in the beautiful lake at Chengalpattu.

Amusement Parks Around Chennai

There are many Amusement Parks around Chennai. They are Kishkinta, nearear Tambaram Little Folks, Mayajal, MGM DizzyWorld and V.G.P. Golden Beach on the way to Mamallapuram. Dash and Splash, and Queens Land near Poonamallee.