Although Portuguese and Armenian communities already inhabited India’s eastern coast, it was the British who shaped the town they called Madras.
Arriving in 1639, the British turned a strip of local villages into India’s major southern city, leaving an eclectic blend of architecture ranging from the 17th century Fort St George to the railway station, a fine example of Indo-Saracenic Victorian construction.
Kapaleeswarar Temple and the Government Museum
Of course, Tamil Nadu’s history predates its colonial heritage and the Kapaleeswarar Temple, with its towering gopuram of brightly painted figures and busy shrines, or the collection of 9th-12th century Chola bronzes in the Government Museum, exemplify this legacy.
But Chennai is also a city of today, as you’ll see if you stroll along Marina Beach or through the centre.
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Suggested Chennai itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Chennai, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Chennai
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Chennai
- Mahabalipuram 31 miles away
- Kanchipuram 41 miles away
- Pondicherry 83 miles away
- Tranquebar 144 miles away
- Tanjore 175 miles away
- Bangalore 180 miles away
- Trichy 189 miles away
- Chettinad 231 miles away
- Mysore 249 miles away
- Madurai 262 miles away
- Ooty 266 miles away
- Waynad 284 miles away
- Nagarhole National Park 287 miles away
- Belur & Halebid 291 miles away
- Palakkad 291 miles away
- Hampi 299 miles away
- Munnar 299 miles away
- Hospet 300 miles away