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.
Kapaleeshwarar Temple and the Government Museum
Of course, Tamil Nadu’s history predates its colonial heritage and the Kapaleeshwarar 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.
Suggested itinerary featuring Chennai
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 34 miles away
- Kanchipuram 44 miles away
- Pondicherry 87 miles away
- Tranquebar 147 miles away
- Tanjore 178 miles away
- Bangalore 182 miles away
- Trichy 192 miles away
- Chettinad 234 miles away
- Mysore 252 miles away
- Madurai 265 miles away
- Ooty 270 miles away
- Wayanad 287 miles away
- Nagarhole National Park 290 miles away
- Belur & Halebid 293 miles away
- Palakkad 295 miles away
- Hampi 299 miles away
Photos of Chennai
Accommodation choices for Chennai
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Chennai. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.