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Although Portuguese and Armenian communities already inhabited India’s eastern coast, it was the British who shaped the town they called Madras.

Colonial history

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 center.

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Suggested itineraries 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

    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.

    • Premiere Room, The Leela Palace, Chennai

      The Leela Palace Chennai

      Deluxe

      The Seafront Leela Palace Chennai reflects the grandeur of the Chettinad Palace architecture.

    • Swimming pool, Vivanta by - Taj Connemara Hotel, Chennai

      Vivanta by Taj - Connemara Hotel

      Deluxe

      Located in the heart of the city, the art deco Taj Connemara once belonged to a local newab and was later sold to Spencer and Co. Today modern facilities and comforts are coupled with old-world charm.