i land in chennai 4 days before my girlfriend and so have a few days to kill before she arrives.
the lonely planet guide doesnt exactly sell chennai to me for the whole of the time i have to kill. i was thnking about heading to mamallapuram for a few days. is there enough to do there for 3-4 days. i only really want to wander around some temples, sit on the beach and try to get used to the fact i am in india haha. we have 6 weeks to explore so i am in no rush at the start.
also, would i have enough time to bomb down to madurai and back to chennai?
i land 27th mar at 03.25am and she lands 31st mar 10pm. can i visit mamallapuram and madurai in that time? or should i stay in chennai?
does anyone have any tips on what i can do in chennai for 4-5 days? what is the beach like around chennai? like i say i am not in any rush to see/do loads in those few days, so if the beach is ok i could hapily sit and read and just wander around.
any advice would be greatly appreciated
Though sometimes I hear of people who really like chennai, my opinion is that it is the most boring large city in India. I only spent one full day there I think, but the most exciting thing that I can remember of it was buying a new pair of flip-flops.
I would say you are far better off heading down to Mamallapuram. THere are only enough "sights" in Mamallapuram to keep you busy for a day, but there are beaches, and it's a nice town just to hang out and relax in. So you could definelty waste away 4 days with a good book and some chi at a restarant.
If you get bored of Mamallapuram, there is also Pondicherry down the road an hour or two. Pondi is an old French colonial town, with a distinctly different atmosphere than the rest of the country and is a good place to spend a couple days. From there its a pretty quick ride back to Chennai.
I would recomend not heading all the way to Madurai for two reasons:
1. You are just arriving in the country. India can be intese and it's best to give yourself a couple days to adjust by taking it slow. Getting off the plane, heading all the way to Madurai just for a day or two, and then rushing all the way back seems like too much effort. Go to Mammallapuram and take it easy.
2. The temples of Madurai are a highlight of the state. YOu might want to wait until your girlfriend arrives so she can see them too.
Beach in Chennai, no. Not advisable. You will not like it. As Degolasse mentioned, Chennai is not much compared to the other five major Indian cities. Mamallapuram is nice but after one or two days you have seen that. I was gone after 4 hours.
Chennai has its charm also. You have Egmore railwaystation, which is very British. Oh...actually that's it. Guess, Chennai is also not very much, but you will survive four days easy there, no worries.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 10, 2007, at 2:59 PM by wouterrr ]
I lived in Chennai a long time ago and I found it a nice place to live in. I liked going to the temples in my neighbourhood, browsing through the numerous cheap bookstores and lending libraries, going to Anna Towers for an afternoon's excursion or to the Marina Beach or VGP Golden beach during the weekend, trying out the delicious cafes at T-Nagar, after some exhaustive shopping. But then, these are the memories from a childhood so they will doubtless be endearing to me.
For a first-time adult visitor, the Carnatic music and Bharathanatyam dance concerts might be a good gentle, introduction to the Tamil culture. Also, visiting local temples and trying out some nice cafes would be a good idea to take it slow and get used to India. There is a nice memorial, Valluvar kottam, for an ancient Tamil poet/saint - the writer of 'Thirukkural', the most famous work written in Tamil that still continues to be cited.
Kancheepuram, Mamallapuram and Thanjavur are all within visiting radius of Chennai and you could pop out for a day or two.
Just go with an open and flexible mind and you are sure to enjoy yourself.. 4 days is not too long, after all!
Enjoy travelling around Chennai and India!
i dont know how i missed this post - and since its my home town i am compelled to reply, though there have been other replies.
There are quite a few sights to see in chennai, however - most of the ancient buildings are govt offices and hence not well maintained. Some olden day architecture : egmore meuseum, egmore railway station, rippon building, presidency college... some temples include mailapore 'kapaleeshwar' temple, triplicane 'paarthasarathy' temple.
get hold of 'The hindu' - the local newspapaer on which this city thrives- it will list activities in the week. u can check out some carnatic music concerts or bhratanatyam dance performance... somethign which i feel "tourists" never even try. Chennai also has a very active english theatre scene - and if a play is held in the egmore museum theatre - u can see it, its a lovely theatre space.
Theosophical society in chennai shd not be missed - all the buildings here belong to the british raj period and show a mix of indian and british construction.... its a very quiet place and adjoins the estuary -u can enjoy a nice 2 hour walk around this place.
You can also visit IIT (one of the prestigious institution in the country ) and also its set in the a shrub forest... it makes for an enjoyable walk as u chk out some buildings -
like degolass said, mahabalipuram can be done in one day - but u can go on to kancheeepuram and see the 'kailasanadar' temple - its world heritage site and has much lesser crowd as compared to the other temples and hence is beautiful...
Apart from madhurai, i would also recommend the tanjavur temple - one of the biggest in the country.
However, as compared to other metros, chennai is still conservative - but its a relatively easy place to start of with in India. and if u want any othr specific info- pm me. I am in chennai and can help u with more localised info.
PS: As for the beach , its not what it used to be - but its still beautiful. Instead of going to the marina, try beasant nagar beach and go after 9 PM - stay for an hour or so- or before sunrise!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 11, 2007, at 11:05 PM by aprilsgal ]
thanks ever so much for the responses guys
i am gonna head for mamallapuram and just take it easy for a few days!