Chennai

Travel Guide Asia India Tamil Nadu Chennai

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Introduction

Beach in Chennai (Madras) - boys playing in the waves

Beach in Chennai (Madras) - boys playing in the waves

© jhongny

Chennai (formerly Madras) is the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the gateway to the varied culture of south India. The fishery towns that were situated here along the Coromandel coast grew together during the British colonial times, forming the major city of Chennai. Now Chennai is the cultural and commercial capital of southern India and fourth biggest metropolitan area of India. Chennai is a modern city with beautiful buildings and a lot of green areas.

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Brief History

In the 17th century two merchants (Francis Day and Andrew Cogan) of the East India Company established a trading post between the with palmtrees surrounded rice fields and fishery towns. The fortified settlement was finished in 1640 and was called Fort saint George. Outside the walls of the fort was situated George town, the "indigenous" town, where the British stored their goods. Every street in George town was devoted to another handicraft. Under British rule the villages in the surroundings grew together. One of these villages was the 16th century Portugese settlement of San Thome, the sacred location where apostle Thomas would have stayed (and from where Christianity in India was spread).

Long before the arrival of the Europeans, in the 7th century, the Pallavas (an ancient Tamil kingdom) built a seaport at Mylapore. The Kapeleshvara temple shows the old age of the city, as well as the Parthasarathi temple in Triplicane. With the colonial time started the commercial advance of the city. Nowadays most trade buildings and enterprices are established in George Town. Fort Saint George is the location where the government of Tamil Nadu is seated. The area of Chennai is 172 square kilometres, where the old and the new, the stately colonial buildings and the modern skyscrapers form a dynamic picture. The rich cultural heritage of Tamil literature, music, and dance finds a continuation at the universities and cultural stages.

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Sights and Activities

  • Marina beach - Second longest beach in the world
  • Mahabhalipuram - sculptures of pallava empire, is located 60 kilometres south of Chennai

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Events and Festivals

  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu callendar. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. However it has a legend attached to it according to which an arrogant king resents his son Prahlada from worshipping Lord Vishnu. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time, finally he asks his sister Holika, who is said to be immune to burning, sits with Prahlada in fire. However Prahlada emerges alive and Holika is burnt to death. Holi commemorates this event from the Hindu mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation. This festival is also associated with the immortal love story of Krishna and Radha, and hence celebrations are spread over a period of 2 weeks in Vrindavan and Mathura - the two cities associated with Krishna. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi - The ten-day September festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the birthday of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh with culture, concerts and feasts. The biggest events take place in Maharashtra where people worship an idol for ten days before taking it to the river or sea and drowning it.
  • Navarathri, Dussehra Festival - This theatrical Hindu festival takes place over ten days in October. The first nine feature dancing to honor the Mother Goddess. The tenth day commemorates Lord Rama’s defeat of demon king Ravana and goddess Durga’s triumph over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. The event is called Durga Puja in east India where the faithful create huge statues to immerse in the Ganges River.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

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Weather

Chennai has a tropical climate with hot and humid weather year-round. The average maximum temperature ranges from around 28 °C in December to 37 °C in June. Average lows range from around 20 °C in January to 28 °C in May. Average annual precipitation is almost 1,300 mm with half of that falling in the months of October and November alone! January to April is fairly dry and the best time for a visit.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max28.9 °C30.6 °C32.7 °C34.7 °C37.5 °C37.3 °C35.4 °C34.5 °C33.9 °C31.9 °C29.5 °C28.5 °C
Avg Min20.4 °C21.2 °C23.1 °C25.8 °C27.6 °C27.4 °C26.2 °C25.6 °C25.3 °C24.3 °C22.7 °C21.2 °C
Rainfall34.5 mm12.5 mm15.3 mm17.7 mm42.9 mm53.7 mm100.8 mm129.2 mm125.3 mm290.9 mm348.9 mm145.6 mm
Rain Days2.70.90.71.12.47.512.814.210.213.512.98.4

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Getting There

By Plane

Chennai International Airport (MAA), located at Tirusulam is around 8 kilometres south of the city centre. The airport has both domestc and international terminals. Domestic flights are available to almost all the big cities in India. International flights are avialable to many cities around Asia and Europe, which include Frankfurt, London, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Muscat, Singapore and Colombo, amongst others. Airlines to/from the Middle East such as Etihad and Oman Air also fly to Chennai from Abu Dhabi and Muscat respectively.

Use the prepaid taxi to reach the central business district. Every terminal has many taxi booths when you leave the airport. Fast Track has the best rep, figure on around ₹560 to the city centre for a Toyota Innova or equivalent. The fares differ for the international and domestic terminals though the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the standard taxis (black with yellow tops) or the private call-taxi (which can come in any colour). It is better to have some loose change when paying at the counters. The taxi number is written on your charge slip. One copy is for the passenger while the other is for the driver to collect the fare from the counter. Make your way to the taxi stand and get the taxi number allotted at the designated desk. The helpful drivers will offer to take your luggage and guide you to the taxi that drives up quickly near the allotment desk.

"Fasttrack" pre-paid taxi service has booths in the domestic and international terminals. Comparing with the rest of the taxis their fare and service is pretty much good. Depends on your need you can get from Maruti van to Toyota Innova.

The prepaid and yellow top taxis are not air-conditioned, were made in the 1970s and 80s, are rickety and are prone to stop midway in a journey. The drivers sometimes exhibit rough dangerous behaviour and can demand exorbitant fares. The "prepaid" may mean nothing and they may demand more when you get down. Stay away from these types of taxis.

Aviation Express is very overpriced.

The Chennai Metro connects the airport to the city for up to ₹50, e.g. to the CMBT bus station or Koyambedu with a change at Alandur (Jan 2017). It is being expanded into the centre of the city.

Ola and Uber have become more prominent and travellers can easily book a journey on these services using a smart phone. They are generally cheaper than all prepaid taxis.

By Train

Chennai is an important railway station on the southern railway network. It is well connected to all the major cities of India by express trains, including those to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. The city has two main railway stations: Chennai Central, used mostly by the long distance inter-state trains, and Chennai Egmore for regional trains. For more details about timings, fare and availability of seats have a look at the Indian Railways official website.

By Car

Chennai is very well connected and to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Kolkata, Bengaluru, Tiruchy/Madurai, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry. With the progress of the Golden Quadrilateral project, driving down from Bangalore is an option too. There are many car rental companies available.

By Bus

The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), the terminus for all intercity buses from Chennai, is the largest bus station in Asia and has buses throughout Tamil Nadu and further afield in India.

By Boat

Chennai has a port, but the only relevant connection is the long trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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Getting Around

By Auto-Rickshaws

Chennai has about 71,000 auto rickshaws. The fares of Chennai auto-rickshaws have been an enormous political topic for many years and has contributed to the perception that the city's auto rickshaw drivers never use meters and continually fleece passengers. However, despite the reputation, trips by auto rickshaw actually are quick, but rarely based on the metered price.

The minimum fare is set at ₹25 for the first 1.8 km and ₹12/km for every additional kilometre (2013). Waiting charges were set at ₹3.50 for every five minutes and ₹42 per hour. Between 11PM and 5AM, the fare is 50% higher than the normal daytime rate.

Auto rickshaw meters are being outfitted with GPS and electronic digital receipt printers. As of 2015, though, only a small fraction of autos have these features.

Despite the official fares, the situation as of 2015 is for the driver and passenger to agree before the ride begins to a price of a) meter, b) meter + some additional amount, or c) a fixed price.

Whether the auto driver will agree to a metered fare depends on many factors. Generally, many drivers will agree to a fare of meter plus ₹10-30 additional. But at busy times such as rush hours on weekdays, almost no drivers will agree to the metered price and will insist on a fixed price, or at a minimum demand a fare of meter plus ₹30-100. On the other hand, at slower times, for example Sundays, many drivers will agree to metered prices with no surcharge. Some drivers will simply never accept metered fares no matter what time it is.

The fixed prices which auto drivers demand is related to distance. They generally have a good sense for how much the fare would be for a given route and ask for fixed prices around double what it would cost by meter. For shorter distances which would cost ₹25-50 by the meter, the fixed price demanded is ₹100-150. For longer distances which would cost ₹50-150 by meter, the fixed price demanded will be ₹200-300. Depending on the situation, it's possible to negotiate down the demanded fixed price.

For short distances up to 1.8 km, auto drivers as of 2015 very rarely will agree to the metered price of ₹25. Generally, ₹40-50 is the minimum most will require for any trip, although at off-peak hours, it might be possible with negotiation and speaking to many autos to find a driver who will agree to ₹30-40. For a typical trip in the city of 3-5 km, many drivers will demand ₹100-150, but at non-peak hours a fare of ₹50-₹0 will usually be sufficient after speaking to a few drivers.

At all times, the price agreed depends very much on the passenger's knowledge of the distance involved and price it would cost by meter, his/her negotiation skill, and the time s/he is willing to spend asking auto after auto. In almost any central area, there are many autos around, so if you have the time, it's possible to save quite a bit by speaking to many auto drivers until you find an acceptable fare.

Many passengers now opt for Ola, Uber or other similar taxi-order services simply to avoid the frustration and time involved with negotiating with auto after auto.

All autos in Chennai have meters, but at least a quarter of drivers have disabled their meter in some way in order to make it not functional and the passenger must agree to a fixed price if s/he wants to use that auto. For those meters which function, you can see the price, kilometres and waiting time, and thereby confirm that the meter is fairly following the official tariff structure.

Share autos have emerged as an alternative mode of transport in Chennai. They are over-sized three wheelers running on diesel and charge slightly more than the bus. There are four wheelers known as meter taxis, which don't have a meter and are not taxis. Another four wheeler, Magic (manufactured by Tata), has started running in and around the city, which operate similar to share autos and meter taxis. They are all over crowded and the drivers indulge in rash driving, owing to the competition. The only advantage is that it is cost effective.

By Public Transport

The Chennai Suburban Railway provides rail services in the wider Chennai area. The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. The frequency of suburban trains is generally good and it is advisable to take a first class ticket during peak hours. Trains offer a reliable alternative to quickly reach your destination when compared to buses which might get trapped in traffic jams. The fare in Chennai suburban trains is the lowest in the country and you don't have to compromise comfort for the meagre amount that you pay as in other Indian metros. There is a separate ladies compartment in the suburban trains that are relatively less crowded even in peak hours.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation provides bus services throughout the city. Normally bus fare in MTC range from ₹4-30. State corporation also has Deluxe and A/C Buses for Chennai Passengers. Fare for deluxe bus is almost two times as compared to normal bus. For same route, deluxe and normal bus have same number but deluxe buses are being run targeting long distance journey since it will stop at major bus stops only. So if you find normal buses too crowded, take a deluxe one. Non-AC deluxe also have power gates and better suspension which you won't find in normal bus. If you have luggage with you, you might have to pay the cost of an extra person depending upon its size.

MTC Chennai operates AC bus service between important routes like Parrys - Tambaram, Parrys - CMBT, Chennai Central - CMBT, Chennai central - Tambaram, etc. Most frequent AC bus runs between CMBT towards Pondicherry and are known as East coast road (ECR) buses and is very popular for intracity travel too.

Daily and weekly bus passes are available for tourists costing ₹50 or ₹300. They can be used on normal and deluxe bus services (but not AC) on all routes within the city. It is worthwhile to purchase the daily pass if you plan to visit more than a couple of places in a day and it will save you from the trouble to maintain loose change. The daily pass can be purchased on the first bus you board from the conductor, while the weekly and monthly passes are sold at kiosks in major termini.

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Eat

Chennai has numerous restaurants, offering an assortment of cuisine. The beach restaurants are well maintained and serve great food during the evenings. The eat outs in Chennai range from budget, midrange and to up-market. There are swanky star quality restaurants, plain open traditional vegetarian or non vegetarian restaurants- where you share a table with strangers, street stalls, tea kadais, fast food centers, western fast food centers, food courts, coffee shops, bakeries to exclusive specialty establishments. Vegetarian restaurants serve tiffin and vegetarian meals. There are also a number of restaurants that serve a variety of Tamil, Andhra and Kerala vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Many of these restaurants have nowadays diversified and offer other Indian and Indianized Chinese dishes as well. Usually the check includes a service charge, written next to 'S.C.' If no service charge is added, it is customary to leave a moderate tip.

Peshawri (ITC Grand Chola Hotel), No. 63 Mount Road, Guindy, Little Mount, Guindy, ☏ +91 44 2220 0000. The award winning Peshawari is the Indian speciality restaurant with the rugged flavours of the North-West Frontier and the art of tandoori cooking. The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style which is viewed through the open kitchen. (5-star hotel) Rated Expensive.
Pergola, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, ☏ +91 44 28161000, +91 44 43911000 (Table reservations). 7PM-midnight. The highest open to sky restaurant in the city, featuring grills and Indian cuisines. Seating capacity 120.
Bella Ciao, Lounge Beach Garden, #4, Shri Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, ☏ +91 44 24511130. Italian-owned and run, authentic Italian food. The famous wood fired oven pizza, home made pastas, steaks and salads.
Little Italy, Eldorado No 112, Nungambakam High Road, ☏ +91 44 42601234, +91 44 42601230 (Table Reservations). Italian restaurant. Italian classic cuisine with a perfect wine. Chef's favourites: Pizza Mellino, Pasta del Fattore and In Wines- Brunello di Montalcino.
Prego (Taj Coromandel), Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, ☏ +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet Italian dining, replaced Patio.
Teppan, 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, ☏ +91 44 32216635. Hibachi style, the cook prepares your meal with a show right in front of you. Very entertaining especially for younger diners. Excellent sushi and sashimi. ₹2000 for a meal for two.
Cedars, Wallace Garden Road, Nungambakkam, ☏ +91 44 42182397. Dim lit ambience is beautiful with exquisite furnishing in Mediterranean style. They serve the most authentic Lebanese, Middle Eastern delicacies and some interesting Mediterranean cuisines.
Don Pepes, 73, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, ☏ +91 44 28221461. noon-2:45PM, 7AM-11:45PM. Mexican. Above Hot Breads as an extension, they are best known for their fajitas (sizzlers) and enchiladas (a tortilla wrap with some Mexican rice).
Cream Centre, 55, 2nd Main Road, Raja Annamalaipuram (near Kaliappa Hospital), ☏ +91 44 42815777, +91 44 42815776 (reservations). 11AM-3:30PM, 7PM-11PM (11AM-11PM on weekends). Cream Centre offers a wide range of vegetarian food choices- North Indian and Mexican, to American, Italian and even Lebanese. Nachos, Channa Bhatura, American Corn Cheese Ball, Sizzlers & Sizzling Brownie. A specialty here is the Mera Thali, where you have a choice of dishes from which you can make your own thali.
Entree Restaurant, Emall hotel, Express Avenue Mall, Gate No 1, Pattullous Road, Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002., ☏ +91 44 28463333, +91 44 28463358. 100% vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant. Serves fare from all around the world - Thai soup, Mexican main course, Indian spices tadka, French pastry for desserts.
Copper Chimney, 74, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram (opposite the Chola Sheraton), ☏ +91 44 28115770. noon-3PM, 7PM-midnight. Mainly North Indian and Iranian inspired dish. Specialities: Bagani Bahar, Paneer Musselum. .
The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson G R T Hotel, G.S.T. Road, St Thomas Mount, ☏ +91 44 22310101. noon-2:45PM, 7PM-11:45PM. Specialities: Galoutti Kabab, Tangri and Murgh Malai Kababs, Fish and Mutton Kababs. They serve alcohol and have valet parking.
Navaratna, 1 GST Rd, Le Royal Meridien, St. Thomas Mount (Le Maridien), ☏ +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545 (reservations). Noon-3PM & 7PM-11:45PM. India Restaurant serving Royal Indian Cuisine. Live Ghazal performances. A Private dining room is available for up to 12 persons and an intimate bar for pre-dinner drinks.
Kayal, Le Royal Meridien, 1, G.S.T. Road, St. Thomas Mount, ☏ +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545 (reservations). 7PM-11:30PM. Seafood restaurant. Coriander prawn, seafood platter, Kadia lobster, prawn biryani. Nice complimentary garlic bread with butter.
Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 132, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, ☏ +91 44 24994101. 12:30PM-2:45PM, 7:30PM-11:45PM. South Indian Cuisines- Dakshin offers the 'rare' pleasures of ethnic coastal and regional cuisines. The choicest cuisine of the four Southern states served in a regal setting. Live Carnatic Music. Expensive but excellent food- Starters include traditional, kuli paniyaram. Try the Idi appam or Appam with mutton stew. Desert: Kulfi.
Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, ☏ +91 44 55002827.
Benjarong, 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, ☏ +91 44 24322640. 12:15PM-2:45PM and 7:15PM-11:45PM. The authentic flavour of Thailand. Seating capacity 68.
The Good Spot (Good Spot), 30/31, Second Main Road, Kasturibai Nagar, Adyar, ☏ +91 44 48622727, ✉ [email protected]. 11AM-11PM.

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Drink

Chennai is a difficult place to drink. Government rule states that only establishments with a minimum of 21 rooms can obtain a bar or liquor license. Hence there are no standalone bars or pubs here. All the bars that are around are part of some hotel or the other and in general overpriced.

Government run liquor stores called TASMAC are all over the place but in general not at all a pleasant experience. They usually have rude staff, are filthy and usually never have the brand of your choice. Also they always tend to mark up each bottle by ₹5-10 over the listed price. Go for it if you want a one time war like experience in order to obtain some booze!

Nightclubs close at 23:00, even on Fridays and Saturdays, according to government rule.

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Sleep

Broadlands lodging house, No 18, Vallabha Agraharam Street (opp Star Theatre,Triplicane), ☏ +91 44 2854 8131, ✉ [email protected]. Very popular with the backpacker crowd, leafy courtyard, a rustic feel to the whole hotel, good rooms are in the back of the hotel and two of the most recommended rooms are room # 43 and 44, which are roof cottages. Single room ₹250, double ₹400.
Cristal Guest House, 34, CNK Road, Triplicane (From the Central Train station, get out and take a pre-paid Auto Rickshaw for a total of ₹50 (₹2 fee + ₹48) to Triplicane.), ☏ +91 44 285 13011. Very clean and friendly place with western toilets. No towels provided; bring your own. Near good/inexpensive eateries. This place is walking distance from the beach and a bus stops to reach various sites. Double room is ₹300 with ₹10 hot water bucket.
Hotel Chennai Gate, 37 Gandhi Irwin Road, ☏ +91 44 2819 4377, ✉ [email protected]. Deluxe room is ₹1500 with A/C with internet socket available for ₹100 for 24 hours.
Hotel Impala Continental, 12 Gandhi Irwin Rd, ☏ +91 44 2819 1423, +91 44 2819 1778.
Hotel Karpagam International, South Mada Street, Mylapore., ☏ +91 44 2495 9984.
Kanchi, 28, Ethiraj Sala, Egmore (C-in-C Road), ☏ +91 93600 17001.
New Woodlands Hotel, 72-75, Dr Radha Krishnan Salai, CIT Colony, Mylapore, ☏ +91 44 2811 3111. It is sometimes crowded and a tad busy. There is a nice quiet art gallery and cafe nearby.
Old Woodlands (a.k.a Royapettah Woodlands/Woodlands Hotel that is next to Woodlands Theatre), Shop No: 25, West Cott Road, Royapettah (Pay no more than ₹40 to get there from the railway station), ☏ +91 44 2848 2150, +91 44 2848 2152. Little known, but an excellent place to stay. The hotel building is at least one hundred years old and stands in the middle of sprawling grounds and surrounded by massive trees. The main building was once the palace of Raja of Ramnad. The auto-rickshaws and taxis will not tell you about the place as the hotel does not pay a commission to middlemen.
Palace Lodge, new No. 69, old No. 32, Egmore High Road, Egmore (Walk from Egmore Railway Station), ☏ +91 44 28190687. Reasonably clean, staff okay. Single, bathroom outside: ₹295.
Sri Krishna Residency, South mada St, ☏ +91 44 24643617. Mylapore.
Zam Zam Guest House, 41 Subathral St, Triplicane, ☏ +91 44 42664508, +91 80566 74964 (mobile). Clean spotless rooms and nice staff. It is about 100 m behind Thaj Regency Hotel on the small street. Look for the black marble entrance and sign. All rooms have bath, fan, sat TV and intercom. Squat toilets only. No mosquito nets on the windows though. Prices are ₹200 for a single person, ₹250 for two persons and ₹300 for 3 persons per 24 hours. Predominantly an Indian clientele. Close to Broadlands Lodge, Comfort Hotel, and the great Gee Gee Internet and Surya Restaurant (old name Maharaj). The whole spot is about 300 m from the T-junction of Triplicane High Rd and Walaja Rd where there is a bus stop of 27B bus to CMBT under the big tree (every 5 minutes).
Hotel Krishna Bhavan, 53 New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, Aspiran Garden Colony, Kilpauk, ☏ +91 4425615211. ₹300.
A/c Dormitory, Retirement Room @ Central Railway Station. ₹265.
Alcove Service Apartments Chennai, ✉ [email protected].
Maple Tree Hotels, # 77 Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, 100 Feet Rd, Vadapalani., ☏ +91 44 2362 2284. Nearby to Chennai Metropolitan Bus Terminus and Vadapalani Lord Murugan Temple. 51 rooms.
Dee-Cee Manor, 90 Nagapattinam-Chennai Hwy, Gopalapuram, Chintadripet,, ☏ +91 98841 85500.
GRT Grand, 120 Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar.
Harrisons, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, ☏ +91 44 5222 2777.
Lemon Tree Hotel, Chennai, 72 Sardal Patel Rd, Guindy, ☏ +91 44 4423 2323.
Liberty Park Hotel, 9, 1st Main Rd, UI Colony, Kodambakkam, ☏ +91 44 2472-5950, +91 44 4232 1231, ✉ [email protected]. 5 min away from the heart of the shopping district - T.Nagar. Ask for a 15% discount before you make a reservation. They sometimes have a better deal for the multiple night stays listed on their website. ₹2,000-3,000.
Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet.
Victoria Hotel, 3 Kenneth Lane, Egmore, ☏ +91 44 2819 3638.
Oriental Inn, 71 Cathedral Rd, Gopalapuram, ☏ +91 44 28114941. 32 rooms in central Chennai. ₹1,500-2,800 plus taxes.
Peninsula, 51 GN Chetty Rd, T. Nagar, ☏ +91 44 2815 0005.
Clarion Hotel President, 25 Dr Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore, ☏ +91 44 2847 2211.
Raj Residency, 22 Kennet Lane, Egmore (2 min walk from the Egmore railway station), ☏ +91 44 2819 2219. US$17-147.
Ranjit, 15 Nungambakkam High Rd., ☏ +91 44 2827 0521.
The Residency, 49 GN Chetty Rd, T.Nagar, ☏ +91 44 28253434.
Residency Towers, Boag Rd, T.Nagar (close to Pondy Bazaar).
Somerset Greenways Chenna, No 94 Sathyadev Ave, MRC Nagar, ☏ +91 44 7100 0001, ✉ [email protected]. The residence is 10 minutes away from the Chennai CBD. Studio through to 3-bedroom apartments. Each apartment features kitchens, separate living rooms complete with home entertainment systems.
Vestin Park, 39, Montieth Road, Egmore., ☏ +91 44 2852 7171.
Savera Hotel, 146, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore.
The Accord Metropolitan, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, ☏ +91 44 2816 1000-4391 1000, fax: +91 44 2816 1001, ✉ [email protected].
Aloft Chennai OMR - IT Expressway, 102, Rajiv Gandhi Salai, Sholinganallur, ☏ +91 44 3966 5500. From ₹4,000.
Ambassador Pallava, 30, Montieth Road, Egmore, ☏ +91 44 2855 4476, fax: +91 44 2855 4492, ✉ [email protected]. Friendly staff. edit
Courtyard Chennai, 564, Anna Salai, ☏ +91 44 66764000. Known by locals simply as the Marriott, this is a gorgeous renovated business hotel on the western edge of the city core, near the airport. Two restaurants, gym, no pool. ₹7100 and up.
Emall Hotel (E hotel, Chennai), Express Avenue Mall, Gate # 1, Patullos Rd, ☏ +91 44 2846 3333, ✉ [email protected].
Hyatt Regency, 365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, ☏ +91 44 6100 1235.
ITC Grand Chola, No. 63, Mount Road, Guindy, ☏ +91 44 2220 0000, ✉ [email protected]. New 5-star hotel in Guindy. Grand design cues taken from Chola architecture.
My Fortune (Cathedral Road), ☏ +91 44 2811 0101, fax: +91 44 2811 0202.
The Park, 601, Anna Salai, Nungambakkam (next to the Anna Flyover), ☏ +91 44 5214 4000, fax: +91 44 5214 4100. Modern style with a film theme.
Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), ☏ +91 44 2231 0101.
Ramada Egmore, Gandhi Irwin Bridge Road, Egmore,Chennai,Tamil Nadu-600008, ☏ +91 44 3000 4777, fax: +91 44 3000 4888, ✉ [email protected]. Near the Egmore railway station, providing easy access to central business areas. Includes a restaurant. Road facing rooms can be noisy.
Le Royal Meridien, 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction) (Business District), ☏ +91 44 2231 4343, fax: +91 44 2231 4344.
Taj Connamera, Binny Rd, ☏ +91 44 5500 0000.
Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, ☏ +91 44 5500 2827.
Trident Chennai, 1/24, G.S.T. Rd, ☏ +91 44 2234 4747, fax: +91 44 2234 4555, ✉ [email protected].
The Leela Palace, MRC Nagar,Adyar, ☏ +91 44 3366 1234, toll-free: +91 124 4425 444, fax: +91 44 3366 1212, ✉ [email protected].
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park (formerly Sheraton Park Hotel & Towers), 132, TTK Road, Alwarpet, ☏ +91 44 2499 4101, fax: +91 44 2499 7101.
Fisherman's Cove (Vivanta by Taj).
Hilton Chennai, 124/1, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Guindy.
Kohinoor Asiana Hotel, 1/238 IT Expressway, Semmencherry.
Park Hyatt Chennai, 39, Velachery Road, Guindy, ☏ +91 44 7177 1234.
Radisson Blu City Centre, 2 Ethiraj Salai, Egmore.
Raintree Hotel, St Mary's Road, 120, St Marys Road, Alwarpet, ☏ +91 44 4225 2525.
Taj Club House Chennai, 2, Club House Road, Anna Salai.
The Raintree Hotel Anna Salai, 636, Anna Salai, Teynampet, ☏ +91 44 4393 9999.
The Westin Chennai Velachery, 154 Velachery Main Rd, ☏ +91 44 6633 3777. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon.
Turyaa Hotels Chennai, 144/7, Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR), Kottivakkam, ☏ +91 4466970000, ✉ [email protected]. 5-star hotel. Offers 10% discount with free Wi-Fi and breakfast on online bookings.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 13.060416
  • Longitude: 80.249634

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This is version 41. Last edited at 13:13 on Apr 28, 20 by Utrecht. 44 articles link to this page.

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