About Chennai (Madras)

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Chennai, also known as Madras, is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, and is the country's fourth-largest city. It is located on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.45 million (2005), the 367 year old city is the 41st largest metropolitan area in the world.

Culture and attitudes
The city has a thriving Tamil film industry, rivalling Hindi Film Industry in scale and surpassing it in opulence - and once again, while most other regional language film industries are heavily influenced by the Bombay industry, the Tamil one not only marches to its own beat, but also occasionally manages to make the Bombay Industry dance to it. There were many successful Tamils films, that have been remade in other Indian languages. While Chennai is not the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu - that honour belongs to either or to Thanjavur for the classical music and dance or to Madurai for the language, classical dance and music flow in the city's blood.

Chennai is one of the undercelebrated successes of software development in India. It has also, in the past few years, become a car-manufacturing hub, drawing inevitable comparisons with Detroit.

Chennai has mainly two seasons - Summer and Monsoon. It does not enjoy the South-west monsoon, but gets its bountiful rains from the North-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125-150 cm of rainfall annually. December and January are the mildest months temperature-wise. Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because it is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid.

Airport to City connection
Use the pre-paid taxi to get to the city. The fares are different for the domestic and international terminals though both the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the standard Taxis (Black with Yellow tops) which are usually the ancient Ambassador cars or the private call-taxi ( which can come in any model and in any color). It's better to keep small change in hand as the counter staff very often don't seem to have change! Note the taxi number written on your charge slip (one copy is for the passenger and the other is for the driver to collect the fare from the counter). Once out of the terminal you'll have a tough time warding off all the touts and taxi drivers soliciting passengers. Make your way through this crowd and across the drive to the taxi stand. Get the taxi number alloted at the designated desk. The helpful drivers offer to take your luggage and guide you to the taxi that drives up quickly near the allotment desk.

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Get around
Getting around in Chennai often takes a long time, due to traffic and heavy congestion; plan accordingly. Travel within Chennai is expensive by Indian standards, but still extremely cheap by typical Western standards.

By train
Chennai has a suburban train network. There are four routes - Chennai Central - Arakkonam, Chennai Beach - Tambaram and Chengalpet, Chennai Beach - Thiruvanmyur, Chennai Central - Gummidipoondi. There are plans to link the last line to the Tambaram line. The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. However, tourists are strongly advised to take first class (it is not expensive to the average tourist) as second class suburban trains are notorious for overcrowding and having passengers hang off the edge of the train while it is moving.

By bus
Metropolitan Transport Corporation [5] buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. You can buy bus tickets online at redBus [6] or realIndia [7] or RathiMeena [8]. Extreme caution is advised in using these buses as they are often out of shape, will begin moving before passengers are fully boarded, and are, like second class suburban trains, notorious for passengers having to hang off the edge or outside of the bus while in motion.

By auto-rickshaw
Auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai are notorious for overcharging, rigged meters, and general harrassment of foreign passengers, although they are ubiquitous and possibly the easiest form of transportation to locate. Use Auto-rickshaw's only for short distances (If you know exactly how far you are going).

If you do want to travel by the auto, stick to these rules
Don't go by the meter (if they have one), the meter is rigged to show a higher fare. Negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand. Try to stick to the agreed price, though the driver may attempt to ask for more. Consult local friends beforehand to find out reasonable market prices for the distance you intend to go.

Try to hail individual rickshaws in traffic which are heading in the general direction of your destination and avoid those parked in groups as they may try to gang-up on you.

Make sure you hold on tight and keep all parts of your body inside the vehicle. If you have asthma, allergies to smoke, or generally do not fair well under traffic pollution, it is highly unrecommended to take an auto-rickshaw.

As a general rule, expect to pay about Rs.10 for every kilometre you travel. Some auto-rickshaws will also try to tell you that you have to pay for the return trip. You don't have to pay for any return trips.

The call taxis are better regulated and can be ordered air-conditioned, although unlike auto-rickshaws, advance reservations are needed and they cannot usually be flagged on the street.

Visit this link for an idea of pre-paid auto fares from Chennai Central to various parts of the City.

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By taxi
Taxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are available by phone. They are mostly reliable, can be ordered air-conditioned, and have digital fare meters, although time-based hire is also possible with some companies.

Bharati Call Taxi, +91 44 2814 2233.
Chennai Call Taxi, +91 44 2598 4455.
Fast Track, +91 44 2473 2020.
Rajesh Call Taxi, +91 98408 15058.
Sruthi Call Taxi, +91 44 4211 0044.

There are several other call taxi companies operating in Chennai, which send taxis to your place, on a phone call. They charge by the distance. The minimun fare is Rs. 100/-, which is for 5 km and for every subsequent km they charge Rs. 10/-. It is advisable to book your taxi a few hours in advance and call shortly before your trip to confirm, if your trip is time-sensitive.

The only places where taxis can be hired directly on the street are Chennai Central Railway Station and Chennai Airport.

Tamil is the official language in Chennai, and is very popular. Almost all people speak Tamil, and picking up some knowledge of the language is useful to get by in Chennai. English education is widespread in Chennai, thanks to an excellent network of well-known schools throughout the city. Most educated people in Chennai can speak English. In most schools, the medium of instruction and communication is English. All important signboards are in English.
Hindi is spoken by some, but in general, not all may understand it. Other South Indian languages like Telugu and Malayalam are also widely spoken here.

Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It popular a place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach, safe and good place for picnicking.
Breezy Beach is located in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar. It is smaller and less popular than the Elliots beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful.

Ennore Port,and Ennore foundaries Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of Nadu Tamil. There is a museum presenting of the objects of the time of the domination of the CAIO, and a banquetting suite going back to 1802 where the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises also the oldest church Anglican of India, the church of St Mary.

Government Museum, or National Art Gallery on Pantheon Road, comprises an interesting archaeological collection and a room holding a significant and superb collection of Chola bronzes. One building has modern works, while the other has historical works.

Guindy National Park, The smallest national park in India and one of the few located in a metro. The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the governors of Tamilnadu.
Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals and birds.

Marina Beach, one of the worlds longest beaches is 13 km long. The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach. It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again.

Integral Coach Factory- The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum.

National Shrine of St.Thomas Basilica Christians believe that one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ came to India in A.D.52 and died in A.D.72. His body was buried in Mylapore and the national Shrine of St.Thomas basilica, Santhome, Mylapore is built over the tomb of the Apostle.

St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is said St. Thomas died. Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam An auditorium built in memory of the poet Thiruvalluvar. All of the verses of the poet's 'The Thirukkural' are inscribed on the pillars around the auditorium.

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Temples and churches
Aarupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony)
Ananthaa Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony) The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different then other South Indian temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
Ayya Vaikundar Nizhal Thangal, Manali Pudunagar
CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar
CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over
CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah
Guruvayurappan Temple, Nanganallur
ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple, Injambakkam
ISKCON Temple, Perumbur
Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore
Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys
Kapaleeshwara Temple, Mylapore
Kaaraneeswarar Temple, Saidapet
Luz Anjaneyaar Temple, Mylapore
Madhya Kailash Temple, Adyar
Mary's Church, Built in 1680 it is the oldest Anglican Church in India. Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale (who later formed Yale University in the USA, were married here.)
Marundeeshwar temple, Thiruvanmiyur
Mundakaneeyaman Temple, Mylapore
Nizhal Thangal, Oragadam
Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane
Periaapaalayath Amman Temple, Adayar
Puttaparthi Sairam Temple Sundaram, Chamiers Road
Qurasani Mosque, Adayar (near new bus terminus)
Ragavendhra Temple, Triplicane
Ratnagirishwarar Temple, Besant Nagar (near RBI)
Santhome Cathedral Basilica,Mylapore, Santhome, where the Apostle St.Thomas is buried according to christian tradition [10]
Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore Tank
Shiva Vishnu Temple, T.Nagar
Sringeri Saradha Peetam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar
Sri Santhana Srinivasa Perumal Temple-Mogappair
St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Stringer's St, Broadway, Chennai-600108
St. Peters & St. Paul Orthodox Chapel, Koyambedu, Near Anna Nagar, Chennai-600107
Tamil Baptist Church-91, Medawakkam Tank Road, Near Kellys Signal, Kilpauk, Chennai-600010
Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar
Thousand Lights Mosque, Anna Salai
Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani
Vadivudai Amman Temple, Tiruvottiyur
Varasidi vinayakar Temple, Besant Nagar (near bus terminus)
Visvaroopa Baktha Anjaneyaar Temple, Ramnagar, Nanganallur (The idol is 32ft. in height)

During summers it becomes hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stRole during the night (7-9pm) on the Marina beach and Besant Nagar Beach. It's a nice idea to pack dinner and have a picnic on the beach as most locals do. If you happen to drive a car you can also consider taking along a few foldable chairs. Beyond 10pm, no one is permitted to be on the beach. There are policemen on the beach to ensure people follow this rule, and on some occasions they tend to shoo people out by 9pm.

Walk and walk some more: A Paradox called Chennai by Colin Todhunter in the New Sunday Express (New Indian Express)
StRole along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for stuff and knick-knacks. Be warned that it is an intensely crowded place, where you have elbow your way through. However, if you do enjoy local favour in all its madness, you must visit these two places.

You can visit VUYIROLI old age home, to cheer up a few people, if that is the kind of thing you enjoy. The old people would be happy for your company.

The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.

Music and Dance
Chennai is famous for its concerts and peformances that take place in various auditoriums and temples throughout the year, which are announced in the Hindu and other local newspapers. During the Tamil month of Maargazhi (December - January) there is a series of classical Carnatic music concerts and classical dance performances in various parts of the city, but the best are organized in various Sabhas (loosely translates to "concert house"). You will see mostly older celebrities, although occasionally there will be some world-class young virtuosos.
VDS Arts Academy, MOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600034. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6.30 p.m., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artistes. Admission: free.
Brahma Gana Sabha, Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road, Chennai - 600004, Phone - +91 92821 06425, +91 98412 96684
Indian Institute of Music and Arts, R.K Swamy Auditorium, Sir Sivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore, Chennai - 600004,
Kartik Fine Arts, Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road, Chennai - 600018. +91 44 2499 7788, +91 44 2495 2695 (30th Year Art Festival),
'Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, "Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar, 20. Maharajapuram Santhanam Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600017. Phone - +91 44 2814 0806 (The 49th Art and Dance Festival & Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha And the 24th Natya Kala Conference), Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 (daily rates)
Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, Vani Mahal, 103, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600017. +91 44 2815 2166 (The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha)
Nungambakkam Cultural Academy Trust
Chennai is a major centre of Bharata Natyam with over 1000 dance performances a year. More dance forms are now encouraged and taught like Kuchipudi(Traditional dance form from Andhra Pradesh), Mohini Attam, etc. Some other dances like Odissi Manipuri can be found, but are rarer.

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When in Chennai, do not miss a chance to watch a movie. Movies form a part and parcel of south Indian community, and since Tamil movies rank among the top of quality films being made in India, Chennai definitely forms an important part of the vibrant movie culture of India. There are several cinemas in the city. Check out any local newspaper or websites to get to know the movies running in and around Chennai. Visit to get the details of movies currently running in Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are
Sathyam Cine Complex, Gopalapuram
Inox, Chennai City Centre, R.K.Salai
Abhirami Cine Complex, Purasawalkam
Shanti Cine Complex, Anna Salai

Shopping Plazas
Spencer Plaza [15] 769, Anna Salai. Billed as the largest shopping mall in India, Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times.
Chennai Citi Centre [16] 10, Radhakrishnan Salai - Chennai's newest retail mecca, opened March 2006
Shoppers' Stop[17] 2, Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai. The K.Raheja groups Shoppers' Stop is a departmental store.

Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.
Alwar's Roadside bookshop opp Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
Bookfield, Opp. LIC building on Anna Salai (Mount Road)
Vendors near the Central Station
Vendors on Mount Road outside Devi Theatre and the GPO (General Post Office)
Higginbothams, Anna Salai - Books
Kennedys Book House, Anna Salai - Books
For more current publications
Landmark [18], Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Books, Toys, CD's etc. Three locations:
Spencer Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - 37,000 sq. ft.
Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road - 12,000 sq. ft. - The original store
Chennai Citi Centre, Radhakrishnan Salai - Newest location, opened March 2006
Odyssey, Behind Adyar Bus Stand, Adyar - Books, Music, Toys, Gift Articles
Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Road - General books from a friendly shop keeper

Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram Ph - +91 442820 3582 - Handicrafts
Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11, 2nd Street, Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, 600004 Ph:+91 44 2847 6063.- Art, Design Jewellery, photo prints.
Crafts and Weaves, #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2466 0232 - Handicrafts
Dakshinachitra, Muthukkadu - Handicrafts
Giri Stores, Adjacent to Kabaleeswarar Temple, Opposite to Radha Silk Emporium, Mylapore Tank - Hindu Spiritual Items like Rudraksha Garlands, Books, CDs & Tapes for chanting, incense sticks, camphor, lamps etc..
Hidesign, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Road & Phase 3, Spencers Plaza. [20] - Leather Goods
Victoria Technical Institute, Anna Salai - Handicrafts
Vimonisha Art Gallery, 12, Khadar Nawaz Khan Road - Handicrafts
Vinyasa Art Gallery - Handicrafts
Jidoka Store, 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High Road Ph - +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317 - Handicrafts
Kalpadruma, Cathedral Road - Handicrafts
Poppat Jamals, Opp. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Crockery
Pot holes, Music College - Ceramics
Manasthala, #12, Cenotaph Road Ph - +91 44 2433 2842 - Terracotta Ware
Music World, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Music CD's, cassettes

Art Galleries
Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, #70, 1st Main Road, CIT Nagar ph - +91 44 4359 223
Raasi Art Gallery, #1, anna Avenue, Bakthavatsala nagar, Adayar Ph - +91 44 2441 0389
Apparao Galleries, 7th Street, Wallace Garden Ph - +91 44 2827 226
Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, #41, CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet. Ph - +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159
Chennai Studio, 222, Peters Road, Royapettah, Ph - +91 44 98405 43420, [21].

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Nalli Silks, Panagal Park - Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
Kumaran Silks, Panagal Park - Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
Chennai Silks, Panagal Park - Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
Hayagrivas, GN Chetty Road, Near Panagal Park - Sarees
RMKV Silks, Panagal Park - Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
Radha Silk Emporium (Rasi), #1, Sannadhi Street, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2494 1906; #827, Dhun Building, Mount Road, Ph - +91 44 2852 0251; #23, 1st Main Road, Nanganallur, Ph - +91 44 2232 4176 - Silk Sarees, (also in anna Nagar, opp Ayappa temple) Ethnic Wear, Arts & Crafts

L.K.S Gold House, Usman Road, T.Nagar Chennai- 17.
Jaipur Gems,,Exclusie Designer StarFire Diamond jewellery,authentic Jadau jewellery,Bridal Gold jewellery,& Hand crafted Platinum Jewellery. Only at 50,Cathedral Road,Chennai-600 086.
Vummidi Bangaru Jewellery, , Nungambakkam for Diamonds, Gold. Also in T.Nagar.
Keerthilal Kaalidas-diamond Merchants Gold and Silver, CP Ramaswamy Road Alwaarpet Chennai-18
NAC -Nathella Anjaneyalu Jewellery, Mylapore Tank
Aishwarya Jewellery, Mylapore Tank, Gold and Silverware
Bapalal Jewellers, Diamond Merchants,Kakani Towers Cathedral Road
Jugalkishore Jewellers, CP Ramaswaamy Road Alwarpet,for Traditional Antique Jewellery,Silver jewellery and Beads.
GRT Thangamaligai,, south usman T-NAGAR CHENNAI
Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60, East Kalamandapam Road. Royapuram , Chennai- 13. Reliable Gold. Reasonable Prices.
B.B Jewellery, 6/127, Arcot Road. Porur , Chennai- 116. Reliable Gold. Reasonable Prices.
KANISHK, Usman road, T.Nagar, Chennai. Great value for money & wide range.
Saravana Stores Thanga Naga Maaligai, Usman Road, T.Nagar Chennai- 17.

Sapthaswara musicals, luz , mylapore, all musical instruments western indian classical music books hindustani instruments
Shruthi Musicals, #10, Harleys Road, Kilpauk Ph - 26603630
Sruthilayais, #93, Royapettah High Road, Mylapore Ph - 24994045 / 24982625 - Musical Instruments
In addition to these there are several exhibitions that happen at Das Community Hall (Cathedral Road), Shankara Hall (TTK Road) where artisans display there wares. Check the local newspapers for details and timings.

Tamil Nadu is famous for its hospitality and its deep belief that serving food to others is a service to humanity, so eating-out in its capital city Chennai, is a great experience and provides a glimpse of the unique lifestyle of the city.

Chennai, Indian Cuisine.
Tiffin or Light meals is served for breakfast or as a snack. The staple diet for most of the population is rice. These Tiffin items are usually one or more rice based dishes like idli, dosai, pongal, vadai along with with coconut chutney, sambar and mulagapodi. Tiffin is usually accompanied by hot filter coffee, the signature beverage of the city.
A typical Tamil meal (Lunch or Dinner) will be served on a banana leaf. It consists of steamed rice served with about two to six vegetable dishes like sambar, dry curry, rasam, kootu along with curd and buttermilk. For a non-vegetarian meal, curries or dishes cooked with mutton, chicken or fish are included. Meals are often accompanied by crisp appalams. After a final round of rice and curds or buttermilk or both, a traditional meal is concluded with a small banana and a few betel leaves and nuts.
An Indian meal in fast food restaurants is called 'Thali'. Its usually served on a round tray made of either stainless steel or Silver, with a selection of different dishes in small bowls. While North Indian Thali starts with Pooris, Chappattis(Rotis), South Indian Thali comes with rice. The rest of the items like different Curries, Sweet and other miscellaneous items (Applams, Papad, Pickles and Beeda) is similar for both North Indian and South Indian Talis. Thalis sometimes go even by the regional characteristic of the items they have. For example one may encounter Rajasthani thali or Gujarati thali. In some restaurants, a thali may include "bottom-less" refills on all components of food; the idea is that one eats until fully satisfied. Such thalis are referred to as 'unlimited' thalis. In some places the term means that everything in the plate excepting a few items like the sweet preparation or dahi wada is open to unlimited helpings.

Restaurants near Music Academy and those on the Beach coast are well maintained and serve 'Indian Cuisine' with an ambience to match, while most others cater South Indian Cuisine at very reasonable prices. . 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.

Organic food
Chennai has a fair share of stores selling organic food.
Ahumkaara , +91 44 2661 1818. Five seed mix, buckwheat, fresh aloe vera and whet grass Arogyam, Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, +91 4114 230625, 04114-570855 B45 Alagesan Nagar, Opposite Govt. Hospital, Chengalpet - 603001. Organically grown indigenous rice varieties
Enfield Agrobase, +91 44 2442 0605. Mangoes, dried bananas, cashew and coconut

Future Foods,+91 44 2440 4937. Soya, dals and coffee powder Naturally Auroville, +91 44 3833 0517. Kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting tea and sugar using the yeast kombucha), Spaghetti, ragi, spirulina and bread

Organic Harvest, 91 94444 04577, Gallery Sri Parvati, 28/160, Eldams Road, Alwarpet. Organic vegetables available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon; groceries are available throughout the week

Organic milk, +91 44 2499 1203 Murali, New 177, Old 77 Luz Church Road
Simply mmmm, AnnaNagar (near Blue Star). Organic vegetables available every Saturday and Wednesday, after 2 p.m.
Sunday Shandy, +91 44 2499 1203. Weekly fair of organic vegetables, milk and other farm produce, direct from the farm. Every Sunday 9AM to 12PM

The Eco Nut, +91 44 2491 9592. Sesame butter and homemade jams


Hot soup stand outside Santome, Chennai
Geetha Café , Pondy Bazaar - South Indian tiffin.
Hot Chips, T.Nagar and Anna Nagar for budget priced South Indian tiffin, including North Indian chat (snack) items
Komalas, Kodambakkam High Road. Cuisine - South Indian Fast Food.
Mansuk's, T.Nagar - Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
Palimar, Parsn Complex, Anna Salai (Mount Road). Cuisine - South Indian.
Rathna Cafe, Triplicane for fluffy hot idlis, piping hot vadai, delicious pongal dripping in ghee and accompanied by sambhar. Quality maintained for more than 100 years.
Sangeetha, chain of vegetarian restaurants. Sangeeta offers a mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices. A chain restaurant, including one shop at the intersection of Valluvar Kottam High Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam. Cuisine - South Indian.
Sri Krishna Sweets, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai (Mount Road)(also at MG Road, Shastri nagar) Indian Sweets & Salad Bar. Visit "Sri Krishna" for a unique assortment of North Indian "chat" (snack) items as well as well-made Indian sweets
Vasantha Bhavan chain of vegetarian restaurants, one near Vadapalani Bus stand titled Vasantha Bhavan 'Namma Veedu' is quite famous.
Woodlands Drive-In, Gemini Circle for good South Indian Tiffin.
Saravana Bhavan the much hyped chennai based international chain of Vegetarian Restaurants where you can get consistently over priced South Indian tiffin items.

Aiwo, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, located next to Barista Cafe. Cuisine - Fusion and health foods. Aiwo features a 14-course meal served on a conveyer belt that moves around the room; various dishes are served, and the food is very good and rather expensive.

Amaravathy, No.1, Cathedral Road, Gopalpuram. Andhra Special and also Tandoori, Chinese 28116416, 28110305.
Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram Ph - +91 442820 3582. Garden and patio cafe and restaurant with a mix of western (pastas, burgers) and Indian fare. The patio is a cool place to while away a hot afternoon.
Amma, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Cuisine - Chettinadu (Region of South India).
Anjappar, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2628 9344 (Anna Nagar). Chettinadu cuisine.
Anupama, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Andhra cuisine.
Coastline, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore. +91 44 2825 1128. Seafood.
Dhaba Express, Cenotaph Road, Tenampet and Nungambakkam High Road (opposite the ICICI Bank and near Little Italy restaurant). +91 44 2432 8213. North Indian.
Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5222 2777. Good-quality Chinese-Indian cuisine
ECR Dhaba, On ECR Road, Next to Muttukadu Boat House, Muttukadu. +91 98407 04050. Indian, Tandoor, Chinese
Gyan Vaishnav, Mount Road, Near Anand Theatre. North Indian
Kadalivanam, Mogappair. [22], 100% natural, fully vegetarian restaurant
Karaikudi, VeeraRaghava Road, T. Nagar, +91 44 2815 1021. (also at Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar, Mylapore, Thiruvanmiyur) Chettinadu cuisine.
Eden's, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. Wonderful Continental cuisine, fully vegetarian.
Murugans Idli Shop, 2 locations: GN Chetty Road T. Nagar and Besant Nagar. Murugan Idli Shop is a chain restaurant, and the GN Chetty Road shop in particular is a well-kept secret among locals as a purveyor of high-quality food; on weekends, there is a long line for entry. The price for one meal is around 20-40 rupees, or around $1. South Indian.
Noodle House, A chain restaurant, whoese locations include: 1. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) and 2.the Intersection of Sterling Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam. Chinese.
Pizzaurant, Velachery Road, Little Mount, Saidapet. Cuisine - Pizza & Pasta.(Without MSG) Home delivery for nearby areas, Very Indian.
Poonamallee, Breeze Hotel, 850, Poonamallee High Road. +91 44 2641 3334, +91 44 2643 0596. Multicusine
Ponnusamy, Commander-in-Chief Road (opp Ethiraj College), Egmore. Chettinadu cuisine
Rangis, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese.
Swati and Swayam, at Saravana Bhavan, Peters Road. South Indian.
Sparky's, located in Egmore, is an "American diner" operated by an American expatriate settled in Chennai. Mexican, Italian and American food. Prices range from 70-150 rps for a meal.

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Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi
Arirang, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Korean.
Bella Ciao The Italian Restaurant, 4, Sree Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, Chennai - 600 041 - Phone:+91 44 24511130 ---- 140, Nungambakkam High Road, Chhotabhai Center Chennai - 600 034 - Phone:+91 44 28330085 ---- Italian: Roman owner, Excellent Food and Real WoodFire oven Pizzas, lovely setting.
Benjarong, 146 T.T.K. Rd, Alwarpet,044/2432-2640. Thai.
Cafe Mercara, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Multicuisine.
Cedars, #29, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram. +91 44 55855 111, +91 44 2447 5073, Mediterranean
Cilantro, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, Chinese
Citrus, Savera Hotel, Radhakrishna Salai, Mediterranean.
Copper Chimney, Cathedral Road. Mainly North Indian with the odd Iranian inspired dish on the menu. Opposite the Chola Sheraton.
Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Rose wood furniture, antique tanjore paintings, bronze idols, fresh water lilies and flower garlands create a festive mood. Live Carnatic Music. Excellent food - Starters include traditional fare like Kuli Paniyaram. Try the Idi Appam or Appam and Mutton Stew. Finish off with a Kulfi.
Don Pepes, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram. Mexican. +91 44 2822 1461
Kayal, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, Seafood
Little Italy, 12, Eldorado, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034, ☎ +91 44 42601234.
Mainland Chinese Taipei, Tulip Inn, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese
Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343. Indian
Peshwari, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, North Indian, Afghan.
Shansi Chinese & Tandoori Restaurant, AnnaNagar - Indian and Chinese - 26213109
Shanghai Club, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Chinese
Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. South Indian
Tandoor, Aruna Hotel, 145 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2826 2626, +91 44 2828 366, Gourmet dining.
The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 0101. Mughlai.
The Patio, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet dining
The Residency, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.
Vijays, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Multicuisine Sports Cafe
The Westminister. Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.

The liquor trade in Chennai and rest of Tamilnadu is now run by the government. Most liquor shops have been taken over by the government. However bars and pubs in the city's major hotels are managed by the hotels.

Bike and Barrel, Residency Towers, T.Nagar.
Champagne & Cider, Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Mount Road).
Crystal, Hotel Ranjit, Nungambakkam High road, Nungambakkam.
Grammy, Hotel Sabhari, Thirumala Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Ph -
Platinum, (Formerly HFO), Hotel Quality inn Aruna, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
Hudson, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - 52222777
Has two levels. Hudson Upper and H2O. Cramped seating providing very little privacy. The Liquor stable is limited to the local brands and a bottle or two of Scotch.
Society, Hotel Ambassador Pallava, Montieth road, Egmore, Ph - 28554476
Diesel, G.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar
Cambridge, Hotel Dee Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
Million Dollars, Hotel Ambica Empire, 100 Feet road, Vadapalani
Star Rock, Kodambakkam High Road (Next to Palmgrove hotel), Nungambakkam
The Cascade, Quality Inn Sabari 29, Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

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Geoffreys, Radha Park Inn, Arumbakkam.
Zara, Cathedral Road.
Dublin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Ph - 24994101
Durrants Bar, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, Ph - 28110101
DIstil Bar, Taj Connemara, Binny Road
Leather Bar, Park The, Nungambakkam High Road
The largest liquor stable in Chennai - includes hard to source Moet & Chandon, Glenfiddich and a variety of other scotch. Loud Music.

Stay safe
Chennai is generally one of the safer areas of India in terms of crime, although pickpocketing, muggings, and robberies occur. Keep your doors and windows shut and locked at night and do not carry or display large amounts of cash if possible.

The greatest dangers of visit Chennai are in the day-to-day hazards such as crowding and spreading of sicknesses, fire hazards left on the pavements especially near temples from services, and close approaches with motor vehicles. Be alert to your surroundings and watch where you step, especially if you get caught in a large crowd where it is difficult to look at what is in front of you. Cross streets with extreme care as traffic is very unregulated and drivers and especially motorcycles will NOT yield, and organized pedestrian crossings are nearly absent and ignored. On major roads, use the underground crossings (locally called "subways").
And beaware of the auto rikshaw and cab drivers as they might fool you and charge a lot thinking you are new to the city. Even the meter taxi is not safe as they are known to manipulate the meter.

Stay healthy
While in Chennai it is advisable to drink only bottled water. Do not trust water from restaurants as it may be from the tap, and avoid cold or iced drinks that are not commercially sold. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits that have sat outside in the presence of insects can also be unhealthy, although bananas and coconuts are usually safe because they are opened only immediately before eating. Hot drinks in restaurants such as tea, coffee, and other local specialties are safe, as are packaged/bottled drinks such as Aquafina water, Pepsi, Frooti (a popular local mango drink) and others. If you have access to a stove, boiling tap water before drinking is also an option.

Chennai summers are humid and sultry; it's better to step out with an umbrella, bottled water and some oral rehydration salts (available from pharmacies, the brand name is Electral). These come in handy if you happen to get dehydrated.

Money changers
Many hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not have the best rates.

It is best to change money at the city based money changers than the ones located at the airports. The ones at the airport offer much less for exchanging forex into Indian Rupees and sell forex for a much higher rate than the market rate.

American Express, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai
Thomas Cook, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai

American Consulate - 220, Anna Salai (Near Gemini Flyover). [55]
British Deputy High Commission - 20 Anderson Road, Nungambakkam, tel:+91 44 42192151 (fax: +91 44 42192322, [56]) Open Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and 1330-1600.
Consulate of Finland - 202 Anna Salai, Chennai, Tel: +91-(0)44-2852 4141 (Fax: +91-(0)44-2852 1253, [57]) Open Mon-Fri 1000-1200. [58]
German Consulate - Commander-in-Chief Road (Ethiraj Salai), Egmore
Malaysian Embassy - Old Location: Off TTK Road, Alwarpet, Behind Park Sheraton moved to new office opp. Loyola College, Nungambakkam

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Get out
Even as recently as about ten years ago, the ECR, which was then known as the New Mahabalipuram Road, had nothing much to offer by way of entertainment, except for VGP Golden Beach and Romulus Whittaker's crocodile bank. Further down, the road led you to Mahabalipuram, and that was that.

The scenario that meets a traveller today is entirely different. The East Coast Road could very well be termed the entertainment highway of Chennai. The road is brand new, flanked by the sea on the left and dotted with amusement spots through the entire stretch. Driving down ECR is an experience. Really!

You can pick and choose from Amusement Parks, Water Sports Centres, Beaches, Eco Conservation, Cultural and Religious Centres, Restaurants or Resorts to spend your day in. The road caters to practically every type of pastime that one could think about.

Amusement Parks, Water Sports Centres, Beaches: Prarthana Drive In Theatre: Approximately 10 Kms out of Adyar, this complex offers both a drive in theatre and a drive in restaurant VGP
Golden Beach: The first amusement park in Chennai, just about 11 Kms away from Adyar. Still a landmark of Chennai, this park offers over 40 odd rides for the fun seeker. The only park with an access to the beach
Ahaa Water Park: A spot for frolicking in water, the Ahaa Water Park offers a variety of water sports and fun activities. It has a wave generator, which can generate waves of upto 3.5ft.

Kart Attack: A centre dedicated to fulfilling the speed maniac's desire for thrill in a safe and secure environment. The first go karting centre of Chennai, this has placed Chennai on the go karting map of India, and has been instrumental in creating a few go karting champions also.

Mayajaal: 100,000 sq.ft of air-conditioned space. A multitude of activities and entertainment avenues, including movie theatres, bowling alleys, video games parlours, multicuisine food courts, and much more. This is Mayajaal, a multidimensional entertainment centre, on par with any entertainment zone found abroad. Open from 11 am to 11 pm you can easily spend the entire day here. It offers that much and more.

MGM Dizzy World: Spread over 27 acres, this theme park offers joy rides, food stalls and other games. It features one of the first Roleer coaster rides of Chennai, and many of the rides offered could make your hair stand on edge. On the softer side, you have the dashing car drives, and the swimming pool with its water slides.

Little Folks & Dolphin City: Specifically aimed at providing entertainment for the children, this park has a longer history than MGM. Dolphin city was closed after all of it's dolphins and sea lions had died. It is no longer operational now.

Muttukadu Boat House: Located at 23 Kms from Adayar, this backwater area is maintained by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation, and offers rowing and speedboat riding.

Eco Conservation, Cultural and Religious Centres: Marundeswarar Temple is the first temple that one comes across on the route. A Shiva temple having a rich sthala purana or location history.

Sai Baba Temple: Approximately 8.5 kms from Adyar, the temple is peaceful, clean and breezy.

Jagannathan Temple: An exact replica of the Puri Jagannath Temple. Those who have not been to Puri can take a look at this temple.
Cholamandalam Artists Village: Set up by a group of artists to serve as a recluse for artists of all genres. This village offers the ambience needed for creativity to flow and is inhabited only by artists. The village offers guesthouse facilities exclusively for artists from elsewhere so that they could also benefit from the environment provided by the place. A must visit for those who appreciate the finer things of life.
Tiruvidanthai Nithya Kalyana Perumal Koil: As the name denotes, a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara found on East Coast Road.
Crocodile Bank: The brainchild of Romulus Whittaker, the acknowledged specialist on reptiles, this centre has gained fame as an endeavour for the preservation and propagation of endangered species of crocodiles. The centre also houses a large variety of snakes.
Dakshinachitra: A venture of Deborah Thiagarajan and her associates from the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra is an amazing place to visit, as various kinds of traditional houses have been transported to Chennai from interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and rebuilt here piece by piece.
Mahabalipuram: The internationally recognized heritage monument of our country, personifying the art and culture of the Pallava kings.
Hotels and Restaurants in ECR: The ECR road abounds with restaurants and eating spots, which offer a wide range of cuisines and tasteful ambience. And you can plan your dinner or lunch in one of these hotels. A few of the food outlets are listed below: -Basera -Blue Lagoon -Thanjavur Restaurant -Food Village -Coastal Kitchen -Hot Kitchen
Beach Resorts: Another convenience that is found in plenty on the East Coast Road is the presence of several comfortable, pleasing, beach resorts, which enable you to take a break, and enjoy a seaside environment. Take your pick from those mentioned below: -Buena Vista -Blue Lagoon -Green Country Resort -Fisherman's Cove -Casuarina Bay
Drive your way to fun and thrill. But be prepared to pay a small toll fee on the East Coast Road.

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Krishna's Butter Ball
Pondicherry — Go on a spiritual trip down to the Auroville ashram. The drive down the East Coast Road (ECR) is delightful, with lovely beaches all along the way, and on the way you can stop over at...
Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) There are several things to see on the way and in Mamallapuram 60 km south of Chennai.
Pulicat : Cool Beach with no Crowd. Cal and Quit.
Hill stations of Tamil Nadu, including Ooty and Kodaikanal
Kanyakumari — Site of the famous Vivekananda memorial.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands — Beaches, surfing and snorkeling
Kerala — God's own Country. Paradise on Earth.

South India is famous for its temples. Even if you aren't on a pilgrimage, these are worth a visit if you are interested in grand buildings and architecture.
Tiruvallur — Approximately 45 Kms from Chennai. It is famous for its Vaidhya Veera raghava Swami Temple and Sri Viswaroopa Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami Ashram which has a 40 ft tall Murti of Hanuman.
Tirupati — Approximately 150 Kms from Chennai, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Madurai— Home to the famous Meenakshi temple.
Swamithoppe— Ayya Vaikundar Pathi, religious head quarters of Ayyavazhi.
Kanchipuram — Kamakshi temple, seat of one of the Shankaracharyas - the closest Hinduism comes to a spiritual head.
Thanjavur — Brihadeswara temple (Big Temple).
Tiruvannamalai Arunachala Temple famous for full moon day girivalam and Deepam

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