Chennai: A Heady Mix of History, Tradition & Modernism

A solitary boat at sea with the evening sky in the background

Chennai, formerly known and still lovingly called Madras, is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Arguably the most popular city in South India, it is not only steeped in rich culture, traditions and history but also teeming with tourist attractions. The Chennai of today is sprawling with top-of-the-line industries, business conglomerates, and high-rise buildings that exude contemporary sophistication.


Beneath Chennai’s fast-paced lifestyle and all of its urbanity, lies its throbbing cultural heart. Popularly referred to as the “Gateway to South India”, this 400-year-old city treats its visitors to a marvellous travel experience.

A hawker in chennai with the sun in the background
Night view of Chennai road at night with the evening sky in the background

The city is dotted with temples, institutions and other stunning places with a vast and glorious heritage. Visit these amazing locations to soak in the best of Chennai:

  • Parthasarathy Temple - Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th-century marvel dedicated to Lord Vishnu, built by the Pallava kings. With its intricate carvings and beautiful architecture, the temple has become one of the landmarks of the city.

  • Church of Our Lady of Light - Commonly known as Luz Church by the locals, Church of Our Lady of Light is a Roman Catholic shrine in Chennai. It was built in the year 1516 by the Portuguese and is located near the Santhome Basilica, where the apostle Thomas is said to have been buried.

  • The Kalakshetra - The Kalakshetra is an art and cultural academy founded in 1936, that is dedicated to preserving the theatrical, artistic and musical artforms of India. This institution has achieved national and international recognition for its style and perfectionism.

  • Madras Music Academy - Madras Music Academy is a world-famous institute that was founded in the early 1920s that nurtures talent in the field of Carnatic music.

  • Kodambakkam - Kodambakkam, also known as K-town or Kollywood, is a residential and business neighbourhood that is lined with several film studios. It is the hub of the Tamil film industry and home to many Tamil film directors, producers and actors.

Road flanked by trees in Chennai
A bridge near a river in Chennai
an overview of a Beach in Chennai with waves overlapping the sand

The name Madras was derived from the former fishing village known as Madrasapattinam, after the arrival of the British East India Company. It became the centre of administrative power later on and transformed into a commercial capital. The city still maintains its historic buildings from the British rule such as the Government Museum in Egmore, San Thome Basilica, Ripon Building, Chennai Central, Fort St. George(which now serves as the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu Government), and more.


Man-made marvels apart, mother nature has also graced the city with many picturesque beaches and nature parks such as the beautiful Marina Beach and Guindy National Park. Needless to say, Chennai is the complete package, with its abundant beautiful landmarks and cultural attractions. Come, visit this majestic city and witness its magical essence.