Welcome to Madras, India!
Bordering the Bay of Bengal, Madras is the capital of India’s southernmost state, Tamil Nadu. Officially known as Chennai, the city is a thriving metropolitan packed with distinct features that range from the famous Marina Beach and Fort St George to the Dravidian-style Kapaleeswarar Temple.
It is a worldwide local who knows about the hidden destinations that give character to a city. Come along for a glance into Madras’ enchanting spectacles.
When to Visit
When planning your trip, remember that the Madras weather is best from late October to March, making this the ideal time to visit the region. Try and visit during January, as the entire state celebrates the harvest festival of Pongal. It’s an exciting time brimming with merriment, good food, traditional dances, and music.
Worldwide Local Tip: In case you are worried about the local language, fear not, for English is widely spoken. In fact, it was the people of Madras who are credited for the continued use of English in India today, as they stood their ground in the 1960s during a movement to make Hindi the primary language of the country.
Religion in Madras
Even though the city has a modern approach towards life, the residents of Madras continue to have strong religious affiliations. Visit the Bodyguard Muniswaran Temple to witness a unique study of personal beliefs. Here, disciples bring their new cars for Lord Muniswaran’s blessings. The locals believe that this will guarantee a safe ride for them, on the road, as the Lord is now their “bodyguard.”
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are feeling a little under the weather, you’ll be glad to know that medical tourism is big in Madras. Patients from around the world visit the city for relatively cheap but state-of-the-art medical treatments. Both private and government hospitals are also part of various schemes that help patients by providing free services.
For the Reader
Bookworms rejoice as there are several fantastic bookshops, across Madras. Asia Book Point, situated in the basement of a building in Alwarpet, is one quaint paradise for readers. But beware, you can quickly lose track of time while browsing through thousands of books under different genres, spread out all over this place.
Worldwide Local Tip: Madras restaurants are delicious, but eating in this city is often an eccentric experience. Jannal Kadai, near Kapaleeswarar Temple, is an unusual haunt that serves the most delectable bhajjis, bondas, and idlis, during breakfast and tea-time. Interestingly, it operates out of a tiny window, making it a literal hole-in-the-wall operation. There’s no place to sit, and you must get there early since the locals descend here religiously for their daily fix.
Don’t Miss these Stops
Madras has a very laid back, best enjoyed on cool and pleasant evenings with a walk by the Broken Bridge. A local attraction that is by the mouth of Adyar River, the bridge oozes romance during sunset. No wonder it features in so many regional films.
For a haunting of a different kind, why not stop by the eerie De Monte Colony, a deserted residential area near St Mary’s Road, that is sure to thrill believers of the supernatural.
Worldwide Local Tip: A day-trip to nearby Pulicat Lake, is a must if you enjoy birdwatching. The region is of particular interest to historians as it houses beautiful reminders of Dutch colonization, in the form of a fort, a lighthouse, and a Dutch cemetery.
Enjoy Your Visit!
There’s an enchanting aura about Madras that combines natural beauty, urban attitude, and traditional values into an excellent little package, making the city among the most visited in the country, and also the safest. As a worldwide local, you are privileged to experience all the captivating sights that Madras has to offer.