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Why visit Chennai?

Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the capital of Tamil Nadu state, and is a major commercial, cultural and religious centre, sometimes referred to as ”˜The Gateway to the South’. Originally a fishing village, it grew with the construction of Fort St George by the British in 1653 and is now India’s fourth largest city and contains a number of historical sites plus a vast urban beach.
Reasons to visit Chennai include:

  • Fort St George, an erstwhile East India Company trading post with an interesting museum
  • St Marys Church, the ”˜Westminster Abbey of the East’, dating back to 1680
  • San Thome cathedral built on the site of the tomb of St Thomas the Apostle
  • Kapaleeshwar Temple, a prime example of ornate Dravidian architecture and a 40m gopuram (tower)
  • Marina Beach, one of the longest urban beaches in the world and the city’s main recreational destination

How to visit

There are direct flights from the UK, making Chennai easy to reach and a good start or end point to a South Indian holiday

Accommodation in Chennai

You can opt to stay in the city centre or a short drive away on the coast if you prefer to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle

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Chennai accommodation

customer rating

5/5 from 139 reviews

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facts and information

Time: GMT +5 hours

Flight time:

Flight time from London to Delhi is 8 hours 30 minutes and to Mumbai is about 8 hours.

Language: The official language is Hindi, which about 30% of the population speaks. English is very widely spoken and is used for official and commercial purposes.


Required for British travellers. Other nationalities should obtain advice from their embassy.


There are no compulsory vaccinations.



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