Chennai, affectionately referred to as the 'Gateway of India', is a much favoured destination. It's the capital city of Tamil Nadu and has a gloriously rich culture, which reflects in its Dravidian heritage. Chennai remains a cultural hub, where classical dance, architecture, music, crafts and sculpture interweave into its artistic fabric.
Festivals occur throughout the year, one of the most famous ones being Pongal. This festival marks the beginning of a 6-month period, when the sun makes its journey northwards. Pongal usually begins in the second week of January and lasts for 4 days. December is another exciting time to visit, to attend the music festival.
Guests are treated to a host of performances, from Tamil Nadu's most prominent artists. A variety of dance festivals are staged throughout the year and you should check out Bharat Natyam. This classical dance is beautifully expressive and synonymous to Tamil Nadu culture.
Marina Beach is a top tourist hotspot and honeymooning couples can enjoy romantic long walks alongside the ocean. There is a great selection of restaurants to dine at here and natural scenic surroundings, make this location a favourite for Hindu and Islamic festivals.
When to fly to Chennai
Anna International Airport is located in Tirusulam, around 10 miles (16 km) south-west of the city centre. Most travellers catch prepaid taxis to the city. Tirusulam train station is also located nearby, opposite the airport. Suburban trains from this station take passengers to Egmore in the city centre. The journey time is around 40 minutes in duration.
There are also bus services to the city, however the bus stops are located a considerable distance away from new airport terminals. You can also book airport transfers online in advance. Rental car desks are also situated throughout the airport.
Getting around Chennai
Trains are a reliable and convenient way to travel around the city and can be a preferred option over taxis as roads are quite congested. There are two main long distance trains that connect Chennai to the nearby cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Make sure you book your train tickets in advance if you are planning to visit any of them. The suburban network train service travels across the city. Buses are another option and ideal when travelling to Marina Beach.