If you have time to explore Chennai (formerly Madras), this 400-sq-km conglomerate of urban villages and diverse neighborhoods making up Tamil Nadu’s capital will pleasantly surprise you. Its role is as keeper of South Indian artistic, religious and culinary traditions.
Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The city is home to Fort St. George, built in 1644 and now a museum showcasing the city’s roots as a British military garrison and East India Company trading outpost, when it was called Madras. Religious sites include Kapaleeshwarar Temple, adorned with carved and painted gods, and St. Mary’s, a 17th-century Anglican church.
The people of Tamil Nadu consider providing food to others a service to humanity. Thus the service in the state capital, Chennai, is first-rate. Treat your senses to some of the richest South Indian flavours in traditional dishes like sambar, rasam, fish curry or kootu. And don’t forget to have a cup of full-bodied Tamil coffee, enhanced with chicory—no visit is complete without it.
Its coastal position and closeness to the equator makes Chennai’s climate humid and tropical all year round.
Chennai predominantly has two seasons – summer from April to June (35-42°C (95-108°F)), the highest temperature recorded was 45°C (113°F) in 2003) and the monsoon from October to December. The city barely gets any rain from the southwest monsoon (Jun-Sep), but receives copious amounts from the northeast monsoon from October through to December, every year amounting to between 125 and 150 cm (49 and 59 in) of rain. During some seasons, Chennai gets a greater amount of rainfall if there are depressions in the Bay of Bengal.
The period from December through to February is the mildest in terms of temperature, where the daily range on average is 19-28°C (66-82°F). Be sure to take along thin and light clothing.
Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport is situated at Tirusulam, 21 km from the city centre.
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai central railway station, 3 km from the city center.