Travelling to Goa, Manali, Kashmir and Jaipur to spend your vacation is a passé. Ditch these overcrowded tourist destinations and come to Chennai for your next holiday. This coastal city boasts of a rich cultural heritage, mouthwatering cuisine, classical music and dance forms with elegant textiles and intricate architectural designs. This makes it an idyllic holiday retreat for your winter romance with history and culture.
Reputed as India’s largest beach, this beautiful beach extends from Fort St. George to Besant Nagar. It is one of the finest places to enjoy a fabulous sun rise set against the chirping of birds in the morning and the swaying of palm trees by the gentle sea breeze.
An old light house, an aquarium, a swimming pool and a park are located in the vicinity of this beach. It has a wide array of options to keep the visitors entertained – food kiosks selling snacks like patti samosas and masala papads, pony rides and kite flying beach.
Now rechristened as Besant Nagar Beach, Elliot is one of the must see places in Chennai. The beach has numerous famous places in the vicinity such as the Ashta Lakshmi Temple and Velanganni Church. The Schmidt Memorial, built to commemorate Karl Schmidt, a Dutch sailor, is yet another popular tourist spot in the vicinity. This is an ideal location for a tranquil experience as you enjoy the splashing of waves against the rocks and shells on the shore.
Fort St. George
Built during the commencement of the British Rule, this fort is a delight for all the history buffs. It enjoys a truly unparalleled position in history as it is the first British fort in history. It encloses quite a few monuments of historical interest such as St. Mary’s Church and St. George Museum, which houses numerous artifacts from that era such as paintings, coins, silverware, arms, porcelain and documents. This fort is open to all its visitors between 9 am to 5 pm on all days of the week excluding Friday. A trip to this fort is not going to be very heavy on your pocket as the visitors have to pay a very nominal amount to get an entry.
Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Believed to be the oldest temple of this city, this holy shrine is dedicated to Lord Krishna. One can see its splendid gopuram apart from the other shrines that adorn the temple grounds. This 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple has been even mentioned in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints. This jaw dropping structure was built by the Pallava King Narsimhavarman. It is open to the devotees from 4 am to 11:30 pm.
Thousand Lights Mosque
It is yet another point of interest in Chennai. Acclaimed for its architectural marvels, this mosque is a special place of reverence for the Shia community. As many as 1000 oil lamps enlighten the hall of the mosque. Thus, it is hardly an enigma how this mesmerizing mosque got its name. Its multi-domes and twin minarets are indeed enchanting. Men offer their prayers in the tranquil atmosphere of the main hall. Women have a separate area for worshipping. It is open between 5:30 am to 9 pm to the visitors. Photography is prohibited in this holy place.
Thus, with historical forts and museums, spectacular beaches and captivating sacred places, Chennai has something for everyone. So pack your bags and ring in your New Year Celebrations in Chennai.