There’s always an element of thrill and adventure that is associated with exploring the realm of the unknown. While Chennai has made its place in Indian history books as the ‘Gateway to South India’, and as a city which witnessed the rise of the British in India, Chennai never ceases to intrigue the visitors. The epitome of the country’s penchant for the unfamiliar, Chennai has quite a hidden marvels waiting to be explored by its visitors. So, the next time when you are in the ‘Detroit of India’, ditch the conventional tourist attractions and explore these fantastic 5 places:
1.The Caves of Little Mount
Hidden from the naked eye, these enchanting caves are perched atop a hillock along the banks of the River Adyar in Chennai. One of the most popular attractions of this place is the Little Mount Church. Legend has it that St. Thomas (one of Christ’s 12 apostles) inhabited these caves for several years, leading a frugal life and proselytizing the locals. Locals often visit this revered shrine to offer prayers. According to the popular beliefs, imprints of St. Thomas’ feet can still be found on the rocks in the caves. Another interesting thing that adds to the charm of these caves is the rapid gushing water of the perennial spring of these caves.
2.‘Bodyguard’ Muneeswaran Temple
Situated along Chennai’s famous Pallavan Salai, this small temple is an uncanny one owing to the story behind it. Back in 1919, an idol of Lord Muneeswaran was brought to the city and placed under the shady branches of a Neem tree by the locals of the region. If the locals are to be believed, a British officer raised objections to the idol being kept there. He had the unfortunate fate of having met with an accident later that day! Since that day, the idol began to be seen as the guardian responsible for the road safety of the people and eventually acquired the nickname ‘bodyguard’ for this reason. Till date, the locals visit this site, waiting to get their vehicles blessed and to keep accidents at bay.
One of the most astounding testimonials to the existence of a throbbing Armenian population in Madras, this enchanting Church is the oasis of peace. These foreign settlers dealt with fine silk and spices. Pristine white exteriors adorn the Church. It is said that bells of the church date back to somewhere around mid-18th century. More than a place of worship, this Church is a heritage site, which opens its doors to the public from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Another interesting thing about the Church of St. Mary is that it is India’s oldest Armenian Church.
A paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers, this is a refreshing site to unplug yourself from the city’s hustle and bustle and to reconnect with your inner self. Hosting a rich variety of migratory birds, it is indeed a beautiful site to visit, especially if you are looking for some moments of tranquility. After visiting this place, you can also head to Madurai Veeran Temple or Gold Souk Grande Mall, which are less than a kilometer away from this site.
Regarded as one of the most haunted places in Chennai, Alwarpet’s Demonte Colony has drawn numerous daredevil visitors. Named after the merchant John Demonte who resided here, this colony is one of the spookiest places in Chennai. According to lore, Demonte’s life over here was a collection of tragedies, including the premature demise of his son and an illness-stricken wife. Various strange noises and ghost sightings have been associated with this neighborhood.