24 hours in: Chennai

24 hours in: Chennai

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So you’ve got 24 hours to see Chennai? No problem! Sure, it might be tight trying to cram it all in, but even with just a day, you can still get a feel for life in this South Indian city. Here’s our guide to making the most of a mere 24 hours in Chennai.

24 hours in chennai

Early morning: 7 – 9am

Start your day with an early morning stroll around the Mylapore neighbourhood. You’ll witness Chennai’s culture at its best on these ancient streets. Outside every house, you’ll see how people have decorated their homes with traditional Kolam colours and designs. While you’re here, visit the 400-year-old Kapaleeshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and learn the mythology behind the site.

Morning: 9am – 12pm

The Government Museum of Chennai is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the city, so go in the morning before the crowds take over. The unique objects displayed in this gigantic museum include an array of artifacts, including palm-leaf manuscripts, bronze artwork, a transportation gallery, a botany gallery, and much more. Built in the 1800s, the museum perfectly narrates the rich Indian heritage and South India’s history.

Alternately, get out of the city for a bit and explore Marina Beach. Located just three kilometres outside the city, Marina is the world’s second largest natural urban beach and the country’s largest. It stretches for 13 kilometres along the Bay of Bengal, from St. George Fort to the UNESCO site of Mahabalipuram.

24 hours in chennai

Midday: 12 – 2pm

Stop for a lunch break at Annalakshmi Restaurant, one of the best South-Indian food joints in Chennai. It’s also a restaurant with a heart — the vegetarian restaurant (with locations also in Australia and Singapore) asks that customers pay what they think is fair rather, than a set price. The ambiance is outstanding and so is the food.

Afternoon: 2 – 6pm

Take a walk through Theagaraya Nagar, popularly known as T. Nagar. This neighbourhood is one of the busiest, most crowded places in Chennai, but with its abundant culture and colour, it’s also the perfect introduction to the vibrancy of the city.

Or, if you need to cool off from the scorching afternoon heat of Chennai, head indoors for a walk around Express Avenue Mall. The mall has a variety of restaurants and a seemingly unending array of latest brands to shop. If you’re more a gamer than a shopper, the mall also has the largest gaming arcade in South India.

24 hours in chennai

Evening: 6pm until late

Take in a show at Narada Gana Sabha, the city’s centre for traditional Bharatanatyam dance and Carnatic music. The auditorium features performances on regular basis and showcases the vibrant and artistic heritage of Chennai.

Day Tours Across India

Looking for things to do in Chennai and beyond? Urban Adventures offers several day tours across India, all led by local experts who will give you a taste of local life in the city:

Cultural Chennai
Get to the heart of Chennai’s local culture with a jam-packed morning of art, spirituality, and food! Visit an ancient temple, join in an early-morning Hindu ceremony, learn the mudras at a prestigious dance academy, and dig into a traditional south Indian breakfast — talk about the ultimate way to start your day!

Culture Vulture Kolkata
If you want some culture, get to Kolkata! The city is considered India’s cultural and intellectual capital, and we’re taking you on a jam-packed trip through the chaotic and charming city streets. Browse the flower market, check out historic artwork and architecture, and learn how modern potters still shape clay idols by hand.

Mumbai Masala
Get the edge on the Mumbai food scene by joining a local guide on this Mumbai tour for hungry travellers. Your guide will navigate the scene for you, lead you to the hits, avoid the misses, and take the guess work out of street food eating.

A Go Around Goa
With all the pubbing and clubbing, Goa may be the party capital of India, but we want to show you the local side. Stroll the city’s enchanting streets and markets and feel like a true Goan for a day.

Or check out more tours across India…

 

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