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How to Spend 1 Day in Chennai

How to Spend 1 Day in Chennai

The city formerly known as Madras, Chennai is a busy, vibrant city full of beautiful old colonial buildings, colorful temples, and plenty of sandy coastline. If you have just one day in the city, here’s how to make the most of your time. 

Morning: Colonial George Town

Start your morning off with a visit to the charming neighborhood of George Town, known for its colorful markets and stately historic buildings, many of which date back to the 17th century. The most important of these is Fort St. George, constructed by the East India Company in 1644 and today site of the Fort Museum, which houses colonial artifacts and art. Don't leave without paying a visit to St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican church east of the Suez Canal and the oldest British-built building in all of India.

Afternoon: Spiritual Mylapore

Spend your afternoon exploring Mylapore, home to two of Chennai's most important religious sites: Kapaleeshwarar Temple and the San Thome Basilica. As the temple closes for lunch for a few hours in the afternoon, start with the 16th-century San Thome Basilica, named for Saint Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have moved to India in the year AD 52. The cathedral features multiple stained-glass windows, and St. Thomas’ tomb is in a chapel on the cathedral premises. From here it’s a quick jaunt to Kapaleeshwar Temple, a multihued, colorful Dravidian-style temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Night: Sunset on the Beach

Wander along the city's Marina Beach in the evening, when the descending sun casts a golden glow over the city. Afterwards, join an evening food tour to experience Chennai’s culinary offerings with a local guide, or head to a local restaurant to try out South Indian cuisine on your own. While the nightlife here isn’t as vibrant as in Bangalore or Delhi, there are still plenty of places to imbibe; some of the snazziest are naturally at the city’s 5-star hotels. Alternatively, top off your stay with an evening performance at local dance and arts academy Kalakshetra.

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3 Tours and Activities | All Chennai Tours

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Peacock Trail Walking Tour in Mylapore

Peacock Trail Walking Tour in Mylapore

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109
Explore Chennai's Mylapore neighborhood with a local guide and learn about the rituals of daily life, hear stories of gods and demons, and gain a deeper understanding of local customs and traditions. This popular walking tour showcases the highlights and the history of this incredible city and is not to be missed.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$26.14
From
$26.14

Bazaar Trail Walking Tour in George Town

Bazaar Trail Walking Tour in George Town

star-5
58
See the eclectic marketplaces and colorful bazaars on this memorable walking tour of Chennai. Explore George Town and uncover the stories of daily life and local people as you listen to your friendly local guide share historical legends and old folklore. You'll navigate the crowded markets and narrow lanes as you experience the life of a local on this interactive and engaging tour that's not to be missed.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$26.14
From
$26.14

Private Tour: Half-Day Chennai Sightseeing with Government Museum and Kapaleeshwar Temple

Private Tour: Half-Day Chennai Sightseeing with Government Museum and Kapaleeshwar Temple

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5
First time in Chennai? Make the most of a private guide and flexible itinerary on this 4-hour sightseeing tour. Unveil the secrets of Chennai’s rich history and heritage as you tour the fascinating Government Museum and admire the 17th-century Fort St George. Then, keep your camera poised as you drive along the scenic Marina Beach and visit the stunning Kapaleeshwar Temple.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.00
Price varies by group size
From
$88.00
Price varies by group size