Madras Day: From Elliot’s beach to Kapaleeswarar Temple, top attractions to visit on Chennai's 380th birthday

  • Believed to have been founded on 22 August, 1639, the city has transformed from being a sleepy hamlet to a bustling metropolis

  • Madras, which was rechristened Chennai by the DMK Government in 1998, is not only known for its sumptuous cuisine

  • From its sandy beaches to ancient architecture, the city has a sprawling list of tourist spots as it ranked 43rd among the most-visited cities

Madras Day: The biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India, Chennai on Thursday (22 August) celebrated the 380th foundation day of the city of Madras in Tamil Nadu.

Believed to have been founded on 22 August, 1639, the city has transformed from being a sleepy hamlet to a bustling metropolis, but managed to retain its old world charm.

Madras, which was rechristened Chennai by the DMK government in 1998, is not only known for its sumptuous cuisine, but also stands out as a potential travel destination.

 Madras Day: From Elliot’s beach to Kapaleeswarar Temple, top attractions to visit on Chennais 380th birthday

Devotees pull the chariot of Lord Shiva during the annual Panguni celebrations of the Mylapore Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai. PTI

From its sandy beaches to ancient architecture, the city has a sprawling list of tourist spots: in 2015 it was ranked 43rd on a list of the world's most visited cities. Here are some popular attractions that are not to be missed:

Besant Nagar Beach/Elliot’s Beach

Elliot's Beach is named after Edward Elliot, one time chief magistrate and superintendent of police, Madras.

More commonly known as Bessie, the Besant Nagar Beach or Elliot’s Beach is famous among youngsters. From small food joints selling delicious spring potato to popular restaurants, Bessie has been a hangout spot for years.

Among the popular restaurants and dessert spots along the promenade are Murugan Idli Shop, Mash, Cozee’s, and Amadora Gourmet Ice Cream.

Designated as one of the cleanest and safest beaches in the city, Karl Schmidt Memorial is a prominent landmark.

Fort St. George

Significant for being the first English fortress in the country, Fort St. George was the first British centre of power in the south and has been the seat of the Tamil Nadu government since independence. It houses the Tamil Nadu Assembly and other official buildings. Since its inception 1644, the fort has borne witness to a number of wars, including World War I.

Marina Beach

Ranked as the second-longest urban beach in the world, Marina Beach runs along the Bay of Bengal for six kilometres. Undoubtedly Chennai’s biggest landmark, the beach is also a cultural identifier and the preferred venue from events of all stripes: from weekend picnics to political rallies.

Kapaleeswarar Temple

One of the oldest places of worship in Chennai's Mylapore, the Kapaleeswarar Temple is a 17th Century temple of Lord Shiva. Apart from being a religious landmark, the temple is a major cultural hub which hosts several classical music and dance performances. The temple architecture serves  a mix of two styles: Dravidian and Vijaynagari.

The temple’s tallest Gopuram stands at over 40 metres, while there is another smaller Gopuram facing the water tank.

Theosophical Society

One of Chennai’s oldest organisations, Theosophical Society, with its  has the city's best maintained green spaces, with its Adyar headquarters which cuts across the Adyar river estuary. The campus is a cultural and spiritual centre with a library and also hosts a number of talks and events.

It also houses the Adyar banyan tree, which is one of the largest banyan trees in the country and is more than 450 years old.


Anna Centenary Library

Frequented by students, locals and experts from across the country, Anna Centenary Library houses over 1.2 million books, periodicals, encyclopedias and volumes.

One of India’s largest and most modern libraries, it features a digital archive, children’s section and also an entire section for regional and Tamil language books.

East Coast Road and Kovalam

Hugging the coast for almost its entire distance, the part of East Coast Road (ECR) highway that comes under Chennai serves the purpose of a long drive and includes hidden beaches, resorts, and cultural establishments.

Some of the most popular attractions along this stretch are the VGP Resorts, Cholamandal Artists Village, and ECR, Akkarai, and Kovalam beaches.

Dakshin Chitra

One cannot have a round experience of Chennai without touring Dakshin Chitra, a cultural repository of five major South Indian states. This cultural museum boasts  exhibits such as pre-colonial clothing, farming, music and dance forms, and architecture.

Located on the scenic ECR Highway, Dakshin Chitra is also popular for its numerous stalls that sell everything from traditional and ethnic jewellery to fashion and souvenirs.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2019 18:03:48 IST