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About Chennai
History is etched in every corner of the effervescent city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras. The capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is the biggest industrial and commercial centre in South India, as well as a major cultural, economic and educational centre. Tamil is the official language in Chennai and the region has a rich cuisine featuring both traditional non-vegetarian and vegetarian delicacies where rice, curd, coconut, legumes, lentils and spices play a significant role. The popular festival of Pongal is celebrated in Chennai with much fan-fare and it marks the end of the monsoons and the beginning of the harvest season in South India.

Chennai is an important hub for Carnatic music and hosts a large number of cultural events that include performances by several celebrated artists. The city has a diverse theatre scene and is one of the important centres for Bharata Natyam – an Indian classical dance form.

Best time to visit:

The climate is humid throughout most of the year due to the city's coastal location. The best time to visit Chennai is from November to February i.e. during the winter months. 

Top five places to see:

Marina Beach – Considered to be the second longest urban beach in the world, the Marina Beach covered with glittering golden sand and a clear strip of blue sea, is among the most magnificent beaches in India. It is an elegant promenade with flower beds along its lanes and along the shore, there are several buildings built during the British colonial rule.

St. Mary's Church – One of the oldest surviving churches built by the British in India, the St. Mary’s Church is the first English Church in India and the oldest Anglican Church in the East.

The Government Museum – One of the oldest museums of India created during colonial rule is the Government Museum of Chennai located in Egmore, which is in the heart of the city and spreading over 16 acres of land. The main attractions of the museum include the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Amravathi Gallery and the beautiful National Art Gallery.

Kapaleeswarar Temple – The peaceful Kapaleeswarar Temple of Chennai is believed to be one of the oldest and most revered holy places of the city, dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The architecture of this temple is typical Dravidian style built around the 7th century CE.

Arinjar Anna Zoological Park – This zoological park has the distinction of having the first zoo in India, which was started in 1855. The park is said to be one of the biggest in South East Asia with wildlife exhibited in large open enclosures with a simulated natural environment. More than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are housed in this park. Lion safari vehicles and elephant rides are some of the exciting facilities that are available.