Chennai, affectionately referred to as the ‘Gateway of India’, is a much favored destination. It’s the capital city of Tamil Nadu and has a gloriously rich culture, which reflects in its Dravidian heritage. Chennai remains a cultural hub, where classical dance, architecture, music, crafts and sculpture interweave into its artistic fabric.
Festivals occur throughout the year, one of the most famous ones being Pongal. This festival marks the beginning of a 6-month period, when the sun makes its journey northwards. Pongal usually begins in the second week of January and lasts for 4 days. December is another exciting time to visit, to attend the music festival.
Guests are treated to a host of performances, from Tamil Nadu’s most prominent artists. A variety of dance festivals are staged throughout the year and you should check out Bharat Natyam. This classical dance is beautifully expressive and synonymous to Tamil Nadu culture.
Marina Beach is a top tourist hotspot and honeymooning couples can enjoy romantic long walks alongside the ocean. There is a great selection of restaurants to dine at here and natural scenic surroundings, make this location a favorite for Hindu and Islamic festivals.
The cheapest time to visit Chennai is during the summer season between April and June. At this time the weather is hot and humid, reaching up to 108 degrees during the day. In the evening, temperatures cool off, dropping down to 75 degrees. The Monsoon season brings lots of rain, between the months of June and September, continuing again from October to December. If you don’t mind the weather, you can find cheap tickets during the school holidays in July and August.
Trains are a reliable and convenient way to travel around the city and can be a preferred option over taxis as roads are quite congested. There are two main long distance trains that connect Chennai to the nearby cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Make sure you book your train tickets in advance if you are planning to visit any of them. The suburban network train service travels across the city. Buses are another option and ideal when traveling to Marina Beach.