Important Tourist Places in and Around Chennai city
The following are some of the tourist famous places in and around Chennai city:
Mahabalipuram Rock Temples
Mahabalipuram otherwise called Mamallapuram is located right on the Coromandel Coast next to the Bay of Bengal. It was a well established sea port during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty, and has flourished accordingly. The area is brimming with rock-cut caves and numerous temples. In fact, this region is often referred to as an open museum. Some of the temples were even carved out of one enormous rock rather than simply constructed out of rock. Beautiful white sandy beaches are plentiful, as are the casuarinas trees that are found in abundance there. Mahabalipuram is also known for providing a fantastic shopping experience. Exquisite local handmade crafts are readily available in the local shops.
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a temple of Shiva located in Mylapore. According to the Puranas, Shakti worshipped Shiva in the form of a peacock, which is why the vernacular name Mylai (Mayilāi) was given to the area that developed around the temple - mayil means Tamil name for "peacock". The temple's name is derived from the words kapalam (head) andeeshwararan alias of Shiva. According to the Hindu Puranas, during the meeting of Brahma and Shiva at the top of Mount Kailash (Himalaya) Brahma failed to show the due respect to Shiva. Due to this, Shiva plucked of one of Brahma's heads (kapalams). In an act of penance, Brahma came down to the site of Mylapore and installed a Lingam to please Shiva. Lord Muruga received the spear (Sakthi vel) for Sura Samharam from goddess Parvathi here.
The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the God Krishna, located at Triplicane, Chennai. The name 'Parthasarathy', in Sanskrit, means the 'charioteer of Arjuna', referring to Krishna's role as a charioteer to Arjuna in the epic Mahabaratha. It was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century by king Narasimhavarman I. The temple has five of the incarnations or avatars of Vishnu viz. Narasimhar, Ramar, Varadarajar, Ranganathar and Krishna. The temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai. The gopuram (towers) and mandapas (pillars) are decorated with elaborate carvings, a standard feature of South Indian Temple Architecture. The scars in the face of Parthasarathy's festival idol (presumably made of aimpon, (an alloy of five metals)) in the temple is full of scars depicted to show the injuries caused by the arrows of Bhishma in the war. The utsavar (festival deity) also has only a stick depicting Krishna was born in a cowherd clan.
Anna Centenary Library
The Anna Centenary Library (ACL) is an established state library of the Government of Tamil Nadu. It is located at Kotturpuram, Chennai. Built at a cost of 172 crores ( 1,720 million), it is one of the largest libraries in Tamil Nadu. It is named after a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, C. N. Annadurai. Built on 8 acres of land, the 9-floor library houses a total area of 333,140 sq. ft and has a capacity to accommodate 1.2 million books. The library is designed to accommodate a total of 1,250 persons. An auditorium of 50,000 sq. ft. with a seating capacity of 1,280, and an amphitheatre on the terrace that can accommodate more than 800 persons and two conference halls with capacities of 151 and 30 persons respectively, are some of the facilities available. A dedicated children's section, spread over 15,000 sq. ft. has a fun-filled theme-based reading area with multimedia kits and storybooks. The library also boasts a high-tech section for the visually-impaired, with talking books and Braille displays. The entrance to the building showcases a 5 ft bronze statue of C.N. Annadurai. The library employs 200 staff, including 96 permanent and 40 contract employees, and has a collection of 550,000 books. It is visited by about 2700 persons every day.
San Thome Basilica
San Thome Basilica is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Santhome. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, over the tomb of St Thomas, an apostle of Jesus. In 1893, it was rebuilt as a church with the status of a cathedral by the British. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. San Thome Basilica is the principal church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras. The San Thome Basilica is a pilgrimage centre for Christians in India. The church also has an attached museum
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology (MCBT) is a reptile zoo and herpetology research station, located 40 kilometres south of the city of Chennai. The centre is both a registered trust and a recognized zoo under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is India's leading institution for herpeto faunal conservation, research and education. The bank is the first crocodile breeding centre in Asia and comes under the purview of the Central Zoo Authority, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India The CrocBank grounds are covered by coastal dune forest providing a haven for native wildlife, including large breeding colonies of water birds and a secure nesting beach for Olive Ridley sea turtles.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madras_Crocodile_Bank_Trust - cite_note-iucn_olive_ridley-7 The high aquifer on the sandy coast provides sufficient water supply and the proximity to the major tourist destination of Mahabalipuram ensures annual visitation. The centre is the biggest crocodile sanctuary in India. It covers 8.5 acres (3.4 ha) and had over 450,000 visitors in 2007. The centre has one of the world's largest collections of crocodiles and alligators and has bred 5,000 crocodiles and alligators representing 14 of the 23 existing species, including the three crocodile species, all considered endangered, that are native to India.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park (abbreviated AAZP), also known as the Vandalur Zoo, is a zoological garden located in Vandalur, a suburb in the southwestern part of Chennai, about 31 kilometres (19 mi) from the city centre and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Chennai Airport. Founded in 1855, the park was the first public zoo in India. It is affiliated with the Central Zoo Authority of India. Spread over an area of 602 hectares (1,490 acres), including a 92.45-hectare (228.4-acre) rescue and rehabilitation centre, the park is the largest zoological garden in India. The zoo houses 2,553 species of flora and fauna across 1,265 acres (512 ha). As of 2012 the park houses around 1,500 wild species, including 46 endangered species, in its 160 enclosures. As of 2010, there were about 47 species of mammals, 63 species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, 25 species of fishes, and 10 species of insects in the park. The park, with an objective to be a repository of the state's fauna, is credited with being the second wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu after Mudumalai National Park.
Elliot's Beach (popularly known as "Besant Nagar Beach" or "Bessie") is located in Besant Nagar, Chennai. It forms the end-point of the Marina Beach shore and is named after Edward Elliot, Governor of Madras. It is located towards the south of Marina Beach and is an extremely calm and tranquil place. As the beach does not offer much activity, it is ideal for long walks and also for the ones who want to soak their feet in the splashing sea water and lose themselves completely in the arms of the nature. It has the Velankanni Church and the Ashtalakshmi Kovil nearby. A prominent landmark on this beach is the Karl Schmidt Memorial. The memorial is named after the Dutch sailor who lost his life in the process of saving a drowning swimmer. Elliot's Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in the city of Chennai. The Ashtalakshmi Temple is around 20 years old and has modern style architecture. It is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and appears different from the rest of the Temples in South India. On the other hand, Velanganni Church is more of a pilgrim place for the Christians. The structure is smaller than the one at Velanganni.