Chennai is one of India’s main arts centers. Packed with theater groups, Indian dance troupes, music festivals and movie studios, it’s also a top Indian destination for tourists who enjoy the arts. But, Chennai has much more to offer than just the arts, as these top Chennai tourist attractions will show.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust – One of the largest reptile zoos in the world, The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is actually about a 30-minute drive outside Chennai, but well worth the trip.
The Crocodile Bank’s main purpose is conservation and research, and to fund this they opened up a reptile zoo a few years ago. Now,spread out over almost nine acres, the zoo has many species of crocodile, water turtles, and pythons, and many more reptile species. But it’s not just walking around and staring at crocodiles at The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust. Instead, you get up close and personal with crocodiles in their natural environment, see them being fed in a fun feeding show, and also see how smart crocodiles really are in the handling show. Don’t miss the Night Safari too, where you’re given a torch and taken on a walk around the zoo to see the crocodiles at night, when they really wake up.
Cholamandal Artists’ Village – Just a few minutes drive south of Chennai you’ll find Cholamandal Artist’s Village. It’s India’s largest self-supporting artists’ village and home to painters and sculptors, who produce some of the most interesting contemporary artwork in India.
At Cholomandal, you’ll see artists at work, walk around two large commercial galleries, watch dance recitals and poetry readings. Don’t miss shopping at the craft shop where every penny you spend goes directly back to the artist, and you must eat lunch at the village’s cafeteria, as it serves the best food in India.
Fort St. George – Built by the famous British East India Company in the mid 1600s, it was the first British fort ever built in India and is a wonderful place to learn about Chennai’s long history. Once the center of merchant activity in what was then the city of Madras, Fort St. George is now a museum that includes the St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican church in the country, on its grounds and Wellesley House, which has all the portraits of the city’s past governors. Don’t miss the museum, with its statue of Lord Cornwallis and relics of the British Empire’s 300 years of colonization of India.
Guindy National Park – Weirdly, unlike most of the world’s other national parks, the Guindy National Park is located slap bang in the middle of a city.Once the private gaming reserve of a British man, it was eventually bought by the Government of Madras and turned into a national park. At Guindy, you’ll see elephants, jungle cats, antelope, woodpeckers, partridges, bluejays and about a hundred other species of animal and bird.
Guindy is fun for the kids took, as there’s a snake house and a children’s park, and it’s a superb place for a picnic.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
Cholamandal Artists’ Village
Fort St. George
Guindy National Park