With 2 days in Chennai you’ve more than enough time to discover what the city is all about. A hassle-free destination rated the safest in India, the capital of Tamil Nadu state manages to balance tradition with modernity. The traditional gateway to southern India, Chennai (formerly Madras) lies on India’s Coromandel Coast. There are also many hotels in Chennai.
Away from Marina Beach, highlights include the seventh century temple complex at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beyond the visual, Chennai is home to some of the hottest curries in the country. It is making a name for itself when it comes to all things culinary, be that restaurants or cookery lessons. So why not check out our recommendations for a 2 days in Chennai itinerary?
Day One in Chennai
There’s no better way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city than to grab a pair of solid shoes and hit the streets. It’s also the best way to understand Chennai, a city that holds it cards close to its chest. Join the throb on the streets and you’ll soon discover what makes Chennai so attractive a destination.
To help explain some of the sights you’ll pass, join an organized tour. Among other sights, they guide you around the monuments constructed during the British Raj when Chennai was still known as Madras. Explore Fort Saint George, the oldest British fortress in India, and the Gothic revival railway station among other curiosities.
If you’ve built up an appetite, now is the perfect time to sample some of south India’s excellent cooking. You could even go one better and try your hand at preparing a traditional dish for yourself on this Chennai food tour. In the hands of an expert chef you’re sure to rustle up something tasty, from sambar to sweets. In the meantime, you’ll learn the secrets to authentic tasting dishes so you can impress your friends back home.
Unmissable thanks to its towering lighthouse, the six kilometers of Marina Beach is a pleasure at any time of day. But as night descends, this long ribbon of sand on the Bay of Bengal becomes the center of attention. Drift along with the friendly crowd, sampling what the snack stands have to offer. Then stop at some of the statues dotting the esplanade to mark the end of a first great day in Chennai.
Day Two in Chennai
The partially-ruined temples of Mahabalipuram have lost none of their wonder as you’ll discover when you tour this site. An easy day trip from Chennai, the site dates back to the Pallava kingdom. Taking its name from one of its kings, Mahabalipuram became an important location for royal monuments. Many are cut from the living rock and richly decorated with carvings of elephants and people. Some of the finest work is on the Shore Temple. Mentioned by Marco Polo, it is one of the oldest freestanding structures in Mahabalipuram.
Alternatively, if the region’s natural history is more of an attraction, consider touring Guindy National Park. Inside the city limits, the park protects one of the last areas of native tropical woodland in Tamil Nadu. It is home to 14 mammal species, including rare blackbuck, jackals, and pangolin. Guaranteed sightings of some of India’s most poisonous snakes can be had at Chennai Snake Park. Elsewhere, Arignar Anna Zoological Gardens are a Noah’s Ark of Tamil Nadu’s wildlife, including the majestic Bengal Tiger.
End your 2 days in Chennai by enjoying the exquisite artistry that goes into the region’s folk dances. An integral part of Tamil Nadu’s culture and heritage, many of the dances performed today originate from the ancient Therukoothu drama. The dancers of the Mayil Attam, for instance, honor the god Murugan by appearing as peacocks, complete with feathered tail.
2 Days Seeing Chennai
Chennai is a beautiful blend between this historic and modern. Home to diverse wildlife and UNESCO monuments, 2 days in Chennai can be a jam-packed adventure. Don’t miss the chance to explore this amazing city on your next journey!