24 Hours in the Land of Filter Coffee: Chennai!

Marina Beach - best places to hangout in Chennai

It was Saturday afternoon and all that I could think of was some interesting ways to spend my weekend. So, my day went browsing for some tourist places near Madurai, the city in which I work. I left from the office a bit early and packed for a daylong trip to Chennai. By the time twilight set in, I boarded a rickety bus to Chennai. After about 8 hours, I woke up in the city and the pleasant scent of jasmine greeted me.

I kick-started my day with an energizing doze of hot filter coffee and a plate of crunchy Murukku Sandwich while searching the web for the best places to hangout in Chennai. After this appetizing breakfast, I made a move to Fort St. George. A significant part of India’s renaissance with colonialism, this 17th century monument was built by the British to bolster trade. What particularly stands out about this building is that it was the first fortress in India founded by the British. This impressive structure is home to St. Mary’s Church (an ancient Anglican Church), a museum (housing antics and artifacts from British era) and Wellesley House (paintings of the Fort’s Governor). After this quick crash course of India’s past, I stopped by at a nearby restaurant for a refreshing glass of Jigarthanda. This dessert cum beverage (made out of churned ice-cream and condensed milk with tree gum) was a savior in Chennai’s scorching heat!

I then decided to visit the famed Kapaleeswarar Temple. This beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said to have been commissioned in 8th century by the Pallavas and revamped in 16th century by the rulers of Vijayanagara Empire. Flaunting the Dravidian architecture, this is reckoned as one of the top places to visit in Chennai. It has bronze idols of 63 Nayanmars (Saivite Saints). After this spiritual retreat, I headed for a power packed meal consisting of Nethili Fry (spicy fish) and Biryani. The delectable Mysore Paak, which simply melted in my mouth, brought a sweet end to my meal.

During the evening, I headed to Marina Beach, the world’s 2nd longest beach. One of the best places to hangout in Chennai, this beach was flocked by a sea of visitors. After watching the reflection of the different hues of the setting sun in the water, I walked on the golden sands. After these tranquil moments, I headed to Kamarajar Salai, the promenade enveloping the beach. Indo-Sarcenic buildings, statues of famous personalities (like Mahatma Gandhi, C N Annadurai and M G Ramachandran), an artificial waterfall – there was so much to see! The day’s exhaustion had finally begun to take a toll on me. So, after a quick meal consisting of au gratin and martinis, I headed to Lemon Tree Hotel, Shimona, Chennai for some rest. This business hotel had well-appointed rooms with modern amenities and comforts. I got up early the next morning and had a delectable breakfast in the hotel’s vibrant café before checking out and boarding an early morning bus the next day.

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