Have you experienced the luxury of an unexpected, unplanned day fall in your lap? Perhaps you were in transit to another city or the business meeting you flew in for, got cancelled due to unexpected circumstances. You may have been gleefully rubbing your palms ready to make most of the trip!
If you were to have such a day in Chennai, then here are some of the things you can do, to enjoy the flavors of the city. Savor all of them or pick and choose what you want to suit the time you have on your hand.
9am: A great way to start your day is by enjoying a piping hot South Indian breakfast at popular chains like Saravana Bhavan and Sangeetha’s. Soft Idli’s melting in your mouth, crisp dosai and vadais washed down with a steaming cup of South Indian coffee is undeniably one of the best culinary experiences Chennai has to offer. (If you wish to follow breakfast with shopping for silk then head to T Nagar area for both)
10am: Chennai is famous for beautiful Kanchipuram silk. Shops in T Nagar area open for trade by 9am. The most popular ones are Nalli’s, Kumaran and Sundari Silks. They sell traditional South Indian silk saris, silk fabric, scarves and even silk ties for men!
12.30pm: Drive down India’s longest and the world’s second longest beach,the Marina beach. Lined with beautiful historical buildings on one side and the blue sea on the other, the marina beach is the heart of Chennai. On one end of the stretch of beach lies the Fort St George, the first British fortress in India, now housing official buildings.
1-2pm – Stop for a traditional South Indian thali Lunch at the New Woodlands hotel, located in fairly close proximity to the Marina.
2-3.30pm – Chennai is a very warm city, hence the afternoon sun coupled with the humidity calls for retreating to the confines of your cool room, to rest and relax.
4-7pm – A great way to draw in the essence of the South in a short span of time is to join the walks conducted by the Chennai based company Storytrails India. While they have a great list of walks to choose from, I suggest the Peacock trail. This enjoyable walk is through the by-lanes of Mylapore, a bustling neighborhood in the heart of Chennai that pre-dates the city by at least 2000 years. South India has beautiful temples and the walk includes a visit to Mylapore’s famous Kapaleeshwarar temple and San Thome Basilica. If you don’t wish to join the walk then you can explore Mylapore on your own.
The streets around the temple are lined with a colourful array of shops selling items ranging from artifacts to the famous temple jewellery of the South. The fragrance of jasmine flowers, vibrancy, colour and the strong aroma of coffee wafting through the lanes are quintessentially South Indian.
8- 9pm – Finish your day with dining at Chennai’s popular restaurants serving Chettinad cuisine from the Chettinad region of South India. Spicy, intensely aromatic and delicious this cuisine will have you licking your fingers. After this the only place you will be able to think of will be – your bed!