What's interesting & fun to do in or near Chennai
February 22, 2007 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Off to Chennai on biz, should I stay on holiday?

I found out this morning I've got to hop to Chennai for a week on biz. I'll be on my way as early as next Wednesday. I've got to burn 10.5 days holiday from 2006 before the end of March, and have booked tix to head to Capetown for a week leaving me with 5.5 days not yet spoken for. I've already spent time in Bombay, so I'm not interested in traveling about much on holiday as my job has me on a plane going somewhere pretty much every other week.

So what's to do in or near Chennai?
posted by Mutant to Travel & Transportation around Chennai, India (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get ready for the heat. But, if you can tolerate that, you got some nice beach. Other than that, it seems Frommer's is not too too excited about Chennai.

Still, you are in South India -- home to some of the most amazing temples (of any religion) in the world. Madurai will show that to you and it's a short trip from Chennai.

Or, if you really want to see a pilgrimmage capital go to Tirupati.

Perhaps some locals can inform of more. I mostly go and remain with the family. Seems like you got a cool job that let's you see the world!
posted by skepticallypleased at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2007

Best answer: I find big Indian cities kind of wearing after a few days, so you might like to get out of Chennai for those days and go to one of the pleasant towns nearby. Mamallapuram (formerly Mahabalipuram), an hour or two's drive away, has some amazing ancient temples, some carved into huge rocks. Well worth seeing. Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry), about 4 hours south, is a very pleasant town that still retains a lot of its French influence (it was a French colony prior to independence). Auroville, outside Puducherry, is an intentional community of ~1500 people with some amazing architecture and about 50% European population. It's very quiet and wooded, and they prefer guests to stay a few days at least rather than just day-tripping (but that's doable). After the noise and grime of an Indian city, it's like a breath of fresh air.

I personally would spend most of those days in Auroville and rent a motorcycle to go check out Pondi - but then I spent 6 months there several year back!
posted by Emanuel at 2:26 PM on February 22, 2007

My friend seconds the advice to go to Mamallapuram.

She also says to check out Kanchipuram.
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 4:23 PM on February 22, 2007

Best answer: I third Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram. Ten years ago it used to be a really chilled out place: may well have changed though.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:16 AM on February 23, 2007

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