The fourth largest city in India and capital of Tamil Nadu State, Chennai has a history spanning 2000 years. During this time, Chennai has played host to missionaries, seafarers, spice traders and cloth merchants. The 16th century saw the arrival of the Portuguese, then the Dutch. In 1639, the British East India Company established a settlement in Madraspatnam. Filled with sprawling masses of colourful houses and peppered with historical buildings, bazaars and temples, Chennai is a fascinating city, rich with cultural heritage.Read More
Fort St George was built over a period of 15 years, and was completed in 1653. An area known as George Town mushroomed in the area of Fort St George. After some monumental struggles with the French, the British eventually gained a stranglehold. In the 19th century, the city became the seat of the Madras presidency, one of the four divisions of British Imperial India. Fort St George houses the fascinating Fort Museum, which displays a host of memorabilia from both the British and French East India Companies, coupled with the Raj and Muslim administrations.
Also at the fort is St Mary’s church. Built between 1678-80, it was the first English church in Madras, and is also the oldest surviving church in India. George Town, the former British trading centre remains the focal area for commerce and harbours a fascinating medley of architecture including 18th and 19th century churches, Hindu and Jain temples, mosques and Raj mansions. Finally, the Kapaleeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture.
Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Chennai. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Chennai on a bespoke touring itinerary to India, take a look at our tailor-made holiday planning section.