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Chennai (Madras) tours and excursions

Chennai (Madras) tours

Bus tours

Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) offers a wide range of tours, including a five-hour Chennai sightseeing tour visiting Fort St George, the Government Museum, Valluvarkottam and Kapaleeswarar Temple. TTDC also runs day trips to Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram.

Tel: +91 44 2533 3444.
Website: http://www.ttdconline.com

Foodie tours

A tour around the spices and ingredients of South India, Chennai Magic takes foodies to a local's home where they can learn to make a fried starter with chutney, a main meal consisting of parota (bread), korma (a chicken or vegetable curry dish), a rice dish and accompaniments, plus a dessert. Walking and car tours are also available.

Tel: +91 98677 07414.
Website: http://www.chennaimagic.com

Chennai (Madras) excursions

Kanchipuram

About 80km (50 miles) southwest of Chennai, Kanchipuram is one of Hinduism's seven most sacred cities, and it has been a pilgrimage destination for centuries. Its historic temples cover a staggering range of South Indian architectural styles, built over more than 2000 years. The Ekambaresvara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is famed for its exquisitely carved Thousand Pillar Hall (although it has fewer than 1,000 pillars today). Kanchipuram is also famous for its weavers.

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram)

50km (31miles) south of Chennai, Mamallapuram is world renowned for its carved granite temples, created by the Pallava kings in the 7th century. Spread out along the beach is the Shore Temple, a masterpiece of ancient stone architecture, and Arjuna's Penance, one of the largest bas-reliefs in the world. The temples are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the town is still a famous centre for stone carving – artisans can still heard chipping away all over the city.

Featured Hotels

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The Park Chennai

Converted from the old Gemini Film Studios, this 5-star deluxe property offers sleek modern design with a spattering of movie magic. Original film posters fill the stylish lobby and the movie theme extends to the rooms and hallways. Rooms are modern and stylish, with wood flooring, frosted glass and sumptuous fabrics. There is also a rooftop pool and stress-banishing spa, plus several bars and restaurants.

ITC Grand Chola Hotel

Vast and opulent, the Grand Chola lives up to its ostentatious name, with 522 rooms and 78 luxurious serviced apartments in a veritable palace with lush grounds in the heart of Chennai. The décor evokes the wealth and luxury of the Chola Dynasty, the greatest maritime power to rise in South Asia, with carved columns, curving stairways, granite statuary and vast open spaces.

Vivanta by Taj Connemara

There are several lavish Taj properties in Chennai, but Vivanta by Taj Connemara is the closest the city has to a proper heritage hotel. Set in an art deco mansion, the hotel was founded in 1854 but remodelled extensively during the colonial period. Rooms are calm and sophisticated, the dining options are top notch and there's a gorgeous palm-shaded pool.

The Residency Towers Chennai

Offering top value for excellent facilities, the Residency Towers has stylishly furnished rooms and suites in a handy location between Thyagaraya Nagar and Teynampet. It's a smart modern property, with a swimming pool, a small gym and good eating and drinking options on site, including South Indian restaurant Southern Aromas, and the popular Bike & Barrel bar.

E Hotel

Located in the Express Avenue mall, this boutique property has excellent shopping right on the doorstep, and a crisp, modern style that marks it out from the competition. The 44 rooms are equipped with flatscreen TVs, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar and plush bathrooms, with some pretty textiles to add a splash of colour.

Hyatt Regency Chennai

Offering the usual Hyatt Regency package in a convenient location close to the attractions of Mylapore, this hotel provides the comfort of familiarity in this often hectic city. There are 327 comfortable rooms with excellent facilities, plus three restaurants, a spa and fitness centre and a tempting pool to cool down from the heat.