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Rustle of silk, whiff of jasmine, crowded market streets, big malls, and even bigger cutouts of politicians and film stars.Chennai is the fourth largest metropolis in India.It is also called land od Dravidians.The city have rustle of silk, whiff of jasmine, crowded market streets, big malls, and even bigger cutouts of politicians and film stars . Friendly people, steaming idlis and dosas, honking and music blaring auto rickshaws, busy walkways, East Coast Road, beach house parties, the infamous smell of the Coom river known as Madras, Chennai captivates everyone who comes her way.

How to Reach
Chennai has an international airport at Meenambakkam with flight connections to the US, UK, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Middle Eastern states. Domestic airlines connect Chennai with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Bangalore and Cochin.

Chennai?s three stations?Central, Egmore and Tambaram?connect the city to all metros and to leading towns and cities in southern India. There are daily trains to Bangalore, Tirupati, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, and Cochin.

Chennai is a gateway to south India and is well connected to the rest of the country by road. There are regular buses to Bangalore (331kms), Madurai (445kms), Tirupati (152kms).

There is a sea line to the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Cruise liners too operate out of here. The harbour is in George Town, north of the Fort. Contact the Chennai Port Trust (Ph.25362501; Rajaji Salai) for more information.

How to Get Around
Autorickshaws are the favoured mode of transport. Make sure that the meter works. The Chennai drivers are known to fleece commuters. So opt for a prepaid, if not, haggle shamelessly. The roads from Mount road to Nandanam has been made four lanes, but lane traffic rules are not strictly followed. But be warned, a traffic cop might just stop and fine you for flouting the rules! Have a look out for some unique ?mini flyovers? dotted around the city. Some of these have colourful tile work! You could even try the suburban electric trains that run from Beach Station to Tambaram and from Chennai Central Station to Gummidipoondi and Arakkonam.

Two new options are call taxis and share autos. Call taxies as the name implies are on call! It is advisable to stay clear of the share autos, because, they try to pack more people going in one direction and are usually jam packed. Here are a few call-taxi (both AC &Non-AC) numbers that you may find useful.

Religious Places
Kapaleeshwar Temple
This ancient Shiva Temple in Mylapore is a classic Dravidian temple complete with gopurams and a tank. The 8th century Pallavan architecture and inscriptions dating back to 13th century found on its walls are noteworthy. The streets and shops around the temple sell everything, from flowers and vegetables to silver and gold.

Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Devoted to Lord Krishna, this temple found in Triplicane, is another original Pallavan piece of the 8th century. It was renovated by the Vijayanagara rayas in the 16th century.

Pazhaniandavar Temple
This temple at Vadapalani is dedicated to Lord Subramanya, who is believed to reside in the Pazhani Hills and hence, is worshipped as Pazhani Andavar (Lord of Pazhani). A picture of Lord Subrahmanya was brought here 125 years ago from Palani (a variant of ?Pazhani?) and is considered very auspicious. Thus the place where the temple is located, in the north of the city, acquired the name, ?Vadapalani?. Ashtalakshmi temple
Situated in Besant Nagar, this temple is a must-see in Chennai for the beautiful view of the Bay of Bengal that it affords. The larger-than-life vigrahams (idols) of Mahalakshmi and Mahavishnu, the presiding deity here, are a treat for the eye. The temple is of more recent origin than the others mentioned before, being built on the request of Sri Mahaa Periyavaal of Kanchi Mutt.

Santhome Cathedral Church
Near Kapaleeshwar Temple, this neo-Gothic Catholic Church is said to house the remains of St. Thomas, the Apostle.

St. Thomas Mount
St. Thomas is believed to have lived here around AD 58. Perched on a hillock, close to the airport, the Church on the Mount houses the paintings of "The Holy Lady, The Child? and "Our Lady of Expectations". The apostle was chased and he had to take refuge in a cave on a hill during his last days. The entrance to that cave is now through a Portuguese church built in 1551. You can reach the top of the mount by road or the steps. For the young and romantic at heart the top of this hill is beautiful place to sit and watch the planes take off and land as the hill overlooks the Chennai airport.

St. Mary?s Church
The first English Church in Chennai, it is also the oldest surviving British Church in Asia. It was built between 1678-80. Walk down the pews and you feel like you are walking down the alleys of history. The names of visiting English dignities are etched into the pillars. You may be surprised to know that Robert Clive was married here. The Visitors Book, dating from 1903-1947, has interesting references too which you may check out. The church is also called the Saint Andrews Church. Tuesdays are special here due to the special services to the patron saint, St Andrew. If you do not want to get caught in the crowds, it?s advisable to avoid Tuesday for a visit to this church.

The Big mosque in Triplicane, built by the Wallajah family in 1795, is a massive and magnificent structure in grey granite, without any steel or wood used in its construction!

Thousand Light's Mosque
An important landmark in Chennai?s busy Mount Road., this mosque was built around 1880 on the land donated by the Nawab of Wallajah. It also houses a library, a burial ground and guesthouses and has a separate worship place for women. Legend has it that over one thousand lamps had to be used to light up the Assembly Hall, which stood here, from which, the mosque naturally got its name.

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