Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, boasts of several historical attractions that range from centuries-old heritage sites to colonial monuments. The rich history and heritage of this city attract history buffs in large numbers every year. From the second-oldest museum in India to the first English fortress in the country, historical places in Chennai never fail to attract tourists, especially those interested in history. We have listed here some of the unmissable historical attractions you need to visit in Chennai during your trip to this south Indian city.
Fort St. George
Chennai has many British-era monuments, but the most notable of them all is probably Fort St. George, also called White Town. It was the first fortress built by the English in India, and thus assumes a high significance as far as the colonial past of the city is concerned. To this day, this historical building houses many important government offices, including the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu. History enthusiasts must check out the various historical artifacts housed at the Fort Museum. Another popular tourist attraction here is St. Mary’s Church, which is known to be the oldest Anglican Church in India. Planning your trip? Book your flights to Chennai from Los Angeles and other US cities for cheap at Indian Eagle.
Location: Rajaji Salai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600009
Timings: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Saturday to Thursday); closed on Fridays
Entry Fee: INR 15 for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners
Government Museum, also known as Madras Museum, is one of the most famous historical places in Chennai, located along the Pantheon Road in Egmore. Constructed in the year 1851 in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, Government Museum is the second-oldest museum in the country after Kolkata’s Indian Museum. It is home to priceless artifacts like bronze items, marble sculptures, and Indian and international paintings among others. Bronze items belonging to the 10th century can also be found here. There are wood carvings, ancient coins, and other objects related to natural history and archeology.
Location: Government Maternity Hospital, Pantheon Rd, Egmore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600008
Timings: 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Saturday to Thursday); closed on Fridays
Entry Fee: INR 10-15 for Indians (10/- for kids and 15/- for adults) and INR 250 for foreigners
San Thome Cathedral
Famous for its rich history dating back to the 16th century and its intricate architecture, San Thome Cathedral is among the most beautiful places to visit in Chennai. The Portuguese had originally built this cathedral on the grave of Saint Thomas, the apostle, and the present neo-gothic structure is the reconstruction of the British in the late 19th century. It is said to be one of the three churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle. Thus, this church in Chennai is a popular pilgrimage site for followers of the Catholic religion all over the world. Haven’t visited San Thome Cathedral yet? Book your international flights to Chennai and set out on a pilgrimage.
Location: 38, Santhome High Rd, Dummingkuppam, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004
Timings: 6 am to 9 pm; open on all days of the week
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Located at a distance of 100 from the East Coast Road, Alamparai Fort is among the must-visit historical places in Chennai. This 17th-century fort survived the ravages of the British invasion in the 18th century as well as the tsunami recently in the year 2004. However, the ruins of this fort attract history buffs to this place to date. You can explore the fort surroundings and enjoy gorgeous views of the Bay of Bengal from here.
Location: Edaikazhinadu, Tamil Nadu 603304
Timings: 6 am to 6.30 pm; open on all days of the week
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Another important historical landmark in Chennai, Valluvar Kottam is a stunning memorial built in the honor of Tamil poet and philosopher, Thiruvalluvar. He is the author of Tirukkuṟaḷ, a much-celebrated piece of work in Tamil literature. Situated at the meeting point of the Kodambakkam High Road and the Village Road in the Nungambakkam area of Chennai, this memorial is known for its beautiful architecture and its structure represents that of a temple chariot. If you are visiting around dusk, you can see the beautiful lightning highlighting the architecture of this monument. You can also buy souvenirs at handlooms and handicrafts exhibitions regularly held at the auditorium situates within the monument complex.
Location: 47, Valluvar Kottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034
Timings: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm; open on all days of the week
Entry Fee: INR 10 for adults and INR 5 for children
Apart from the above, you can visit other popular historical places in Chennai such as Adyar Theosophical Society, Victoria Public Hall, Vivekanand House, Connemara Public Library, Anna Memorial, and Sri Ramakrishna Math. Planning your trip? Book your flights to Chennai from San Francisco and other US cities for cheap at Indian Eagle.