Madras Special – 30 things to do in Madras
Backpacker and I have always been celebrating the Madras Day with gusto . In my 100th post, I wrote a detailed article on the Madras Day and the story behind it. I also featured some of my favourite monuments in the city and wrote in detail about Fort St George. However, this year, there is a slight twist to the tale.Adding to my voice are several voices who will share their stories on Madras as the month rolls by.
I will however kick start this special by a list of 30 things that I like/would like to do in Madras. I had to jog my memory a bit and with some help from folks, here is my list . Please add your wishlist as well. And if you do find people passionate about Madras ask them to tell you their stories. You dont need any scholar out here – just ask your parents , uncles or grandparents to talk and as you listen to them , a new city opens out in front of you .
1. Watch the fishermen play a tug of war as they pull their haul to the shore at the Marina Beach .
2. Put some kadalai. In the evening, head to Elliots and have the thengai, mangai pattani sundal . Shoot some balloons and polish some bajjis.
3. Drive on the beach road early in the morning – start from Royapuram or Ennore and drive all the way up to Besant Nagar or ECR if you like .
4.Shop in the markets or whatever is left today of them instead of your malls and supermarkets at least for a day. Walk around Ranganathan Street in T Nagar or pick up knick knacks in Purasaiwalkam or in Luz market or any local market in your area.
5.If there is one area I would like to explore , it will have to be Triplicane . Walk around the old book stores, get lost in the narrow roads, visit temples, eat in Ratna Cafe, look at the architecture around, gaze at some of the domes , see the remains of the old Nawabi culture around Wallajah and the agraharams in the area.
6.Go to an old temple in the neighbourhood and listen to the ” harikatha” stories . If you have the opportunity, do catch villupaatu if possible.
7.Know anyone in the harbour ? Catch hold of them and visit the Outer arm , where the last mile of the land protrudes into the sea. If that is not possible, ask someone to take you to the place where the Royal Yacht Club was first located. It has been taken over by the Indian Sailing Association .Learn sailing from them and also ask them to show you the wall, which is still a testimony to the bombardment of Madras during the wars. The city was bombed by Emden the German cruiser during World War 1
8. Climb up St Thomas Mount . Drive up if you can
9.Lose yourself in the campus of IIT Madras. You may even find some black bucks if you are lucky.
10. Listen to a kucheri or a classical music concert in the neighbourhood parks
11. A stopover at Kalakshetra if you can for any dance performance
12. Go to Santhome’s Church and visit the basement and the little chapel
13. Walk in Theosophical Society in Adyar over the weekend . You may need permission otherwise
14. Go for a tree walk. There are organisations in the neighbourhood that arranges for them
15. Visit any three temples in the city – mine would be Gangadeshwar temple, Kapaleshwar temple and Parthasarthy temple
16. Eat . Must visit Karpagam mess , Grand sweets and I would have said Woodlands Drive in – Pity, it is not there anymore
17.Walk around the small lanes of Parry’s corner. Look around Burma Bazaar, the Mint street and many other small streets in that area
18.Must go to Armenian Church , the only church left here that tells you something about the Armenian community that lived here centuries ago
19. Spend a day at Fort Museum in Fort St George. Walk over to St Mary’s Church, the oldest church from the British days and ask them to show you the register when Robert Clive got married
20. Take a ride on MRTS or the Hop on Hop off Bus if you havent so far
21.Watch a Rajinikanth or a Dhanush movie in a regular theatre and whistle away .
22.See if you can manage a pass to any of the studios in Kodambakkam or Vadapalani – catch a film shooting ; believe me, its great fun
23. Visit one of the oldest lighthouses in Madras High Court premises .You may not be allowed to photograph though
24.Chepauk – not just for cricket , but see the palace built in Indo Sarcenic style. Do visit the University while you are still in the area.
25. Visit Connemara Library in the Museum premise and read or at least pretend to read. While you are at the museum, try and watch a play and visit the Bronze Gallery . These are must dos.
26.Must visit Broken Bridge for sunset. Catch up on some birding, if you like in the area .
27.Road side sandwiches in front of Alsa Mall. Now, this is something that i havent missed out from my school days
28.Icecream parlours – would have loved to say Jafars and Dasaprakash, but in their absence will settle for Snowfield.
29.Guindy Park and Snake Park – Back to my childhood, but I can lose myself here. If you have the time, plan a visit to Crocodile Park
30.Want to experience a bit of the saree mania ? Go to Panagal Park and bug the shopkeepers to show you every saree of your fancy at Nallis, Kumarans, RMKV ,Chennai silks, Sundari…Window shop till they drop.
31.There is so much to contemporary Madras too -coffee shops to lounge bars, exclusive boutiques to premium malls, Mediterranean to Mexican fare, fusion concerts to international film festivals, art shows to contemporary dance – you will never run out of choices here
Awwwwwwwwww…… you won the race… I had reserved a post on chennai for the mid august time to coincide with madras day celebrations! My birht town chennaikku whistle podu!!
Hey, there is no race here ..Im doing a madras special this entire month and I am happy to have guest posts, so pls share ,comment, add your wishlist 🙂
Awesome list…. I would also add a visit to
Valluvar kottam to learn the beauty of tamil literature
Trying to get through the crowded Ranganathan Street during Diwali 🙂
Enjoying a good puliyodarai at a temple
Spending a day at Vandaloor zoo
visit one of the sabhas during the december kutchery season and sample some of the local treats during the season 😀
1)Visit the integral coach factory in Perambur where the coaches get built.
2)Thiruvottiyur temples (many )and the siddhas Pattinathar samadhi to reflect on life
3) Pulicat dam (yes Madras has a dam)
5) royal enfield factory
6) Redhills lake the reservoir for the city
7) vandalur zoo
Catch a play by Madras Players or any of the newer groups- Masquerade, Evam….
Srivati and the other lil shops in Mylapore for your prayer and ayurveda needs
Mylapore during the ther and arupathumoovar
Fast food at the kaiyendi bhavans
Recent addition – the Anna centenary library with its collection for kids
Dakshinchitra for its shows and workshops
Do your bit to save the turtles with the Turtle watch groups
Fabulous list Lakshmi..
Nice one LS,
1) Pallavanil foot board adikkanum – bus heavily crowded and tilting with lot of colors on the side 🙂
2) watch league soccer in old Nehru stadium with monthly pass ( before they built the current one – its was 2 re ticket) with one bunch of supporters from chennai central coolies and other from Port trust workers,
3) Practise your aim by throwing stones at some bunglow’s mango tree
4) Play muthugu puncture with cousins and mates in RBI quarters till sun down and then play iceboys in the dark !!
5) Watch ( a bit scared) Masanakkollai @ the local cemetry
6) Pay respects to our fallen @ war memorial
7) Play cricket @ butt ground on a sunday morning
8) Hot samosas n lassi @ Bombay Lassi stall @ devi theatre back entrance
9) down 5 glasses of Sugarcane juice, big pappad and the purple candy @ pongal trade fair
10) Be chased by the watchmen of Stella Maris / QMC / Ethiraj for…
where is my JIL JIL JIGAR THANDA from Murugans?? wowowieee! nice post lakshmi 🙂
where is my JIL JIL JIGAR THANDA from murugans?? wowwieeee!! nice one LS 🙂
@Aarti – yes, Valluvar Kottam is a wonderful place..funny how I missed that
@KSK – loved all of it..but most of them are outside Madras..btw, your link goes to yahoo
@Bhuvana – brilliant list..every one of them is a gem
@Niranjan – thanks..
@Vijay – Pallavan haha..i still remember throwing stones at the tamarind tree in school..some nostalgia,I see
@Rahul – Yes, yes..must have it next time i am there..thanks
I dont know much about Madras but I love sea and life as fisherman is always closed to my heart… hope will be there some times….
Hey, this a cool idea. let me try this too for madras day celebrations.
Hey, this a cool idea. let me try this too for madras day celebrations.
For me, it has not been so much about the places in Chennai than it has been about feelings. So my two favourite moments in the city –
* A hot summer hot day in Chennai has jus’ gone by. It’s twilight. The breeze caressing you by at the Marina is awesome. But bliss is when you can actually see the full moon rising behind the waves – big, bright, breath-taking!
** Travelling by a crowded bus and eavesdropping conversations – trust me, time well-spent! And of course, travelling without tendering exact change to the bus conductor! IMHO, to really know the people of Chennai, to study the language of sweat, weariness, frustration, worry-lines, happiness, satisfaction, love, smile, there is no better place than the local non-ac/non-deluxe buses! Not getting a seat to sit and having to smell the others’ armpits are, well, things that I am willing to endure, any time! 🙂
From the list provided I could identify only two things I need to do. Visiting the Armenian Church and perusing the register at the St. Mary’s Church. Visiting Koyambedu Bus terminus, apart from its beauty, could be a fun. A big thank you.
http://www.51thingstodoinchennai.blogspot.com. Just Chennai. Community driven content. For Madras Day 2011
There is always something exciting about South India !!
Love this article – heaps !!! No 21 deserves an e-whistle, right away. No 26 is making me all starry eyed. No 27 – Egmore, right ? Will keep, in mind. No 30 – every Indian woman’s dream. Thanks for the wonderful article. FYI, I am a NRI who seriously believes that my soul ACTUALLY resides in Chennai. :-))
p/s – need your permission to link this on my website. Cheers !!
Sure Shalinee ..thanks for the inputs
Chennai is the best city for all the peoples migrating from other city or state. Vadapalani is center of the city, here you can get anything what you need instantly. To know more about this area visit to http://vadapalani.bestinchennai.com/Travels/
lovely post!!!! and reading the comments have been interesting too… but you missed my fav place.. for me, a visit to madras has never been complete without a visit to higginbothams!!
I have been to chennai quite a few times, h ave visited a few places from this list but this post makes me think of visiting chennai once again.
lovely chennai, i have visted chennai many times but this post makes me rethink
Wonderful aout chennai in a nutshell hanu reddy residences service apartment in a very exquisite location one should pay a visit here
I would prefer to cover eatable part of Chennai
1) As Vijay stated Hot Samosas @ Bombay Lassi. If you want to taste the authentic samosa, this is where you can get it.
2) Boli @ Venkataramana Boli Stall near Ayodhya Mandapam.
3) Hot Jalebi’s @ Dhaba express during the afternoon buffet, which cost less than 120, when i last ate there
4) Passion Pineapple/Mango Mania ice cream from Saravana bhavan. Not many people would have tried it.
5) Idlies with all type of chutneys and sambar @ Murugan idly shop
6) filter coffee again at Saravana Bhavan
Thanks for this list. There are a few items I am yet to do — like eating the sandwiches in alsa mall and idly/sambar in rathna cafe.
The name of one organization that conducts tree walks is: Nizhal. Visit nizhaltn.org for walk schedules.
Also, they allow us to photograph the old light house in high court, if we go for the high court heritage walk conducted by INTACH. I think it’s on second sundays. Here’s the photo:
Awesome list Lakshmi!
Fort Museum and Dakshinchitra for a peek into our heritage
Friday Sandhai at Pallavaram
Fried fish at Besant Nagar Beach
Arubathumoovar Festival, Mylapore
Thanks for to do list as i have relocated to chennai was thinking from to start exploring 🙂
Thats nice 🙂 enjoy the city