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Cruise Port Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the country's fourth largest city. It is on the east coast and is the capital of the southern state of Tamilnadu. Chennai Port is the second largest port of India, behind the Nhava Sheva Port, and the largest port in the Bay of Bengal.
Chennai was ranked 41st in global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010,This is up from 650,000 tourists in 2007, when Chennai was the third most visited city in India by foreigners ranked after Delhi and Mumbai. Tourists from USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore had visited the city in 2007.
Chennai (Madras) combines the old India with the new. Here you’ll find magnificent Hindu temples and stone monoliths built by ancient Tamil kings, and see the mark left on the region by British rule and the East India Company during the height of the empire. For all its wealth of ancient monuments and palatial imperial halls, Chennai is also a bustling modern city – home to countless brightly-coloured tuk tuk taxis and the clean lines of contemporary architecture.

Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at Ambedkar Dock in the Port of Chennai. Shuttles are usually provided to the port gate on the southern end of the port.

There is a suburban train network, the MRTS, with Chennai Beach station the closest to the port if you want to go downtown or towards the beach. Short trips start at 3 Rs. A new metro system is under construction with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2015. Taxis are inexpensive but fares need to be negotiated with the drivers.  

Sightseeing in Chennai (Madras)
Chennai’s main attractions lie in its ancient history, with no small number of monuments and temples to be found in and around the modern city centre. With so many attractions to see, guided shore excursions in Chennai could well be the most convenient way to see all the best that the city and the surrounding area has to offer.

The Pallavas dynasty had the awe-inspiring statues and reliefs of Mahabalipuram built to the glory of the goddess Siva in the seventh and eighth centuries – and the intricately carved monuments still stand in remarkable condition today. Shore excursions may be available during your cruise to see the area’s ratha chariot temples and pillared mandapa shrines, among many other stone monoliths in this coastal area. Be sure to walk around the site of the peaked Shore Temple too, an ancient construction of age-worn stone carvings, overlooking the sea.

This quiet reconstructed period village makes a perfect retreat from the busy city centre, and lies an hour’s drive from the port. Here you’ll have the chance to meet with local traditional artists and craftspeople – and tour the area’s cultural centre to see the broad range of architecture, crafts and art pieces on show. You’ll even be able to enjoy a traditional meal during your time in the village, and take a seat for a show by performing artists and folk dancers.

Chennai city and Parthasarathy Temple
A tour of this modern city is best taken by tuk-tuk, and you may well begin your guided tour of the city by taking a ride along the Marina Beach. Later, you’ll have the chance to see the ornate Krishna temple of Parthasarathy standing in the heart of the modern city – which remains in beautiful condition, given that it’s just as ancient as the monuments and temples of Mahabalipuram.

Fort St George - A small trading post which is still active as a military base.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple - The most famous temple in Chennai

Guindy Snake Park - in the same named National Park. Has a large collection of snakes.
Semmozhi Poonga
Semmozhi Poonga offers a great escapade from the scorching sun and it is a visual delight for your eyes tired seeing manmade buildings. The park was opened towards the end of 2010. Located at city’s center, the 20-acre park offers to view scenic landscapes and lush gardens. The well-maintained gardens have over 500 varieties of trees and plants from all parts of the world. This is apart from the trees that already exist in the area before the establishment of the park. Some of the trees are over 100 years old. The species of plants include medicinal plants and aromatic herbs. The artificial waterfall in the park looks real. Children will love the park, as there are many play structures to keep them entertained. Elders can go for a walk and several seating arrangements are provided to stretch. Semmozhi Poonga seems so far to have made genuine efforts to keep the place clean and green unlike some other places in Chennai, which do not enjoy the attention they need to be given.
The Huddleston Gardens Of Theosophical Society
The aim behind the establishment of Theosophical society is to create universal brotherhood where there is no distinction among human beings. The essence of the society is to blend the best of teachings of all religions to elevate the quality of humanity and its power. The world headquarters of Theosophical society is in Chennai. Located in Adyar, a part of Chennai, it commands respect from people belonging to all faiths. The society was established here in the year 1883. The 260-acre Huddleston Gardens is a birdwatchers’ paradise. You will find a wide range of migratory birds here. The banyan tree at the center of the garden immediately comes to mind amongst the people of Chennai, as the 450 and odd year old tree is one amongst the largest trees the world over. The tree covers a massive 59500 sq. ft area of land. This is one of the few places to feel one with nature and enjoy fresh air. This place elevates your soul.
The library inside the campus has great collections exceeding two lakh books. Other collections include palm-leaf manuscripts and many ancient books of various faiths.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park is the first ever zoo in India. The zoo was established in the year 1855. The zoo was initially in the Moor market from where it was shifted to Vandalur in 1976. The massive 510-hectare zoo houses over 170 species of wildlife. Some of the wildlife found here includes tiger, hyena, lion, panther, elephants and many more. Elephant rides and lion safaris are available. If you are up to it, you could walk the entire stretch of the park. If not, you can tour on the battery operated vehicle rides.
Pulicat Lake
Pulicat Lake is a ‘must visit’ place if you are in Chennai. Chennai is not green and you do not chance upon many places in Chennai that help you get closer to nature. Hence, taking a time away to be at Pulicat Lake becomes all the more important. Pulicat Lake is located on Tamilnadu’s border. The atmosphere is serene and you can have a relaxed day here. Boat rides are very popular here. While at boat, you are allowed to indulge in fishing. This is a great place for bird watching. Do not miss Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary located near Pulicat Lake as you will find rare species of birds such as flamingoes, kingfishers, pelican, ibis and many more. You could also find the ruins of a 17th century Danish fort.
Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar Temple is one of the oldest temples in the city. It is not clear as to who built the temple. Going by the songs by Nayanmars, it is believed that Kapaleeswarar Temple was built during the 7th century by Pallava Kings. The architecture is not as old as they seem to be around 400 years old. Hence, it is considered that Portuguese destroyed the original temple mentioned in the songs of Nayanmars and the present construction belongs to the 16th century. The temple stands a classic example of the Dravidian style of sculpture and architecture.
Breezy Beach
Chennai has many beaches and while Marina beach is the longest in Chennai, Breezy beach holds attraction for the unpolluted atmosphere. It is situated in Valmiki Nagar in Chennai. This small beach remains untouched by commercialization and hence very serene. This is a perfect place for a breezy walk and the sunsets are picturesque. The sea is clean and hence water sports are popular. People love to swim here. You could also go on a boat ride.
National Art Gallery
National Art Gallery was established in 1907. The influence of Indo-Saracenic architecture is evident in the red sandstone construction, which has four sections namely Tanjore Painting Gallery, Ravi Varma Painting Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and Decorative Art Gallery. Artists would love this place as it has on display some of the ancient paintings and handicrafts that date back to 11th century. The Rock and Cave Art Gallery here offers interesting moments with the setting of caves looking natural and with facilities such as interactive Son-et-lumiere, Tran slides and touch screen in the caves to make the session interesting.

Little Mount Shrine
Little Mount Shrine has a rich history associated with it. You can find the cave where St. Thomas went hiding before being martyred here. The lack of attention in preserving important structures and monuments is evident here too as you can find a rock that bears St. Thomas’ footprints, which was not given due attention earlier to preserve it for future generation’s view. The place offers a good view of the city and the Chennai airport. It is a worth a visit if you want to experience a touch of the past and enjoy some pleasant atmosphere.
Chennai’s top attraction is the warmth of the people. You will find perfect harmony among the people of Chennai, who do not take into account the forced differences in terms of religion, race and color. While the worst failing in Chennai is the lack of effort to preserve places of historic significance and keep the city clean, the awareness seems to be increasing. You will find that sincere efforts are being taken by individuals and organizations and one such example is Chennai Turtle Walk to save the endangered species. With consistent and genuine efforts, there may be more attractions to mention in Chennai, which is of world class.
Eating Out in Chennai (Madras)
You’ll find a good choice of luxury dining options during your time in the city, with many places specialising in Madras curry – traditionally served without the inclusion of meat, harking back to its origins as a staple Hindu dish. Alternatively, many restaurants offer a fine dining experience which covers the tastes of China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam – so that even if you won’t be visiting all of these locations on your next cruise around Asia, you can still get a taste for the cultures through their respective cuisine
Shopping in Chennai (Madras)
Chennai has some unique places to offer for shopping. Art and crafts, contemporary and traditional artwork, antiques, jewellery are available in the city. Traditional items like leaf and palmyra-fiber handicrafts from Tirunelveli, bronze and brass castings and traditional jewelry from Kumbakonam, metal works from Thanjavur, stone carvings from Mahabalipuram, silks from Kanchipuram are for sale in shops and boutiques. George Town and Parrys Corner are wholesale markets of Chennai where one can purchase almost anything. Nearby Mint Street plays host to communities from Rajasthan and Gujarat and is where north Indian snacks can be sampled along with textiles, kitchenware and jewellery. Many streets are entirely devoted to selling one particular type of merchandise. The nearby Burma Bazaar is famous for its counterfeit electronic goods and media, Moore Market for its large number of bookstores. Pondy Bazaar located in T. Nagar, is home to multi-storey stores, unique to Chennai, which deal mainly in textiles and silks or gold, silver and diamond jewellery. Shopping malls in Chenna
There are markets along Marina Beach. There are modern malls in Chennai including the large Express Avenue Mall and Spencers Plaza close by Chennai is a large city that combines ancient tradition with modern style, and you’ll find plenty of fantastic shopping during your time here. Large malls and elegant galleries give you the option to browse designer brands and modern masterpieces; but for a taste of traditional India, you may want to cast your eyes over the sacks full of colourful powders, berries and chillies around the city’s spice markets.

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