Formerly known as Madras and hailed as the cultural capital of South India, Chennai is a huge economic and educational hub. The capital city, however, is better known for its rich south Indian traditional flavours as well as its historical scenes hidden in luxurious places.
Where to stay
Having been the choice of stay by prominent figures, the Italian Prime Minister, the President of Singapore, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew and many others, the Taj Coromandel prides itself as one of Chennai's best known landmark.
The aptly luxurious five-star hotel, Taj Coromandel, is famous for its hospitality service; staff members take care of guests personally and are always ready to go the extra mile to arrange shopping trips, an intimate dinner session, and even fortune telling!
The hotel offers a total of 212 spacious guest rooms, including 11 elegantly furnished suites. It also offers experiences to that of the Taj club floor and lounge, a 24-hour business centre, the Taj Khazana -- a luxury boutique showcasing artefacts created by master craftsmen of India, and many other experiences.
37, Mahatma Ghandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600 034, Tamil Nadu, India
Telephone: +91 44 6600 2827
Visit Taj Coromandel's site for more information.
What to eat
Good food is never far, especially when you stay at a five-stay hotel in a city known for its spices bursting of vivid flavours. The Taj Coromandel's Southern Spice restaurant has re-opened its doors to the capital city, promising visitors a journey that transports one to another world; where flavours and aromas come alive.
With the restaurant's master chefs' continuous search for recipes from the various districts of South India comes a menu full of culinary rigour. From dishes like Kayar Katti Yerachi Urnudai -- Fennel flavoured crisp lamb meat dumplings wrapped with banana fibre to Asparagus Paruppu Usili -- Asparagus and steamed lentils tempered with Madras chillies; the menu features a fusion of traditional past and present tastes.
Cuisine: Culinary delights from the Four Southern States -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
Location: Lobby level of Taj Coromandel
Hours: For lunch, 12:30pm - 2:45pm and for dinner, 7:00pm - 11:45pm
Reservations: Tel (direct) 044 66002827
Attire: Smart Casual
Where to shop
One of the most expensive shopping malls in Chennai, Chennai Citi Centre houses major brands like Lilliput, Van Heusen and Adidas. With five floors holding 400 shops and 100 dining establishments, one has no time to be indecisive on what to shop for or eat!
RK Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004, India
Phone: (044) 28477788
For a more traditional Indian take on clothing, there is Shilpi boutique. The roots of the boutique date back to the 1980s where it was the first to host textile collections form the various regions in India. The boutique offers a wide range of elegant traditional pieces to pick from.
Corporation Shopping Centre, 29, CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, Chennai - 600018, Tamil Nadu
Phone: (044) 24997526 / (044) 24660327
Where to visit
Mahabalipuram, now known as Mamallapuram features a breath taking sight of huge historic monuments built between the seventh and ninth centuries. The monuments are rock-cut statues constituting of Dravidian architecture.
Highlights not to miss at the Mamallapuram include the Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots), Thirukadalmallai Temple, Arjuna's Penance and Varaha Cave Temple.
Mamallapuram is located around 50 Kilometres (31 miles) south of Chennai, on the east coast of India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is 96 Kilometres (59 miles) north of Pondicherry.