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Situated along the Bay of Bengal’s Coromandel Coast and considered the musical and cultural capital of India, Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. Formerly known as Madras and established in the 17th century, today it is India’s fifth-largest city. Perfectly poised on Mount Road, the ITC Grand Chola is near the downtown business district. It was designed to recall the grandeur of the Chola dynasty’s golden era, replete with regal fabrics, artefacts, and richly-layered motifs that adorn its lavish interiors. Additionally, Chennai International Airport (MAA) is a mere 8 kilometres from our enchanting private oasis.

Catch a glimpse of Chennai’s rich history at Fort St. George, India’s oldest surviving British construction that was erected in 1639 and the site St. Mary’s Church. Or view Kapaleeshwarar Temple, a stunning example of Dravidian architecture that was built in the 7th century. Peruse the treasure trove of artefacts at the Government Museum Chennai. Its 46 galleries display everything from art, archeology, and anthropology to botany, zoology, and geology. Also engaging is the Birla Planetarium, which features interactive exhibits. Inside this hemispherical theatre, visitors can watch a spectacular show featuring the cosmic world and astronomical mysteries on a computerised projector. Created by the Chennai Crafts Foundation, Dakshinachitra showcases different Southern Indian lifestyles and traditional regional arts and crafts. Other intriguing curiosities are 60 kilometres away at the historical seaside destination of Mamallapuram in the Kanchipuram district. This district is known for its exquisite temple architecture, stunning saris, and fine local exports.

Enriching and evocative entertainment can be encountered at Chennai’s highly-regarded classical dance shows, music, and arts. January visitors should attend the annual Chennai Sangamam arts festival showcasing myriad forms of Tamil Nadu arts. Hundreds of artists also perform here during the six-week Madras Music Season each December and January. Dubbed Kollywood (after Kodambakkam) and producing more than 150 films per year, Chennai is also a leader in the Tamil movie industry. Be sure to savour some of Chennai’s authentic South Indian cuisine and famed filter coffee.