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Chennai, our home since February 2002 and maybe the last stop on our travels around India. Chennai, the city of broken pavements, polluted water ways and three seasons a year ? hot, hotter and very hot! Add to that some sporadic monsoon rains, an idyllic ocean beach and also the second longest beach in the world, after Rio! This beach is polluted though and is not swam in, but the ocean beaches further south are clean, blue and sandy, lined with spacious properties, grand houses and some idyllic resorts and small guest houses. It is a great spot to get away from it all and also to rent or own a property if you do not mind the drive into the city each day. Marg and I arrived here on our first visit to India back in 1986 and spent a week or so here, visiting the sights and driving out to some of the smaller towns and countryside. St. Thomas Mount is here, which has a relic of this saint, Mammallapuram is here, which is a town full of rock carvings and hillside temples and there is also Kancheepuram, which has literally hundreds of temples in it. All grand sights and well worth a visit to. South India, of which Tamil Nadu is part, is renowned for its spicy food and liberal use of chillies. Crushed dried chilli flakes is a staple on any table here, being added to nearly any dish that is placed in front of the guest. Rice is a staple and seafood and curry dishes are the most common. Western cuisine always struggles here, due to its supposedly bland taste, i.e. it does not have any chilli in it! When we arrived to work here, we were told that Chennai is a seafood city, which may have been true a decade ago, but the sad fact of the matter is, that the waters are now so polluted that fishermen travel greater and greater distances to get their daily catch, and we are quite often out of fresh seafood within the hotel. Tropical fruits are great here of course, with many varieties of banana, chickoos, mangoes and guavas etc. available at their respective times throughout the year. Below are a few of the places of interest that can be found in and around Chennai and well worth a visit to. There are others of course, but space does not allow for all to be placed here.
Travel Image As far as the city is concerned, Marg and I have better memories of it the first time round. We do a lot of walking and found conditions to be quite pleasant, even if it was rather hot, but then again, years in Asia has acclimatized us quite a bit to the heat. Anything below 28 degrees Celsius is starting to get chilly for us now! In the eight years of so since being here, there have been increases of up to 500 vehicles per day placed onto the roads, from buses, cars, trucks and bikes and tremendous digging of the roads for the laying of utilities. Not all are filled and sealed again, add to that the roads are never sealed to the edges and therefore the drains all silt up. So, broken, unfinished roads that fly off dust and dirt in the dry months turn into quagmires in the rainy season. The footpaths are in a shocking state, as only the poor use them or the crazy foreigners, so they are neglected to being mostly nonexistent in moist places. The fact in India is, the bigger you are, the more right of way you have, but also, the smaller you are, the less fault you have in any accident! It is a shame really about the road conditions, as there are many great sights to see in Chennai. George Fort and the esplanade, the old town and the High Courts are all great places. There are old cemeteries to explore and churches that British troops being sent to New Zealand for the Maori Wars that they worshipped in. The is the City Corporation buildings and the Southern Railway buildings, all with a history that a good put-put driver will be more than happy to explain to you. There are the seafood markets down near the docks to visit at 5 am in the morning when the catch is coming in, the city fruit, flower and vegetable markets that sells whatever is grown within the state and out, supposedly the best shopping to be found in India, but also not the easiest to find. Leather and clothing manufacturing is carried out on a large scale down here, so bargains are to be found in shoes, handbags and other apparel. So, over-all, not a bad place is Chennai, just the trouble of moving from one location to another. Not too many night spots here and limited quality food available also, especially if you want something other than Indian cuisine. Well worth a visit, some time spent and a good look around. Bangalore is only four hours away by a quite good train, and Mysore from there, so it is a good place to start when coming into India from the upper parts of the world like Australia and New Zealand!

I hope that you enjoy these pages, taking time to browse through the photos which have been compressed a bit, but I apologise if you are not on broadband, as the download time may be a bit long in some cases. However, I feel that the quality of photos are better if I can keep to a reasonable size and you are free to use them for your own requirements! As it is also our hobby site, they are continually being updating by adding photos as they get formatted there is the newsletter that gets published each month that can be found under Monthly Newsletters that is a peek for the last month and you can check out the family pages and feel free to drop me a line at anytime to say hello - in the meantime - happy browsing and welcome to the site!  
Overlooking the suburbs of Chennai, taken from St. Thomas Mount looking towards the city
One of the many villas tucked away behind the walls and trees of Chennai
A small street temple found at many places throughout Chennai
The Peace Temple found just before entering onto the tolled East Coast highway
A view overlooking the city of Chennai from the top of The Park hotel towards the sea
The main building heights in Chennai are eight stories as this view of the city shows
Chennai has still some quite good greenery as this picture shows of Woodland Hotel, right in the middle of the city
Victoria Public Hall just near and part of the City Corpration Rippon buildings, built in 1926 and now housing the South India Athletics Association and is found in bad disrepair
Chennai city beach, Marina Beach is the 2nd longest in the world, but is not very clean or good to swim in!
Further south the are numerous beaches, found along the very good East Coast road, this one is at Ideal Beach
The portico of St Georges Cathedral just near Genmini flyover and one of the grand churches found in the city
The wheels of the chariot of Valluvar Kottam, a monument to a South Indian poet of old, is worth a visit, but it is also a bit neglected
Napier bridge crossing what once was a clear running river but is now polluted and silted
Elliots Beach in Chennai and a popular meeting place in the evening for those wanting to cool off
Dakshina Chitra is located along the East Coast just after the toll gates and is a village where houses from around the country have been relocated and show cased, excellent!
This part of the beach is at Fisherman's Cove, another popular destination for the weekend break
The rock carvings of Mamallapuram, found along the East Coat highway and well worth seeing
The Shore Temple of Mamallapuram taken from the fence line, as the double pricing is a tourist rip-off
The monument to Ghandi found on the central beach in Pondicherry, and the city is well worth a three or four day visit
The Matrimandir at Auroville is worth a trip, as it is where people from all nations have set up home to live an alternative life style 
Part of the walls and about all thats left of the old fort found close to the beach frontage at Fort St. Goerge
The Corporation buildings of Chennai, popular for film making scenes and the photograph!
Chennai Supreme Court buildings at Fort St. George are from the British period and look impressive
The Southern Railway building found next door to the Chennai Corporation buildings on Vepery High Road
The old Madras High Court buildings at Egmore
The old lighthouse of Chennai, now high and dry and well behind the sea
The old Ice House in Chennai from 1840, located down on Marina Beach, it was built to hold ice for months at a time and now houses a gallery of rare photos on the life of Swami Vivekananda
St. Marys College, nestled in the trees at Marina Beach was slated for demolition, but was saved by popular voice
The temple at Tiruvanmiyar close to Elliots beach that has a big festival held every year