Chennai - industry and tourism
Chennai, located in southern India on the Bay of Bengal, is the fourth largest city in the country. It is bustling centre of the Indian automobile manufacturing and Kollywood, which is the Tamil film industry. The city is also a popular tourist destination.
Chennai - best weather and festivals
Chennai has a tropical climate. The hottest time of year begins in May lasting until June when temperatures average 40 degrees Celsius, while the coolest month is January when temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius. The monsoon season is from mid-October to mid-December. Cyclones often occur during the monsoon season.
Chennai is home to many interesting festivals. Tamils celebrate Pongal, a traditional harvest festival in mid-January. The Hindu festival of lights, Karthikai Deepam, is celebrated in November and December with outdoor lights and fireworks. Another important Hindu holy festival is Vinayak Chaturthi in September. This 10-day festival honours the elephant god, Ganesh, and it usually ends with a procession. The Chennai Music and Dance Festival in mid-December through mid-January features folk music performers from across southern India.
Visas and vaccinations for Chennai visits
A visa is required by British citizens wishing to travel to Chennai. Travellers' passports must also have at least two blank pages and must be 180 days from the expiration date.
Tamil is the official language of Chennai, although English is widely spoken. The cost of living in Tamil is quite low with a cheap meal costing around 20 rupees.
Chennai is considered safe with a low risk of malaria. Still, travellers are advised to drink bottled water and cook and peel all fruits and vegetables. Travellers are required to have routine vaccinations, including hepatitis B. Some may need a rabies and/or a Japanese encephalitis vaccine.
Transportation and accommodation
Travellers can get from the airport to central Chennai via the Tirusulam train station or by prepaid taxi, which costs around 300 rupees. Traffic jams are common in Chennai so journeys can take a long time. The cheapest way to travel is by bus. The average fare costs 3 rupees while a day pass costs 50 rupees and a weekly pass costs 300 rupees. Taxis without air conditioning average 100 rupees for 4 kilometres then an additional 12 rupees for each additional kilometre. Rickshaws are often overpriced, costing around 25 rupees for 1.8 kilometres. A hostel room costs around 400 rupees per night, while a mid-range hotel room costs around 1,000 rupees per night.