Chennai- Culture intact
Though currently called Chennai, this metro of India was formerly called Madras. The name Madras is attributed to some Portugese travellers who settled here and later moved to Pondicherry, however this whole debate abated after the city was rechristened Chennai in 1996. Chennai offers the tourist an authentic version of South India, with all its traditions, orthodoxy and culture intact. Infact till date a lot of non-south Indians refer to all of South India as Madras and all of us South Indians as 'Madrasees' much to our disdain! In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government renamed Madras to Chennai providing the reason that 'Chennai' was the city's traditional name while Madras was one derived during colonial rule.
Chennai offers the traveller some awesome beaches- Besannagar, Marina, Tiruvanmayoor, Santhome etc; it offers the art lover The Kalakshetra, Dakshinchitra & Madras Music Academy. Hordes of temples for the piligrim and pious and some amazing food at restaurants like Saravana Bhavan, Murugans Idly, GRT Grand and other popular restaurants like Sangeeta and Adyar Anandha Bhavan. Also if you love sweets then head to Grand Sweets without fail!
Most bangaloreans will agree that chennai is truly a shoppers paradise, all of us head to Chennai for wedding/sp occasions shopping. You can find limitless number of shops selling Kancheevaram Sarees, Gold jewelry, Silver Jewelry, Aromatic oils and soaps etc. You name it and you will find the widest range and the best rates in Chennai.
Driving in chennai is relatively more peaceful than say Bangalore because the roads are wider, this is one of our fav morning drives! Comin back to more details about chennai the season for Bharatnatyam and Carnatic Music draws visitors and aficionados from the world over. Being the capital of Tamil Nadu, the preferred language of communication amongst the local population is Tamil. However, English is widely spoken as the language of commerce and English speaking visitors should have no problem getting around. The city also has a fair number of people that speak Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.