Be prepared for noise - constant, piercing noise. Most vehicles have horns and backup alarms that sound like bad cell phone ringers ("Silent Night," for example, but ending at "all is bright," and with two notes flat - infuriating). Elevators yell at you when you don't shut them properly. People yell to each other for everything.
May Be Best Italian Restaurant Ever
Certainly the best Italian food you’ll find in southern India. Menu is excellent and varied, ingredients are fresh, wines are good, service is very good. Plenty of veg and non-veg options. There are a couple of locations in Chennai, but the one I’ve been to (several times) in Kottivakkam, south of the city, is just off a nice beach in a quiet area, with most seating outside. Family pets are present, but the donkey is tied up and the dogs are friendly. The pasta primavera is lovely - rich and garlic-y, pasta is just the right texture and the spinach and mushrooms are the best around. The pizza got thumbs up from a couple of Italian visitors I went with.
The deserts are a little too sweet for me, though, more like Indian versions of Italian deserts.
This picturesque temple on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, though only a few decades old, is renowned for its shrines to the goddess Lakshmi and all her eight incarnations, as well as to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. You start at the bottom level of the main temple with the shrine to Lakshmi and Vishnu. Then you ascend stairs up four levels, each containing different incarnations of Lackshmi: Aadhi Lakshmi the goddess of health, Dhanya Lakshmi the goddess of food, Dhairya Lakshmi the goddess of courage, Gaja Lakshmi the goddess of luck, Santhana Lakshmi the goddess of children, Dhana Lakshmi the goddess of wealth, Vijaya Lakshmi the goddess of victory, and Vidya Lakshmi the goddess of education. The temple priests will perform a blessing on you at each Lakshmi and in return you offer them a few rupees. There is a great view out over the Bay of Bengal from the top level.
Fort St George
Fort St George (or historically, White Town) is an important landmark in Chennai, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. It was completed on April 23 1640, coinciding with St. George's Day, celebrated in honour of St. George, the patron saint of England, by the British East India Company, under the direct supervision of Andrew Cogon. It gave birth to a new settlement area called George Town (historically referred to as Black Town), which grew to envelop the villages and led to the formation of the city of Madras. The fort is a stronghold with 6 metre high walls that withstood a number of assaults in the 18th century. It briefly passed into the possession of the French from 1746 to 1749, but was restored to the British after the War of Austrian Succession.
Fort St George is regarded as the birthplace of the modern Indian army. It houses a number of non-military structures within its precincts and serves as the administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu state. The fort also houses several interesting monuments, which include St Mary's Church (the oldest Anglican Church built in 1680), St George Museum (established in 1948) and the tombstones in the courtyard.
St George's Cathedral
This lovely cathedral was built in 1815 and consecrated the following year by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Calcutta, the only Anglican Diocese in India at that time. It is stated that the church was completed by the people themselves with the aid of a lottery fund. It cost 41,709 pagodas: furniture, the organ and the architect’s commission increased the cost to 57,225 pagodas where 1 Pagoda was the equivalent to 3.50 Indian Rupees.
The British East India Company's Senior Engineer Col. J.L. Caldwell designed the church, and his assistant Captain De Havilland finished the construction. It's well known for its stained-glass windows and memorials, tablets and statues.