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14 Incredibly Cool Things You Need To Do In Chennai

*catamarans into the sunset*

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1. Eat a dosa at iD.

iD / Via idlydosa.in

Chennai is dosa central and, even in this city of millions of amazing dosas, this is the best one. It's so good that you won't be able to stop with just one. You'll want a theen-sa and a chaar-sa and a paanch-sa. (I'm not even sorry.)

2. Visit the Gangaikondaan temple.

Arjun Valsaraj / Via Flickr: arjunvalsaraj

The Gangaikondan Temple is a magnificent Shiva temple that's almost a thousand years old, and was built to commemorate the victory of Rajendra Chola over the Chalukyas. It's a beautiful, living piece of South Indian history often overlooked by visitors to Chennai.

3. Spend an afternoon at the Theosophical Society Gardens.

Nagarjun / Via Flickr: nagarjun

A fairytale garden with a 450-year-old banyan tree, right in the heart of Chennai's urban sprawl? Yes, yes, and yes.

4. Take part in the Olive Ridley conservation walk.

SSTCN / Via sstcn.org

Olive Ridley turtles lay eggs on the beaches of Chennai between December and April. The Olive Ridley walk is a serious conservation walk organized by the Student's Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN) that aims to not merely find these eggs, but relocate them to a safe hatchery, where the baby turtle hatchlings will be released into the sea.

5. Go surfing in Kovalam.

Bay of Life / Via bayoflife.com

Surf's up, machi! The Kovalam beach (also known as Covelong), which is about an hour's drive from Chennai and has an active surfing scene. The beach even has an accredited surfing school, Bay of Life, that offers lessons for beginners and rents boards for experienced surfers.

7. Spend some quiet time at the Anna Centenary Library.

tripadvisor.in

The Anna Centenary Library is one of Asia's largest libraries with 9 floors and more than 1.2 million books – what are you going to be reading?

8. Soak in some history on the Madras High Court Heritage Walk.

Vinay Aravind / Via Facebook: vinayaravindimages

The building housing the Madras High Court was built in 1862, and continues to function to date. With its iconic red walls, a light house with its own pin code, winding staircases, stained glass walls and incredible history at every turn, this is a monument you MUST visit. You can check out the schedule for the walk (and other interesting heritage walks) here.

9. Chill a while with some crocodiles.

Madras Crocodile Bank / Via madrascrocodilebank.org

Anyone who grew up in Chennai has a soft spot for the Madras Crocodile Bank (primarily because we were taken there on school trips ALL THE DAMN TIME). It's one of the largest reptile zoos IN THE WORLD. Whether you check in for the feeding sessions that happen every Sunday, or the night safari (which also happens during the weekends), don't miss their A-list resident, Jaws III – he's one of the largest saltwater crocodiles in the world. Find timings and information here.

10. Marvel at the ancient bronzes showcased in The Government Museum.

Follow My Wanders / Via followmywanders.wordpress.com

Easily one of the most underrated places to visit in the city, The Government Museum is a beautiful heritage building, which has very many ancient artefacts that have been preserved in excellent condition. Even if you're not a history person, do drop by the children's museum – they have a life-size fibre glass sculpture of a T-Rex that is just BEGGING to be in a selfie with you.

11. Go on a catamaran ride.

Saternal / Via Flickr: saternal

Take on the Bay of Bengal in an open boat ride that even allows you to have a quick dip or two in the ocean – this is one experience you won't be forgetting soon. Follow it up with a piña colada on the beach for literally the perfect, most relaxing weekend of your life.

12. Watch the sunrise at Thiruvanmiyur beach.

Stephan Jo / Via Flickr: 83855041@N04

While Marina and Elliot's have their own charm, Thiruvanmiyur is the quietest beach that is within the city, and watching the sun rise among those restless waves is definitely the best way to start your morning.

13. Catch a movie at the Sathyam Multiplex on a ₹10 ticket.

SPI Cinemas / Via spicinemas.in

Chennai's most iconic multiplex theatre, Sathyam Cinemas, has around 291 seats spread across all its theatres that are exclusively priced at ₹10 per show. They are the closest seats to the screen, and yes, this does involve queuing up on the morning of your show, but which part of the TEN BUCKS A TICKET are you not excited about? (And even if you don't get the ₹10 ticket, don't worry – no ticket goes beyond ₹120 at any theatre in Chennai. Yuuuup.)

14. Experience folk art at Dakshinachitra.

Anandarup Kar / Via Flickr: anandarup

Dakshinachitra is a living museum of South Indian heritage. Spread over 10 acres, with 18 carefully preserved heritage houses, typical village artisans and regular folk performances, this place is the closest you'll ever get to time travel.

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