India
Chennai

Here you’ll find travel reports about Chennai. Discover travel destinations in India of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

20 travelers at this place:

  • Day83

    Lessons of gratitude

    August 10 in India

    Today we leave India and fly to Sri Lanka, after about 7 weeks in total visiting a small part of such a huge and diverse country. This trip we have been trying to speak with Lila about gratitude and being thankful for the experiences we have as well as the ability to do so. India is such an interesting and beautiful country, but at the same time can be extremely intense and raw, both for the places and people you meet. It's a place where you are face to face with the realities of living in a society that can be unjust and unequal purely dependent on what family and where you were born. Being a female is a huge disadvantage, someone told us that people cry when they have a baby girl, knowing what a hard life this child will have.
    However we are told that things are changing and we are always amazed at the capacity of people here to do so much with not a lot. People have amazing determination, persistence and capacity...anything and everything is possible in India!
    We leave India and Lila is sick with a stomach thing. We are lucky we live in a place with safe drinking water and generally safe food. As well as pretty good access to health care.
    Thank you India, we are very thankful for the experiences we have had here :).
    Special thanks to Dov n Agar villages, Armitesh, Smita, Carla, Sashwat, the chai walas, Ganges river, doctors n pharmacists, the shoe cobbler in Delhi, Jaipur.
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  • Day81

    Last stop - Chennai

    August 8 in India

    An overnight bus brought us to Chennai, which would be our last stop in India. We happened to arrive the day after a very famous Tamil Nadu politician died, so we had the strange pleasure of seeing this usually buzzing city with very little traffic and activity in the streets (which I assume is quite rare in Indian cities), as all shops, restaurants, services were closed for the day. We visited the beach at Chennai, took the very new and clean metro, did some shopping the next day and Lila tried on the very over the top party dresses.Read more

  • Day125

    Oh wai, Chennai

    November 21, 2017 in India

    Chennai, die Hauptstadt des Südens. Zwar bin ich vor meinem Flug auf die Andaman Islands nur einen Tag hier, aber ich dachte mir, so ein Hotel in Strandnähe kann ja nicht verkehrt sein.... Pustekuchen!

    Mein Hotel ist low budget und sieht leider auch genauso aus und der Strand ist wohl eher eine Fischfabrik.

    Voller Fischerboote- könnte ja ganz schön sein - leider aber auch voller Müll und Unrat.
    Von einem Spaziergang auf dem "Strandboulevard" ist ebenfalls abzuraten.
    Rechts der Stadtslum, links der Fischmarkt.
    Dieser besteht aus kleinen Bündchen oder auch nur ausgelegten Decken, auf denen jeglicher Fisch feil geboten wird. Der "Duft" der hier in der Luft liegt, lässt aber wohl auch den größten Fischliebhaber würgen.

    Der Tuktukfahrer, der mich in einen besseren Teil der Stadt bringen sollte, lässt mich sein Tuktuk fahren und macht dabei gefühlte 100 Selfies. Mit dem besseren Stadtteil hat es aber noch nicht ganz geklappt. Also mach ich mich zu Fuß auf zur katholischen St. Thome Cathedral. Bei meinem heutigen Glück geht hier aber gerade eine Beerdigung zuende und der Tote wird heraus getragen - im OFFENEN Sarg!

    Weiter zum Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Endlich mal ein Highlight! So einen bunten Temple hab ich in Indien bisher noch nicht gesehen 😊

    Mein nächster Tuktuk Fahrer fährt mit mir erstmal zur Tanke, bevor er mich an der großen Shoppingmall raus lässt. Bissl Burger King, bissl H&M und ab ins Kino.
    Zwar ist der Film auf Hindi, aber das ist trotzdem unterhaltsam. Vor allem, weil vor Filmbeginn die Nationalhymne gespielt wird und die Kinogäste dafür aufstehen sollen.

    Und zum goldenen Abschluss des Tages, auf der Suche nach etwas essbaren, sitze ich im Restaurant und studiere die Karte, da bleibt die Kellnerin/Inhaberin neben mir stehen, beobachtet mich und rülpst mich an 😅 ...da musste meine Restaurantsuche wohl oder übel weiter gehen.

    Jetzt freue mich nur noch auf bessere Zeiten im Paradies 😍
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  • Day24

    Chennai

    October 30 in India

    Et voilà notre premier jour en Inde😝 Nous avons galèré un peu à l'aéroport car la compagnie aérienne exige d'avoir un billet de sorti du pays🤦 Nous avons eu 15 min pour décider de notre prochaine destination et la date de départ haha
    On arrive donc à Chennai une énorme ville de 7 millions d'habitants. C'est complètement le bordel dans les rues, des gens partout, des déchets qui s'amoncellent et des familles qui vivent et dorment au milieu de tout ça.. Il faut avouer que c'était un peu le choc en arrivant.
    Malgré tout les rues sont remplies de vie et de petites échoppes😊 La diversité de la nourriture et les goûts incroyable nous fait le plus grand bien 😋 Nous avions un peu fait le tour du riz curry du Sri Lanka..
    Incroyable de voir les vaches, idoles de l'Inde, se balader calmement dans les rues au point de créer des bouchons 😂
    La plage de 13 km de long et de plus de 200m de large est super impressionnante, il paraît que 'elle est la deuxième plus grande du monde. Malheureusement tant la plage que tout le reste de la ville est très sale 😕
    P. S. Nous avons eu des punaises de lit 😱 c'est affreux, c'est des bestioles ~1cm qui grouille dans le lit une fois la lumière éteinte et qui te sucent le sang quand tu dors te laissant des boutons degueux (je réagis plus fort que Naty pour une fois haha) mais heureusement que sur les jambes 🤷 c'est chiant car à ce qu'il parrai ça infeste les affaires au point qu'il faudrait tout laver à plus de soixante et jeter / congeler le reste des affaires.. A voir ces prochains jours
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  • Day1

    Chennai--our first day

    November 21, 2017 in India

    We arrived in Chennai at 0100 AM on Tuesday, 11/21 after 16 1/2 hours of flying time plus a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt. The first thing that hit me as we left the airport was the heat and humidity, high even at 1AM. We planned today as a rest day so we had no schedule to meet and could nap and walk around, getting used to the time change (we are 10 1/2 hours ahead of the east coast).

    Chennai is the Detroit of India, its primary business being manufacturing, especially automobiles. The streets in the area of town near our hotel are filled with small shops and street stalls—ironing services, fabric printing, mechanics, packaged spice carts, stalls selling fruit juices and others selling chapati and other hand snacks. Although there are many people walking, the raids are not pedestrian friendly. The sidewalks are narrow so you must walk mindfully around potholes and piles of debris, often stepping into traffic to squeeze by some large sidewalk obstruction. The traffic on our hotel street is very heavy, a mix of cars, small trucks, tuk-tuks (like a golf cart for hire), motorcycles, and scooters. Everyone uses the horn, a lot. No pedestrian crossings, just venture out when there is a slow down in the flow of traffic and wend your way across the 6 lanes.

    The last time we were in India was 2010 and it was north India: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. The first thing we noticed here was far less unsolicited touting, that is men who want to “help” you do something (for a fee) —take you on a tour, carry your luggage, drive you someplace—than we remember from Delhi. Still a few persistent tuck-tuck drivers but much more enjoyable to walk around without having to say “no”all the time.

    Surprisingly, there is a Starbucks around the corner from our hotel. Yes, it’s the real deal. We also found a small grocery store and had fun checking out the variety of fruits and vegetables, spices, seeds, nuts, and sauces. Stocked up on several gallons of water. Now, a little relaxation at the pool at our hotel before dinner.
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  • Day3

    Historic Sights in Chennai

    November 23, 2017 in India

    We met our group of 9 others this morning and began our Gate 1 Spiritual South India tour with a traditional South Indian lunch at Malgudi restaurant. That’s me posing in front of the restauant.

    For lunch, we each received a large platter lined with banana leaf that was used to serve small bowls of curries, rice, chicken in cream sauce, fried fish, dal (lentils), yogurt, and rice pudding, all eaten with parotta, a type of fry bread local to the Tamil Nadu area. Tiny portions but very filling all together.

    Finished off with a dessert of fermented rice flour pancake dipped in a sweetened cardamom sauce. Dark South Indian coffee was served, again traditional style. That’s Ben demonstrating the pouring technique that mixes the cream and sugar into the very hot coffee.

    Two historical sights today: the Government Museum which is a sprawling compound of archeological, historical, and architectural treasures. We saw carved Hindu statues dating from 600 A.D., and the largest collection of bronze statues in the world dating back hundreds of years and magnificently detailed. Then to the Museum at Fort St. George which houses collections of memorabilia from the fascinating British history in India. Unfortunately they do not allow pictures at either Museum. There’s a picture of us at St. Mary’s church, the oldest English church in India, dating from the 1700s and still in use today.

    Then a drive along the extensive shoreline along the Bay of Bengal with a beach area estimated to be 20 miles long. The part closest to the city has many parks and food trucks and you can imagine in a city of 9 million, lots of people walking on the beach (water is not safe for swimming).

    Further down are the fishing villages. We could see the boats, not too much larger than dinghies, rowing right up on the sand and hauling their catch directly to a family member manning a makeshift stall along the road, selling the fish literally fresh off the boat (we saw very little use of ice). Our guide said that Indians prefer their food to be bought and cooked as fresh as can be, so everything must be sold that day. It’s one reason WalMart has not taken off in this big market—the people here generally do not use prepared or packaged food. This area was hard hit by the tsunami in 2004, destroying miles of small homes near the water and killing hundreds. Even 13 years later so many still living in make-shift shanties of scrap metal or wood with a roof of plastic sheeting. The government is slowly rebuilding apartments, but still so much need.

    We are going through water like crazy. It’s hot and humid and the tap water is not safe for us to drink. We are being handed water bottles everywhere we go. You know what a conservationist I am so it’s killing me to add all these empty plastics to the trash problem of over a billion people. It’s either that or risk a case of ‘Delhi belly’ (the Indian version of Montezumas Revenge). We have been so fortunate on our trips to be spared from any GI issues.
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  • Day108

    Chennai

    April 1 in India

    Notes from Chennai (formerly called Madras)

    India note # 1: India loves bureaucracy. As a former British colony, India fell in love with forms and stamps and approval letters and multiple documents, and layers and layers of supervision. Even after completing an exhausting application for visas last summer before the cruise even started, four of the staterooms onboard failed to receive an e-landing card from India immigration. Ours was one of the four. So we were told that we would simply have our visas hand-processed.

    Simple.

    At immigration station number 1, the uniformed immigration official didn’t know what to do with us, so he called his boss. The boss didn’t know what to do with us, so he called his boss. This boss couldn’t get his scanner to work and Glenda was kind enough to start trying to tell him what he needed to do to fix it. I don’t think he spoke English, but that didn’t stop Glenda. She kept at it.

    I avoided the temptation to ask her politely to shut up, because even if the boss had been able to get his scanner to work, it would not do us any good. The problem was that we did not have a landing card that could be scanned—even if equipment were working properly.

    I whispered, or I tried to whisper, “Glenda, for God’s sake, don’t start trying to play Nancy Drew right now!” He looked at Glenda funny, then asked me, “Who is Nancy Drew? That is not the name on this visa!” He finally stamped our document, signed it and sent us to the next station, telling us that there would be no problem.

    Yeah. Right.

    “Move here. No, here. Stand in line here. Now stop. Wait here. Now move over there. Wait. Now get in this line.” This whole process, complete with multiple bosses, was repeated 3 more times. Four times in all. The last boss was a big, heavy guy with a big black mustache, a sharp looking military uniform and 3 stars on his shoulder boards. I figured he must be a Lieutenant General. At some point in the process, it got funny. Glenda started laughing—not just tittering, but guffawing out loud. Hooting. I shushed her, and she laughed louder. I turned red and tried desperately to get her quiet, as visions of a hot, humid Indian prison danced in my head. She laughed so hard she had tears in her eyes. People were looking at us. I was dripping sweat and felt like I was about to die until I glanced up and saw that Lieutenant General Moustache was getting tickled too. I think they all thought that Glenda had, well, a problem. He stamped our landing cards, patted me on the shoulder while shaking his head, and we were on our way.

    The good news is that we get to do this 3 more times, once in Cochin, once in Goa, and once in Mumbai, because we still don’t have the right landing card.

    India note # 2: Cows are cool. If you die and come back as a cow in India, you wander around in people’s yards and the folks pat you on the rump and give you stuff to eat. They won’t kill you or eat you because you’re sacred. Altogether, not a bad deal. Just don’t come back as a cow in America. Cows don’t have as strong a labor union there.

    India note # 3: (Church wonk warning): St. Thomas is here. One of the main reasons I wanted to come to India was that I hoped to see some evidence of the Apostle Thomas (remember “doubting Thomas”?). I have known since seminary of a very strong oral tradition linking St. Thomas with India and the so-called Mar Thoma Church. The tradition holds that he arrived here in 52 AD and brought Christianity to India. I had hoped to see some traces of Thomas, but didn’t really expect to find any. Certainly Thomas was not high on the hit parade of any of my shipmates. However, five minutes after our bus left the port and entered downtown Chennai, we passed a big, white Catholic cathedral. Our guide pointed it out and said that it contains the grave of the Apostle Thomas. Bingo. For me, everything else we do in India is frosting on the cake. For me Thomas was the cake.

    India Note # 4: There is some really old stuff here. We drove to the seaside town of Mahabalipuram to see not just one, but a collection of Hindu temples that go back to the sixth century AD. This is genuinely old stuff—some of the oldest Hindu iconography in existence. We actually walked inside the Holy of Holies of the so-called Shore temple. Though the temple has been deconsecrated, I think there are still some venerable old spirits who call this place home. Oh yes, it just happens to be located on the seaside site of a first century port which appears on some old Roman maps.

    India note # 5: You gotta honk your horn constantly when you drive because there are no traffic lights. By the way, they drive on the wrong side of the road here. And there are lots of scooters carrying 3 or 4 people. But it’s cool. It works.

    India note # 6: (For adults only) Hawkers are very persistent. As you walk from the bus to—anywhere—some very nice, wonderful, but very poor people will walk alongside you, trying to sell you little statues of Buddha or Krishna, little necklaces or drawings or trinkets. They will always say that they sculpted or painted or wove the object themselves. Maybe they did, but I doubt it. One huckster of limited English skills, approached Glenda with a set of heavy cardboard circles, each beautifully painted and lacquered. If you folded the top down each showed a lovely picture of a different bird or animal. If you folded the bottom up, it showed one of the 245 sexual positions of the Kamasutra, some of which could be performed only by a contortionist. Glenda wasn’t sure that the salesman understood her English, but she looked him in the eye, put her hand on his shoulder and said in her sweetest Southern drawl, “Honey, I’m 66 years old, have a hip replacement and arthritis. Now, really, what do you think I’m going to do with this?”

    India note # 7: The people here are really nice. Over 90% are Hindus, which means that they are relaxed, non-violent vegetarians. Well, they are relaxed and non-violent once they stop driving and honking their horns. They smile at you, and they wave at your bus as you pass. Even the kids. Yeah, the beggars and the hawkers can be a bit aggressive, but they’re just trying to make a living too. I saw some young men at the temple. They saw my camera and I saw theirs, so we just smiled, then took each other’s photos, then laughed and waved as we parted. In spite of all the crowding and poverty, I think I like this place. It’s certainly not America, but for the people here it all somehow works.
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  • Day17

    Es ist Mittwoch der 28.03.
    Am Vormittag erkunden wir, wie auch schon die letzten Tage unsere Umgebung zu Fuß. Allerdings haben wir diesmal unser Hotel in einem beliebten Viertel Chennai's ausgesucht, sodass selbst das schlendern auf den Nebenstraßen dank des hohen Verkehrsaufkommens schnell zum Spießrutenlauf ausartet. Nach 1.5h entscheiden wir uns schließlich doch wieder zurück zum Hotel zu gehen. Langsam hab ich von dem Verkehr hier echt die Nase voll.
    Am Nachmittag wollen wir noch einen letzten Ausflug zum Government Museum machen bevor es in der Nacht zurück nach Deutschland geht.
    Wir beschließen mit der Rikscha zu fahren. Nachdem 2 Fahrer nicht verstehen wo wir hin wollen oder eher nicht wissen wo sich das Government Museum befindet. Haben wir bei dem 3. Fahrer mehr Glück. Er will uns für nur 50 Rupien pro Person zum Museum und zurück zum Hotel bringen. Komisch 50 Rupien ist schon ganz schön wenig. Nicht mal 1 Euro.
    Aber gut wir lassen uns erst einmal zum Museum bringen.

    "Das Government Museum in der südindischenMillionenstadt Chennai gehört – neben dem Nationalmuseum Neu-Delhi und dem Indian Museum in Kolkata (ehemals Kalkutta) – zu den führenden Museen des Landes.

    Das Museum wurde unter britischer Herrschaft im Jahr 1851 gegründet; an der heutigen Stelle befindet es sich seit dem Jahr 1854. Von 1855 bis 1863 war auf dem Gelände auch ein Zoo untergebracht, der jedoch verlegt wurde. In den Jahren 1864 bis 1890 kamen mehrere Gebäude hinzu, so dass man von einem Museumskomplex sprechen kann.

    Das Museum ist gegliedert in die Abteilungen Archäologie, Numismatik, Kunst, Anthropologie, Zoologie, Botanik und Geologie; daneben gibt es spezielle Abteilung für Kinder (Children’s Museum), zwei Bibliotheken und ein Theatergebäude.

    Höhepunkte der Sammlungen sind die Funde aus den Ausgrabungen im Bereich des buddhistischen Stupasvon Amaravati und die südindischen Bronzen aus der Zeit der tamilischen Chola-Dynastie (10.–12. Jahrhundert), von denen jedoch die schönsten über diverse Museen der Welt verteilt sind. Außerdem gibt es eine Galerie mit römischen Funden, darunter auch in Indien gefundene Münzen."

    Nach 1.5 Stunden schließt das Museum leider schon und wir wollen noch einmal zu der großen Mall fahren.
    Unser Rikscha Fahrer hat tatsächlich auf uns gewartet und verlangt von uns auf einmal 400 Rupien (wie war das noch mit 50 Rupien?)
    Wir geben ihm die vereinbarten 100 Rupien und suchen uns eine neue Rikscha.

    Den Abend lassen wir gemütlich im Chilis ausklingen. Bevor es in einigen Stunden zurück nach Deutschland geht.

    Über Dienstag, den 27.03 gibt es nicht viel zu berichten.
    Da ich mal wieder bei der Wärme mit meinem Kreislauf zu kämpfen habe und leicht angeschlagen bin lassen wir es an diesem Tag ruhiger angehen.

    Der letzte Blogeintrag folgt dann in den nächsten Tagen.

    Bis bald.
    Eure Anni und Conny
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  • Day30

    צ'אננאיי

    February 13, 2016 in India

    עיר ענקית עם אוכלוסייה בגודל של ישראל, וחוץ מהמוזיאון אין פה הרבה

  • Day287

    Chennai

    October 15, 2017 in India

    Chennai, maybe the noisiest, busiest and dirtiest city I've been before. My arrival was unspectacular, everything went well. Like in all over asia the tuktuk driver awaited me. I'm the rich white guy. :-)
    Very disappointed they realized that I'm on a budget and not willed to pay between 250 and 500 rupees for the ride to my hostel. I waited half an hour for my bus und eventually I paid nothing because it was to crowded.
    The road to my hostel is dirty, stuffed with cars, honking all the time mostly without any reason. The Indian are very friendly. If I smile to them, they smile back. Something I miss in Germany. I found my hostel, a good recognizable red door and a Hugh lollipop made clear: this is the red lollipop hostel! My first impression: very clean, well structured and super friendly. The staff is helpful and always good for an advice. He showed me good places for dinner and I asked him if he speaks Tamil! So maybe he could teach my some basics, just in case... His answer was surprising. There no reason to learn Tamil because everyone speaks English very well and if I talk Tamil none will understand me...
    OK, I'll try it somewhere else.

    I went to the common room play guitar and meet some people. Guitar playing usually connects people... Not if just frenchies are in the hostel. Tried to get in touch with them, started a kind of a conversation but they weren't interested... Maybe a bit stereotype but this is common for frenchies.

    I slept well, but woke up way to early. 3:30am fell asleep again and was awake at 7am.
    After a poorly breakfast (two slices of sweet bread and my first cup of Indian milk tea) in a food stall, I went to the bus station and took the bus to Pondicherry, a city Lena recommended me.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Chennai, تشيناي, চেন্নাই, Çennai, Горад Чэнаі, Ченай, चेन्नई, Ченнаи, Čennaí, Çenay, Τσεννάι, Ĉenajo, چنای, Chennai - சென்னை, ચેન્નઈ, Čenaj, צנאי, Csennai, Չեննայ, MAA, チェンナイ, ჩენაი, ಚೆನ್ನೈ, 첸나이, Maderaspatanum, Čenajus, Čennai, ചെന്നൈ, Ченнай, ချန်နိုင်းမြို့, Madras, ଚେନ୍ନାଇ, ਚੇਨਈ, Ćennaj, چنائی, چينای, चेन्नै, චෙන්නායි, Ченај, చెన్నై, เจนไน, Ченнаї, چینائی, 金奈, 清奈

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