Chennai, affectionately referred to as the ‘Gateway of India’, is a popular tourist destination and is amongst the most populous urban areas in India. Visitors booking flights to Chennai will arrive in the South Eastern coast of India, and experience a tropical climate with the city buffeted by rainfall from the Monsoon and winds from cyclones that pass through the Bay of Bengal seasonally.
In January, Chennai Sangamam celebrates the Tamil Harvest Festival of Pongal which symbolises abundance from a fruitful harvest. Locals and tourists can create unforgettable memories through entertainment such as temple celebrations, decorated cows, martial arts, classic music, street plays, folk music and much more. Chennai Sangaman is India’s largest open festival which welcomes over 2,500 artists and 4,500 performance in venues such as beaches and parks.
January is a busy month of celebrations for Chennai as it also hosts Chennai Dance and Music Festival which is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Visitors take flights to Chennai to participate in this celebration of South Indian dance culture, several venues around the city host performances of vocal and instrumental music as well as dance from over 2,000 participants. The city comes alive with festivities throughout this unmissable cultural extravaganza.
The cheapest time to book flights to Chennai is during the summer season between April and June. At this time the weather is hot and humid, reaching up to 42 degrees Celsius during the day. In the evening, temperatures cool off, dropping down to 25 degrees Celsius. The Monsoon season brings lots of rain between the months of June and September, continuing from October to December. If you don’t mind the weather, you can find cheap flights during the school holidays in July and August.
Chennai is the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu and has a gloriously rich culture, which reflects in its Dravidian heritage. Chennai remains a cultural hub, where classical dance, architecture, music, crafts and sculpture interweave into its artistic fabric.
Festivals occur throughout the year, one of the most famous ones being Pongal. This festival marks the beginning of a 6-month period, when the sun makes its journey northwards. Pongal usually begins in the second week of January and lasts for 4 days. December is another exciting time to visit, to attend the music festival.
Guests are treated to a host of performances, from Tamil Nadu’s most prominent artists. A variety of dance festivals are staged throughout the year and you should check out Bharat Natyam. This classical dance is beautifully expressive and synonymous to Tamil Nadu culture.
Marina Beach is a top tourist hotspot and honeymooning couples can enjoy romantic long walks alongside the ocean. There is a great selection of restaurants and natural scenic surroundings make this location a favourite for Hindu and Islamic festivals.
Trains are a reliable and convenient way to travel around the city and can be a preferred option over taxis as roads are quite congested. There are two main long distance trains that connect Chennai to the nearby cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Make sure you book your train tickets in advance if you are planning to visit any of them. The suburban network train service travels across the city. Buses are another option and ideal when travelling to Marina Beach.
Chennai International Airport (MAA) is located across the areas of Tirusulam, Meenambakkam and Pallavaram, around 16 km south-west of the city centre. Most travellers catch prepaid taxis to the city. Tirusulam train station is also located nearby, opposite the airport. Suburban trains from this station take passengers to Egmore in the city centre. The journey time is around 40 minutes in duration.
There are also bus services to the city, however the bus stops are located a considerable distance away from new airport terminals. You can also book airport transfers online in advance. Rental car desks are also situated throughout the airport.