Chennai may not have the glamour of Mumbai, or the long history of Delhi, but it is the biggest metropolis in South India and India’s fourth largest. The weather can get very hot, the streets congested and noisy, and it can seem to be less inviting and appealing than it is, but there is more to Chennai than first impressions.

The city rose to prominence in the 1640s with the arrival of the East India Company who constructed Fort St George and repelled efforts by the competing French colonialists. Today, Chennai retains several colonial monuments and museums of interest, some fine specimens of Raj architecture, pilgrimage sites connected with the apostle Doubting Thomas, superb Chola bronzes at its state museum, and a lively classical music and dance scene.

Chennai is also an excellent base for explorations further afield.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)