Despite its rapid growth, Chennai has managed to retain much of its rich cultural and religious heritage. Many of the city’s most important religious sites, both Hindu and Christian, are located in the south, including the San Thome Cathedral and Kapaleshwar Temple. Fort St George, located in northern Chennai, was the birthplace of the British Raj, and the Fort Museum’s collection of memorabilia takes you back in time to colonial Madras.
The city of Chennai offers a dizzying example of modern Indian life, but to dig deeper into South Indian culture, spend the day at Dakshinachitra. This heritage village near Chennai is made up of several rural, open-air structures complete with artisans using traditional methods to make everything from ceramics to puppets. The village hosts regular dance and musical performances and operates a restaurant specializing in South Indian cuisine.