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Top Temples and Churches in Chennai

Top Temples and Churches in Chennai

As the location of the first British settlement in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is peppered with religious monuments. Hindu temples and Christian churches showcase the unique heritage, architecture, and religious traditions of South India. Here are our top picks of temples and churches in Chennai.

Kanchipuram

Forty-five miles (72 kilometers) southwest of Chennai, Kanchipuram is known as the City of 1,000 Temples, though only about 120 remain standing today. Kanchipuram’s complex of ancient temples spans a wide range of dates and dynasties, making it an interesting place to see how South Indian architecture evolved over time.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

One of Chennai’s most emblematic sacred structures, this Dravidian-style temple in the district of Mylapore is said to have stood here since the 7th century, though the current complex is a 16th-century reconstruction built after the Portuguese demolished the original. Itsgopuram (gateway tower) is typical of the Dravidian style, with every available inch magnificently decorated with painted sculptures and carvings.

Mahabalipuram

Thirty-one miles (50 kilometers) south of Chennai, Mahabalipuram was an important port for the Pallava kingdom, and its collection of 7th- and 8th-century temples is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the city’s standout sacred structures are the intricately carved 8th-century Shore Temple and the monolithic Five Rathas, each of which was carved from a single rock. 

San Thome Basilica

Built by the British in 1893 to replace an older Portuguese church on the site, this all-white neo-Gothic basilica is—according to Catholic lore—built atop the spot where St. Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, is buried. 

St. Mary’s Church

Located on the grounds of Fort St. George, St. Mary’s Church is Asia’s oldest remaining Anglican church and the oldest masonry building within the 17th-century fortress. While the building itself isn’t as impressive as San Thome Basilica, the small cemetery with its collection of 18th-century tombstones makes for a relaxing stroll. Keep an eye out for the gravestone of Elizabeth Baker, thought to be the oldest British tombstone in India.

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Private Tour: Chennai Sightseeing Including Fort St George and Government MuseumCity Tours

Private Tour: Chennai Sightseeing Including Fort St George and Government Museum

star-4
Experience the wonders of Chennai on this private sightseeing tour. Visit popular landmarks like Fort St George, Madras High Court, the Ripon Building and Government Museum while you explore the capital city of Tamil Nadu with your expert guide. Learn to spot traditional Dravidian (South Indian) and colonial European influences in local architecture and uncover the religious diversity that makes this city so unique. Visit San Thome Cathedral and Kapaleeshwar Temple and wander through the stunning beauty of the local flower market as you gain a true appreciation for this colorful city.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$102.57 
Price varies by group size
From  
$102.57 
Price varies by group size
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Tour: Half-Day Chennai Sightseeing with Government Museum and Kapaleeshwar TempleHalf-day Tours

Private Tour: Half-Day Chennai Sightseeing with Government Museum and Kapaleeshwar Temple

star-4
First time in Chennai? Make the most of a private guide and flexible itinerary on this 4-hour sightseeing tour. Unveil the secrets of Chennai’s rich history and heritage as you tour the fascinating Government Museum and admire the 17th-century Fort St George. Then, keep your camera poised as you drive along the scenic Marina Beach and visit the stunning Kapaleeshwar Temple.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$84.62 
Price varies by group size
From  
$84.62 
Price varies by group size
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Tour: Day Trip to Kanchipuram Temple City from ChennaiPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private Tour: Day Trip to Kanchipuram Temple City from Chennai

star-4
Experience the best of Kanchipuram Temple City on this day trip from Chennai that showcases the religion, culture and architecture of ‘The City of Thousand Temples’. Travel with your knowledgeable guide to some of the most iconic temples, including Ekambareswarar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple and Kailasanathar Temple. Gain a deeper understanding of Hinduism, sample a typical Indian lunch and watch a traditional silk weaving demonstration as part of this private tour from Chennai.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$123.08 
Price varies by group size
From  
$123.08 
Price varies by group size
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Cultural Tour: Day Trip to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from ChennaiPrivate Sightseeing Tours

Private Cultural Tour: Day Trip to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra from Chennai

star-4.5
Enjoy a private cultural tour from Channai to Mahabalipuram and Dakshinachitra that showcases traditional South Indian culture, architecture and religion. Join your expert guide in comfortable air-conditioned transport as you make your way to a Dravidian (South Indian) village. See local artisans at work and gain insight into customs and traditions before wandering the halls of its small but impressive museum. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before making a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Mahabalipuram. Experience the splendor of impressive rock-cut sculptures and decorated temples that offer up striking examples of Dravidian architecture. Transport to and from hotel is also included in this daylong tour with expert local guide from Chennai.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$128.21 
Price varies by group size
From  
$128.21 
Price varies by group size
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation


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