The George Town neighborhood of Chennai is centered around the 17th-century Fort St. George. Here you'll find many of the city's historic buildings, including the fort itself, which now houses the Chennai High Court. George Town also boasts colorful markets that tourists can visit independently or as part of a walking tour.
This neighborhood has been growing ever since Fort St. George was constructed for the East India Company in 1640. Though it's not as popular with tourists as the Mylapore neighborhood, this area offers plenty of worthwhile sights, including colonial architecture, fascinating houses of worship, and winding market streets offering everything from textiles to surgical instruments. Join a walking tour to get the most out of this culturally rich district that’s off the beaten path.
Things to Know Before You Go
- George Town is a must-visit for shopaholics and photographers, who will appreciate the colorful market streets.
- George Town is best explored on foot, so wear comfortable footwear and sunscreen.
- If you’re shopping in the markets here, don’t forget to bargain.
How to Get There
George Town is sandwiched between the Basin Bridge Railway Yard to the west and Chennai Beach to the East, and encompasses most of what's north of Chennai Fort and south of Old Jail Road. The area is linked to the rest of the city by public transit, and it’s a few minutes’ walk from Chennai Central. It's about a 15-minute drive or a half-hour on public transportation from Mylapore.
When to Get There
Travelers are best off exploring George Town on foot, and Sundays have less traffic than other days of the week. No matter what day you visit, avoid the worst heat by coming early in the morning or after dark, particularly if you happen to be in Chennai during the sweltering months of April and May. To enjoy the markets, avoid visiting during the monsoon season of June through September.
A short walk from Chennai Port, Parry's Corner is a hub of banking and trading and among the busiest parts of town. It was named after a Welsh trader, Thomas Parry, who moved to Chennai at the end of the 1780s and began to set up businesses across the city, soon earning prominence as one of the best-known merchants in Chennai. A memorial to Parry stands at St. George's Cathedral.