7 Historical Places in Chennai Nobody Will Tell You

7 Historical Places in Chennai Nobody Will Tell You

Historical Places in Chennai

Chennai is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is a very important city in a lot of aspects. Till 1996, it was called Madras. It is the largest city in this state, in terms of both population as well as area. It is situated on the Coromandel Coast bordered on one side by the Bay of Bengal.

It consists of many historical landmarks worth visiting; some of them have made the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include temples, museums, forts, and libraries.

Read here about some of the lesser-known historical places in Chennai that not a lot of guidebooks recommend to you. These should be enough to entice you into visiting this very beautiful city at least once!

Fort St George

The history – nay, the very existence of Chennai began with the construction of Fort St George by the British East India Company, a commercial trading company that arrived in India a few years back for spices. It eventually began colonizing the most important and strategic locations in the subcontinent, and one of them was the area that is now Chennai.

Originally built in the year 1640 to serve as a trading post, this was one of the first establishments that the British made in India. It soon developed into a real city and rose to importance to both the locals as well as the colonizers.

Inside this, you will find fine buildings—one hosting a museum, one a church, etc. You can explore the fort, especially if you’re a history buff and curious about the history of Chennai. There are interesting displays in the museum of some very old rifles that were once used in the 17th and the 18th centuries.

Government Museum

Located just 7 km from Fort St George, the Government Museum in Chennai is the second oldest museum in India, after the Indian Museum in Calcutta. It is constructed in the Indo-Saracenic (Indo-Gothic) style. This style of construction was mostly used by the British and it became a sort of revival of the European Gothic architecture.

It hosts a lot of curious exhibits from the subjects of archaeology, art, anthropology, numismatics, etc. There are a lot of interesting things for you to see here. There is also a museum for children to engage in when the adults are busy.

There is something for everybody’; so if you’re not interesting in learning history, you can go for science. Or if dinosaurs are your thing, you can entertain yourself there.

Adyar Theosophical Society

The concept of theosophy is very widely known and accepted by some people across the globe, founded in the 19th century by Madame Blavatsky. It revolves around the belief that god is an essence that is spread across the universe as an absolute reality and that one can only reach him via mystical experience. It is based on the ancient Roman and Greek philosophies of Gnosticism and Neo-Platonism, considered today to be an occult movement.  

In India, Chennai was one of the centers of theosophy; hence, a building for the Theosophical Society was established in Adyar in the year 1875, during British colonial rule. Followers from the country included eminent persons such as Annie Besant, Rukmini Devi Arundale, George Arundale, and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Here in the Adyar Theosophical Society, you can explore the vast library that has numerous books on philosophy and religion. This will be a great source for excitement for those visitors looking for self-retrospection and seeking to understand the world. It will give them a different perspective on life than they might be familiar with.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

One of the lesser-known places in Chennai is the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, one of fascinating architecture and incredible carvings. According to local sources, the history of this temple dates to as early as the 7th century.

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture – a style that originated and was popularized in southern India – the Kapaleeshwarar Temple reserves its dedication to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, one of the religion’s triumvirate. It was said to have been built by the Pallava dynasty.

From the months of March to April, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple celebrates the festival of Brahmotsatvam. Devotees flock to the celebrations and participate in the various poojas that take place here.


The Higginbotham’s is a bookstore, the oldest surviving one in the city of Chennai. It was first opened by Abel Joshua Higginbotham, a librarian who reports say arrived in India as a British stowaway. He was said to have been evicted from the ship after being discovered; he happened to be thrown out in the Madras port. He opened this bookstore in the year 1905.

Today, more than two hundred years later, we see it still in business today. Originally started on a small scale, today, it has gathered a vast collection of books in a gigantic Gothic-palace-like building, with several shelves, all filled to the brim with books of every genre and size.

If you are a lover of books, this is the best place for you to explore and maybe add to your collection of books back home.

All set to visit and explore the most historical places in Chennai? The city is easily accessible by plane. You can book your flights from Atlanta to Chennai now, only with Indian Eagle!


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