The City of Chennai is India's fourth biggest city, and it boasts the second-longest seashore in the world. Primarily a commercial city, the Port of Chennai is a center for India's thriving movie industry, and it is home to a large commercial sector. It has a more conservative nature than other large cities in India. While it is not one of India's most popular tourist destinations, the Port of Chennai does have attractions and activities that merit a visit.
The Port of Chennai is a coastal city on the thermal equator that has hot humid weather most of the year. Temperatures can get very hot in May and June (around 40 °C or 104 °F), and the coolest month, January, can reach 19 °C (66 °F). Most of its rain comes from September through December, and the Port of Chennai has been hit by cyclones. Average temperatures in the Port of Chennai range from a high of 37 °C (98 °F) in June to a low of 21 °C (69 °F) in January.
Visitors to the Port of Chennai will want to see the Birla Planetarium at Kotturpuram, the country's most modern planetarium. Part of the Periyar Science and Technology Center, the planetarium was built in honor of B.M. Birla, a visionary industrialist. Visitors are thrilled by the cosmic shows, and the museum offers eight galleries with more than 500 exhibits covering physical science, electronics and communication, transport, energy, life sciences, materials sciences, innovation, and international dolls and children.
Fort St. George was built in the Port of Chennai by the British East India Company in 1640, and scholars believe it was the first British structure in India. Built to be a trading post, the fort was the birthplace of the modern Indian Army. Within the fort is St. Mary's Church, one of the oldest surviving British churches in India. The fort's 46-meter tall flagstaff was made of teakwood, and its remains still stand. The Port of Chennai's Fort St. George Museum holds reminders of the British personnel who manned the fort, including letters, coins, paintings, and medals. The long upstairs hallway was used for public meetings and parties, and a lighthouse was placed atop the building in 1976. A statue of Lord Cornwallis with Tipu Sultan, his two sons, and officials from the East India Company greets visitors in front of the museum. Fort St. George is still used by the Indian Army.
One of the Port of Chennai's busiest neighborhoods is Egmore. Founded in 1851, Egmore is near the city center. Served by the Egmore Railway Station, the neighborhood contains many of the Port of Chennai's tourist attractions, including the Government Museum and the National Arts Gallery. In addition to being a central metropolitan station, the Egmore Railway Station is a local architectural treasure designed by Robert Chisholm. It boasts domes much like those built by Mughal rulers of the past.
The Government Museum in the Port of Chennai contains some of Asia's best collections. Museum sections focus on geology, zoology, botany, numismatics, anthropology, archaeology, and sculpture. There are four art galleries for Hindu Sculpture, Bronze, Amravathi, and National Art. Industrial arts are represented in the museum. There is also an interactive section for children that includes the Civilization Gallery, the Transportaiton Gallery, and the Kids' Corner.
Travelers who want to visit the Port of Chennai by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.