Temple trails, Rajnikanth-devotees, 200% succulence all-year-long, Jallikattu all these terminologies become familiar to an individual when they shift to “Namma Chennai”. These are just some of the characters that well defines the “Cultural hub of South India”. Not so different from any other city, Chennai is also deeply-connected in preserving its homegrown culture. So, if you have plans to move in here, there are some of the things you should be aware about this scintillating Chennai city! The first call would perhaps be getting the contacts right and setting up your skills according to the locality you reside in which also includes learning some of the words used here! So, here are some of the convenient tips which help individuals shift sordid to the city, which most people understand when related to the Chetan Bhagat book “2 States”. Shifting to a different city is never an easy task, and this statement only rings truer for a city with a culture as distinct and unique as that of Chennai!
However, these things make moving to Chennai such a great adventure. From the skill-set that you need to possess to the rules you need to keep a check on, here are all the things you need to know before setting your foot in Chennai for the long haul!
Eat like a Local
When you are trying to serve your taste buds in Chennai, serve it like Chennaiites do, there is so much affinity towards shown the authenticity of Chennai food that your taste buds don’t resist! Chennai food never fails to give a life to your tongue so, indulge your taste-buds with some of the most mouth-watering delicacies like idli, dosa, vadai, porial, parotta…the list goes endless. Besides enjoying their breakfast, lunch and dinner, Chennaiites also indulge themselves with tiffin, which is habitually a mini meal taken in place of a breakfast/ early dinner. Treat yourself with these delicious and rationally priced south Indian meal at the city’s many homegrown restaurants, cafes and bhavans. Probably, the next thing in the list would be learning the localities language. Also, keep in mind that many people may not know how to converse in Hindi, but they do speak English. So, communicating won’t be a big barrier. Talking about the food plate, the roadside foods are to die for and are also easy on your wallet, so make sure you give it a try! Plus, the iconic curd rice is another crowd-puller and people’s favourite!
Join a Turtle Walk
The beaches in Chennai have a great view and many street foods, species and crowd to look forward to, namely Besant Nagar, Marina, Neelankarai and Muthukadu are historic nesting sights for the endangered species of Oliver Ridley sea turtles. During their nesting period which is from December to April, several volunteer organizations emissary the beaches at night to gather these turtle eggs and shuffle them to safer territory. Once these turtle hatchlings develop, they are released into the water for expansion. Being part of these conservation efforts makes it a rewarding involvement on the list of to-do-things in Chennai!
Drive on ECR
If you’re in the lookout for a cityscape-view, then get your brain-cells running towards the East Coast Road (ECR). The attractive picturesque of ECR along the Bay of Bengal stretch from Chennai to Cuddalore along the southern coast. There are several spots available to stop along the way and have a scenic view which, including the ancient temple town of Mahabalipuram, which is about 60 kilometres from Chennai. Other sights of interest include the ISCKON Temple, Cholamandal Artists’ Village and the heritage village of Dakshinchitra.
Follow the Temple Trail
One of the many interesting facets of Chennai is its religious approach. This historic city is the home-branch to many antique temples with a very rich mythological and spiritual attention that seeks several guests coming from near and far to invoke blessings. The most significant and popular temples include the Parthasarthy Temple and Kapaleeswarar Temple. If you wish to visit the temples, try going on a weekday as it’s unusually crowded on the weekends.
The Offo Weather Condition!
In Chennai, summer is always on a go, in digits it raises to about 40 degrees during peak summers and the humidity often crosses 90% most of the time and people who are new to this city seems quite literally hot! It would mostly be like working out without going to the gym so, always be prepared to sweat it out be it day in or a day out. There is a silver lining in an incessantly sunny sky as Chennai does have some amazing, cool-breeze providing beaches that offer some break amidst the chaotic routine and ends up giving a quiet evening. Make it a point to visit the famed Marina beach and Besant Nagar beach to enjoy an unhurried amble in the evenings.
Change Yourself into an Early Bird!
If you’re an AM person you’ll have a pretty dark time in Chennai as the sun sets out early and you need to cover yourself with sheets! Characteristically, all shops and work spots open by 6:30 am and the normal work hours are measured to be from 8 am to 4 pm. The city owns its own clock and runs on its own time, following the phrase “Early to Bed, Early to Rise” the mantra you need to get used to when you shift to Chennai. Let your taste buds have a great feast with the sweet-as-honey idlis at the Udupi or take a visit to the nearby temples for an early darshan to start your day on a positive and energetic note!
Keep a check on your neighbourhood!
Depending on the locality of your house, you may dimensionally face somewhat conservative or similarly liberal rules. Commonly, house-owners create this awkward vibe on renting houses to bachelors, spinsters or even live-in couples. Another important point of contract amongst these owners is the battle between the “Vegetarian vs Non-Vegetarian” foods so, make sure you have an honest dialog about the rules so that there are no arguments later on!
A City with a culturally Vibrant Character
Chennai parties and celebrates with so much vigour and enthusiasm all on its own and contains a list of festivals which is worth taking a break and enjoying your heart-out! Pongal and Diwali are one such occasion where malls are filled with people purchasing for a hell lot of products, the temples crowded for numerous darshans and the skies filled with crackers along with your tummies full with scrumptious food! Another controversial yet, famous sport-festival that has caused much argument is Jallikattu, which is also celebrated and played by many.
Like any other citizens do, Chennaiites too love their language and that is one such quality which stands out in every person you meet in Chennai. And Tamil being the widest language which is spoken in almost all the parts of Chennai, this language has a history of a 2000-year-old heritage and now it becomes understandable why the people of Chennai love their language. Nevertheless, this quality is often misunderstood by many for superiority or averseness to converse in other languages specifically, Hindi which is the most spoken language in India. The best way to avoid these misconceptions or confusions is to pick up a few basic words or phrases in the local language or at least put in some effort, which the people of Chennai are most beholden of and they will do a whole lot to help you!
The city of countless distances
Chennai is often referred to as ‘The City of Great Distances’. Being bordered by the sea on one side, Chennai has both sides which are grown inland and along the coast. And going-through the past few years of development, the city’s urban accumulation zone has grown at a humungous rate, meaning traveling from one end to the other could stretch 100 km. Traveling by road between several toll zones and various destinations in Chennai could be a tedious task but gratefully, Chennai has a very well-resourced railway system with 3 separate modes in terms of the local line, MRTS and Metro rail that makes your travel time enjoyable and adventurous. The Kathipara flyover near Chennai Airport is one of Asia’s largest clover-leaf flyovers ever constructed!
Chennai’s traditional tagline
With the development made on great strides in recent decades, Chennai’s people are still considered to be slightly on the conservative side. Projecting some simple examples like smoking in public, predominantly for women or public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention and comments. While there have not been any cases where this outlook or attitude has run into causing any nuisance or attacks but, the air can be slightly obstructive if you come from a more substantial place.
Chennai is considered to be among the most happening cities, inclusive of the great shops, awesome bargains and fully loaded customers apart from its metropolitan development and economic stature. The people of Chennai are thought to be conservative and traditional though, that just sums up half the truth! The youngsters keep the city life with a range of events, awareness programs and dance competitions that keeps the people of Chennai entertained and aware. Night clubs like Hell Freezes Over and Dublin have dance-tripping and beat forming music and loads of fun. The lovely beach in Mahabalipuram is simply eye-catching! The traditional form of dance, Bharatanatyam is something you don’t want to miss. Kalakshetra is a place where you get a chance to explore the history of Tamilnadu. Well, it just keeps going on when it comes to describing Chennai. This Indian city which welcomes people with a Vanakam never lets its people sleep. Just explore SingaraChennai and go bananas with its inspiring history, amazing food and heart-warming people! In short, Chennai is one of the cities which is regarded as an Icon of both Culture, Civilization, Tradition, and Modernization!