Posted 17 February 2023 in Art and Festival

Why you should visit Chennai for a festive celebration

Chennai, the cultural capital of South India, formerly known as Madras, is one of the major tourist destinations located in Tamil Nadu. It is a perfect blend of rich cultural heritage and modern development. It can also be called the gateway to the south. You can see the famous temple of Mahabalipuram and famous places like Madurai, Kancheepuram, and Puducherry. However, if you want to see every aspect of Chennai and all the tourist places, then even a week's vacation will not be enough for you.

Here are reasons why you should include Chennai in your itinerary for a festive celebration.

 1. Pongal

Pongal is the most significant harvest festival in the state, and it is held across the whole state. It is traditionally observed from the 13th to the 16th of January and lasts for four days.

It allows people to express their gratitude or respect to the Sun God for providing energy for agricultural purposes, which is why it is celebrated. Traditionally, the first rice of the season is prepared as a homage to the Sun God, according to local custom. A Pongal supper is a customary dinner in the southern states, prepared during different holidays celebrated in that region.

A month before the festival, female members of the household create Kolam designs on the doorways of their residences using rice and coloured powder. Margazhi is the month during which homes are whitewashed and prepared for the harvest festival of Pongal.

 The houses are decorated in preparation for the next day, and buffalo horns are painted to match the décor. Sugar cane is a significant crop to this day.

2. The Tamil New Year

The Tamil New Year, also known as Puthandu, is celebrated around the middle of April, which is the first month of the Tamil calendar. The beginning of Puthandu is characterised by the women's creation of magnificent Kolams to be placed at the entrances of their homes.

Mangoes are of great significance for the Tamil new year. Besides this, the flowering Neem trees are also seen in abundance during this time of the year, which the locals largely utilise in their dishes. A variety of items such as gold, betel leaves, nuts, and fruits are used by individuals during the day. If you are planning a trip to celebrate Tamil New Year, then do visit Kanni temple. Please note, it is vital to take a bath before visiting the Kanni temple.

3. Natyanjali Dance Festival 

In Sanskrit, dancing is referred to as 'Natya.' An offering is called 'Anjali.' On a specific day of the week, the dancers put on a spectacle in honour of the one and only Lord Nataraja. This event is best celebrated at the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. 

Around 300-400 dancers from all around India gather to demonstrate their unique styles, which includes Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam, and Kathak, among others. It is observed in either February or March, depending on the year. Ashwini marks the completion of a five-day festival that begins on Maha Shivratri and concludes on Ashwini. The dancers are all dressed in traditional attire that reflects their ethnic origins.

4. Thaipusam

This festival is observed in Tamil Nadu on a full moon day during the Tamil month of Thai, corresponding to the month's beginning. The celebration is held on the first day of the month of Thai. This day marks the birth of Lord Subramaniam, Lord Shiva's younger son, who was born on this day in ancient times. This is the day when those with faith take and uphold their vows. They pray to the Lord for assistance, and when it comes, they honour their commitments. 

This is a day of repentance. The major attraction is the act of taking the 'Kavadi.’ The 'Kavadi Bearer' is dressed in the traditional 'Pandaram' (garb). Additionally, the devotee carries two pots linked to a long pole to the temple. These pots hold rice, milk, and any other items the devotee would want to offer the lord.

 Persons who pierce their bodies with sharp instruments also take vows since they have a strong feeling of connection to God while experiencing no pain. A devotee must walk through burning coals with the Kavadi over his shoulder to perform the Agni-Kavadi sacrifice, which is the most arduous of all Kavadi sacrifices.

5. The Mahamaham Festival

This Hindu festival, known as the Kumbakonam Festival, is celebrated once every 12 yr in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, in a tiny town known as Kumbakonam. It is the largest of its kind in the world. Because it is considered holy, people go from all over the nation to bathe in the well-known 'Mahamaham tank' on this particular day of the year. 

In the Tamil calendar, it happens most often during the month of Masi, which corresponds to February and March. Once every twelve years, Jupiter passes through the constellation of Leo, marking a significant event in the solar system.

In all, the tank covers 6.2 acres and is surrounded on three sides by temples and wells dedicated to various gods. Morning prayers at the temple precede a dip in one of the temple's twenty wells, followed by a visit to the Kumbeswarar Temple, a dip in the holy tank, and a dip in the River Cauvery.

6. Thiruvaiyaru

This festival, which takes place in Thiruvaiyaru, a town in the Tamil Nadu district of Thanjavur, is one of the most significant in the nation and is hosted in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. This music festival, which takes place every year in January to celebrate the great musician Saint Thyagaraja, presents various musical acts. Saint Thyagaraja attained samadhi during the month of Pushya Bahula Panchami, and his death is honoured on the same day every year. 

The event will take place at his samadhi, which is situated on the banks of the Cauvery River and is open to the public. 

7. Deepam Karthigai

 In Tamil, the festival is referred to as the 'Festival of Lights,' and it takes place during the month of Karthigai (from November to mid-December). This occurs on a rare day when the moon is aligned with the constellation Karthigai, which appears just once a year.

One of the fundamental tenets of this event is to keep harmful influences out of one's life while allowing positive effects into one's life. The state of Tamil Nadu celebrates this occasion for ten days. Everyone is dressed in brand new clothing and has a good time without caring about anything. It is their tradition to present gifts and make an effort to see as many of their relatives as possible during the celebration.

Read more - Why Chennai is South Indian paradise waiting to be discovered

Travel tips

Because Chennai is quite hot most of the year, we suggest the following: 

  • Bring a salwar suit with you if you decide to visit one of the nearby temples.
  • Consider adding a BB cream to your shopping list
  • When travelling, wear as little makeup as possible and carry an umbrella, deodorant, and sunglasses with you.
  • Always have a supply of wet wipes at hand and stay hydrated. 

According to surveys, there is a high probability that you might face a language barrier when commuting. We suggest booking cabs or other transportation using smartphone apps like Ola, Uber, or Meru. This saves you the hassle since you avoid the long discussions.

How to reach Chennai?

  • By Air: Chennai International Airport, India's third busiest airport, is barely seven km away from the city centre. It is equipped with two terminals. Almost all international and domestic airlines provide direct flights to Chennai's terminal, known as Anna International Airport, which links the city to the vast majority of key international and domestic locations across the globe. One can use IndiGo as the IndiGo flight routes are convenient, and services are tailored according to the needs of the passengers with many salient features. Within walking distance of the airport, taxi booths with pre-paid metres are set up, from where you may hail a cab and drive in comfort to your destination.
  • By Bus: The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal (CMBT) is one of the busiest bus terminals in the world. Approximately seven state-owned companies provide bus service to and from different destinations across South India. Tirupati, Puducherry, Coimbatore, and Tirunelveli are just a few cities where they provide services. When travelling to neighbouring towns, a variety of bus types are available, including luxury, semi-deluxe, hi-tech, rajahamsa executive, and sleeper buses, as well as shuttle buses.
  • By Train: Tambaram (code MS), which serves the city's suburbs, is the Southern Railway's headquarters and is operated by three major railway stations: Chennai Central (code MAS), Chennai Egmore (code MS), which is located only two km from the city centre, and Chennai Egmore (code MS), which is located less than two km from the city centre.
  • By Road: Chennai's road network is outstanding, and the city is well connected to most adjacent towns and cities through highways and expressways. It is feasible to access key Indian cities such as Kolkata, Bengaluru (330 km), Madurai (326 km), Tiruvallur (47 miles), Nellore (181 km), Vellore (136 km), and Puducherry using five national roads (162 km). Several taxi businesses, such as Clear Car Rental, Avis, and Carzonrent, provide a wide variety of cab rental options to travellers visiting the area.


Nilgiri Mountains, the magnificent temples of Mamallapuram and Chidamabaram, and the charming city of Puducherry - these must-visit weekend spots in and around the city of Chennai are a few of the many options available to you. Pack your bags and head to Chennai to discover some of the beauties of the world.

Related travel blogs 

2000+ Daily flights
80+ Domestic Destinations
30+ International Destinations
500 Mn+ happy passengers
300+ Fleet tall