Chennai FAQs

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Area geography

Located on the eastern coast of India in the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai lies on a flat coastal plain with an average elevation of 6 meters. Since it also lies on the Thermal Equator, Chennai remains hot for most of the year. However, its vicinity to the sea lends it some cool breezes.

Typical of any coastal area, Chennai too has a tropical climate. Based on land, Chennai is divided in three regions - Sandy (Adyar, George Town, Santhome), Clayey (T Nagar, Perambur, Anna Nagar) and Hard-rock areas (Guindy, Velachery). There are two small rivers namely Cooum River (in the centre) and Adyar River (in south) that navigate through the city.

Cellular service for tourists

Chennai boasts of an excellent telecommunication system. More than 10 mobile phone companies operate GSM and CDMA networks in the city wherein four of them are landline firms. Also, mobile internet is widely available across all major mobile networks.

Wifi internet

Being the metropolitan and capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai enjoys great internet and Wi-Fi connectivity. Not many know that Chennai was the first Indian city to have Wi-Fi facility. Whether it is hotels, restaurants or cafés, they all offer either Wi-Fi or broadband internet. Besides that, there are a number of cyber cafes in the city to ensure you are well-connected to the cyber world.

Drinking laws

The legal drinking age in Chennai is 21 years.

Tipping

Tipping is often welcome in India by most of the waiters and clerks. If food and beverage outlets add a service charge in the final bill, tipping is not necessary. However, small tips for good service are always appreciated.

Safety

Chennai is generally considered relatively safe for tourists. However, petty crimes like pickpocketing or bag snatching are common. It’s advisable to always be cautious of your surroundings and avoid visiting isolated areas.

General information

Languages spoken

Tamil, English and Hindi

Time zones

GMT + 05.30 hours

Major religions

Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Tamils

Domestic international calling codes

+91 44

Electricity standards

The standard voltage in India is around 220 volts and typically a two or three pin plug is used by everyone.

Common greetings

Hello: Alo!/ Vanakkam

Good Morning: Kaalai Vanakkam

Good Evening: Maalai Vanakkam

Goodbye: Poittu varén!

Thank you: Romba Nandri

Sorry: Mannikkanum!

Do you speak English? Nienga english pésuviengala

I do not understand: Enakku puriyala!

No: illai

Yes: Amaam

I don’t know: Enakku theriyaathu

How are you? Eppati irukkinga? (or) Nalamaa?

What is your name? Unga péranna?

My name is: En péru ……

Where is the washroom? Kazhivarai Marundukadai

Is this vegetarian? (point to a dish in a menu card):

Where is this? (point to a monument, amenity on a paper/map): Engéa

How much does this cost? Idhu evvalavu?

Too expensive! Mikavum vilaiyuyarnta

A little cheaper: Oru ciṟiya malivāṉa

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Emergency numbers

Police: 100
Traffic Police: 103
Fire Control: 101
Ambulance: 102, Apollo Ambulance: 1066, India Tourism Development Corporation
Address: 29 Dr. P.V. Cherian Crescent, Egmore, 600008
Tel: +91 44 28211782