St Mary's Church

Established in 1679 AD, the St Mary’s Church is located inside the Fort St George complex. It is one of the oldest Anglican English churches, whose 5-ft-thick walls are believed to be explosion proof. Some of the unique adornments of the church include a Bible that dates back to 1660 AD, few silver plates and a pure silver plaque, along with numerous other important artefacts. A beautiful gallery falls to the western end of the church and rests on carved Burma teak pillars. The gallery can be accessed via two curved staircases from outside. The church has been built in the European style of architecture, with the structure being constructed in a rectangular shape. The building is made of polished lime and mortar and has a uniquely curved roof, along with wooden decorations and exquisitely intricate glass work. Located in the heart of the city, the church sees thousands of footfalls every year.

St Mary's Church

Gujarati Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Mandir

The Gujarati Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Mandir is credited with being one of the first Jain temples in South India. Home to three beautifully carved gopurams (gateways) and five doors, the temple built completely in marble is a fine example of glass work.  The structure differs in construction from other buildings as the use of iron has been totally avoided in the temple. The idol that sits inside the premises is made of quartz.  In the central hall, one can see extensive glass work due to which the hall glows with a spectrum of colours.  It is believed that the architects, the stone carvers and the workers who were involved in the construction of the temple were hired from Rajasthan.  The deity worshipped in the temple is Lord Parsvanatha, the 23rd tirthankara (saint) of the Jains.

Gujarati Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Mandir

Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram

The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram is one of the most popular spots to practice yoga in Chennai. This is one of the foremost institutions for yoga therapy in India. The centre follows the philosophy called yoga for the individual. This approach is called viniyoga and is used to create a tailored programme for individuals. The designed programmes are used to access the core of the problem, uproot it and then treat it. Yoga is not treated as a generalised fitness regime here but as a dedicated course of therapy. If one wants to be a part of the centre, it is done through an interview and a physical assessment test. As a part of the course, the would-be student presents the problems and the experts prescribe asanas and other exercises to cure it. While the student carries out the prescribed exercises, regular meetings are also scheduled with teachers to reassess the problem and instruct the students as and when necessary.

The building of the centre also noteworthy. There are small therapy rooms where the consultant examine the practitioner, who is then guided through steps of meditation. To create a peaceful environment, airy and polish-floored practice area is kept minimalistic.

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Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram

Kapaleeswarar Temple

Believed to be one of the oldest and most revered temples of Chennai, Kapaleeswarar Temple is a shrine of Lord Shiva. In the temple, the wife of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati is worshipped in the incarnation of Goddess Karpagambal. She is believed to be the 'Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree'.  As a ritual of Friday worship, Goddess Karpagambal is offered a garland made of gold coins called kaasu mala.

A classic example of Dravidian style of architecture, the best known feature of the temple is 37-m-high gopuram (gateway). On entering the temple, one is greeted with the view of a sculpture of a holy saint named Gnanasambandar. There are beautiful bronze carvings of the 63 Shaivate saints and one of the oldest trees of Chennai, Punnai tree, is in the courtyard of the temple.

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Kapaleeswarar Temple

San Thomas Basilica

A beautiful Roman catholic cathedral in pristine white, this church has a Portuguese origin, and dates back to the 16th century. It was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style in 1896 and is said to be the final resting place of St Thomas, the Apostle. A small cross on the tomb wall contains a tiny bone fragment referred to as the ‘Relic of St Thomas’. An underground tomb chapel is worshipped here and the devout believe that sand from the tomb has miraculous healing powers. A beautiful stained glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St Thomas and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques that depict the stations of the cross. The cathedral also has a 3-ft-high statue of Virgin Mary believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543.

San Thomas Basilica