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An expat’s guide for living in Chennai

By Carlton Leisure - 30/01/2015


When expats move to Chennai various apprehensions crosses their mind. Most of the apprehensions are about moving to a new city, culture, language barriers, safety, nightlife, accessibility and shopping options. Chennai the capital of Indian state of Tamil Nadu fares well on most of the counts. In recent decades, this southern city of India has become more cosmopolitan, saving expats from a culture shock. In order to acquaint them with city here we give small pieces of information that will help you adjust in the city faster.

People and Languages

Founded in 1639 this small town is one of the major cities in Indian and over 8.9 million people call it home. A large part of its population constitute of Tamils, which are local residents but it is also home to a sizable population of Telugus, Bengalis, Punjabi, Anglo-Indians and people from North India. Gone are the days when there were only one TV channels, no internet and very small expat numbers. Now the city has grown to become a cosmopolitan where expats can feel at home.

Though Tamil is the official language and most of the communication takes place in Tamil, English speakers face no problems in the city. A large part of its population can understand English if can’t speak. When it comes to the city can be described as melting pot of cultures where a majority Hindu community lives in harmony with Muslims and Christians communities. Due to this cultural diversity this southern city keep holding one or another festivals round the year with Pongal being the biggest one.


Safety is another concern for expats flying to Chennai in order to stay for long periods due to alarming crime rate of Indian metros. Thanks to sound law and order situation of Chennai, the expats feel safe in the city. Yes, petty crimes are common so those new in city shouldn’t carry large sum of money along with them.

The city’s roads get crowded during rush hours on one should avoid busy road during that period. Those using public transport should use a prepaid taxi or auto to reach their destination.


If you are looking for an escape from the hustle-bustle of the city then visiting beaches could be a great idea. The city’s superb coastline has blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches that include Marina Beach and Elliot’s Beach. Marina beach is considered largest urban beach in India. On evenings, the beach is thronged by a large number of tourists. The water at Marina beach is not ideal for swimmers.

Tourist attractions

During their stay in the city, the guests can explore its various tourist attractions. Kapaleeswarar Temple, The Parthasarathy Temple, Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas, St. Thomas Mount, Guindy National Park and Fort St. George are major attractions.