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In the last few years, Chennaiites (or Madrasis, whatever you prefer) have been thrilled to see Chennai ranking highly in various lists from leading international publications. From Lonely Planet’s ‘10 Best Places to Visit in 2015’ to BBC’s ‘Top 5 Cities to Live In for the Long Term’ to National Geographic’s ‘Top 10 Food Cities’, Chennai has been firmly fixed in the spotlight. Even The New York Times selected us for their ‘Top 52 Tourist Destinations’ the only Indian city to be featured! To cap it all, the recent India Today survey to determine the best city in India has placed Chennai at the top for the second year in a row. Well, we could have told you that already! Here are a few reasons we think Chennai is the best place to live in.
If you look at Chennai from the air, you’ll be surprised how green it is! Trees abound, even on the borders of large and busy roads, and several ‘poonghas’ or parks have been constructed across the city for the public to walk in. Busy metros can be extremely polluted, but Chennai’s greenery keeps our air relatively fresh.
Chennai isn’t known exclusively for its nightlife when it comes to the entertainment sector, like several other cities. There are plenty of options and a bustling nightlife scene, but there’s so much else to do an extremely vibrant live music scene, both traditional and western, a very active theatre scene, great places to eat a huge variety of food or just sit and have coffee and, of course, the beach!
Whether it’s our very own Chettinadu or a dish from the other side of the world, you can probably find it in Chennai. There’s a staggering variety of cuisines available, and eating out has become a regular group activity to the extent that you often can’t tell weekdays from weekends when you step into restaurants. There’s also a huge spectrum of affordability, making good food accessible to all.
Chennai is packed with great schools, whether private, international or government funded, as well as excellent colleges that attract people from across India. We’re always ranked highly, if not the highest, for education. The quality of education and teaching is top notch, and as a whole, people in our city tend to treat it as a priority.
Great movie experiences
This is worth mentioning as a separate point, because going to see a movie in Chennai is awesome. Theaters are huge, sparkling clean and extremely modern, with comfortable, well maintained chairs, affordablypriced tickets compared to some other cities, and best of all great food! And it’s not just the butter popcorn (although that is spectacular and comes with a great variety of toppings). Just ask anyone about Sathyam’s ‘vertical doughnut’.
What more could you ask for? Not just one beach, mind you multiple beaches, and all with their own charm! From long walks across the 13km Marina, the world’s second longest urban beach, to stuffing yourself with freshly cooked seafood and bhajjies at Besant Nagar before having coffee at the profusion of restaurants and coffee shops that line it, to the grassy privacy of Thiruvanmiyur beach, to surfing at Covelong point, to the various ‘private’ beaches you can access by renting a beach house along the ECR for a party or event, the beach fun is endless.
All of us moan about the public transport. But did you know that our bus fleet is one of the best in India when it comes to efficiency and timeliness? With the coming of private autos that charge strictly metered rates, auto travel has become 95% more pleasant, and the new, air conditioned Chennai Metro Rail promises to get more cars off the roads a potential solution to our traffic problems.
It’s extremely easy to plan a trip, even last minute! Whether it’s packing your car and hopping onto the nearest National Highway, booking a lastminute bus or catching a flight or a train, travel from Chennai is easy and affordable. There are also multiple great weekend destinations close by, from more popular and wellknown ones like Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Kodaikanal to lessknown but equally delightful ones such as Tranquebar, and Friday nights regularly see the working class leaving for the weekend, only to get back early Monday morning and head straight into the office.
From the Marghazhi or the Carnatic ‘season’ every December, which attracts thousands and features the best Carnatic musicians worldwide, many of them from Chennai itself, to the newer western music scene, Chennai has space and fans! for everyone. At any given night of the week, you can find a live band playing near you whether it’s acoustic, acapella, western classical, rock, blues, jazz or metal and they’ll be excellent! There are plenty of opportunities for musicians to showcase their talents, too many restaurants and bands have incorporated a regular live music night into their schedules, and there are several regular music festivals.
We’re always firmly at the top of the healthcare list, and have even been called India’s healthcare capital! From a profusion of top medical colleges to some of the best hospitals and superspecialty hospitals in India, Chennai prides itself on its excellent healthcare and in fact, has a roaring medical tourism industry people from abroad seeking top healthcare at affordable prices flock here for medical treatment and a holiday! Whatever ails you, you’re sure to find just the right doctor, just a waitingroom visit away.
So there you have it some of the reasons we love Chennai and think it’s THE place to live!
What about you?