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Madras is to Chennai what Bombay is to Mumbai. Madras is an emotion, while Chennai is just a bustling city in the hot and torrid state of Tamil Nadu. Touted to be the cultural hub of South India, Chennai could be overwhelming, or at times even unnerving towards the unsuspecting travellers. For starters, its hot and humid weather would drain you out completely. But if you spend a few days in this city, you will lap yourself up in the gentle rhythm of this city. You would also slowly, but surely, come to love and appreciate the dichotomy between Madras and Chennai and learn to wade your way past relentless rickshaw wallahs and shopkeepers in your broken Tamil! Also Read - Road Trip: Here's How You Can Reach Kodaikanal From Chennai by Road
If someone tells you the following things and discourages you from visiting this wonderful place, do not listen to them. Visit Chennai for its majestic temples, gorgeous Kanjeevaram sarees, and oh-so-yummy dosas! But yes, there is one thing you must never do. You should never call a local ‘Madarasi’ on his/her face; they really get offended by this generalisation. Also Read - Foodie's Delight! Here Are 13 Items You Must Try on Your Visit to Chennai
That you only get idly-dosa
Most of us think that if you go to South India, you will only get idly, wada, rasam, rice and sambhar! This is so not true because Chennai has many restaurants and outlets for everything but South Indian cuisine. Areas in Adayar and Besant Nagar are dotted with such outlets. You also get awesome Bengali, Punjabi, Rajasthani and even continental cuisine in Chennai.
That you cannot survive if you don’t know Tamil
Yes, here people predominantly speak in Tamil but that doesn’t mean that they are not capable of speaking in other languages with you. They easily understand Hindi, contrary to the popular belief that states otherwise. So if you know a few broken words in Tamil and can converse with a lot of actions, taking little help from English and Hindi, you are set to crack the best bargains with the local hawkers!
The city is superbly conservative, so no late nights
One would commonly think that this city is teeming with Tamil Brahmins (Tam Brahms) who are among the most conservative races in India and therefore, the city is governed with a strict set of laws for both men and women. This is only a myth as the city has one of the coolest drinking holes and the night scene is amazing with various activities going on at various pubs!
Chennai also witnesses international dance festivals, apart from its traditional Margazhi festival.
That the people are extremely rude and inconsiderate towards North Indians
There was a point in history where there where the anti-Hindi movement was very strong. But now things have changed. The city and her inhabitants have become more tolerant of people from other parts of the country.
Women dress only in sarees or other traditional attire of South Indians
This is absolutely not true. Women in Chennai are as fashion conscious as the rest of the cities in the country. It is true that Chennai is known for its breathtakingly beautiful Kanjeevaram weaves, but that doesn’t mean that women here are only dressed in Kanjeevarams.
Chennaites are not liberal in their thinking
This myth again stems from a belief that Tamilians are an orthodox community. This is totally untrue because the state has one of the highest literacy rates in the country (81 per cent) and is also a safe place for women.
You are served food only on banana leaves
One of the speciality of South Indian cuisine is that you are served food on banana leaves. But this doesn’t mean that you eat out of a banana leaf everywhere you go!
That a government holiday is declared whenever Rajnikanth’s film is released
It is an established fact that Chennaites are avid moviegoers and absolutely revere actor Rajnikanth like a God but, the whole city doesn’t come to a standstill when their Thailaivar’s film is released!