Walking tour of Chennai’s ancient Mylapore district

Hear the extraordinary stories of Mylapore, one of the most ancient parts of Chennai (Madras), on this three hour walking tour of historic streets, key sites and distinctive architecture.

What to expect from the Mylapore walking tour…

This three hour walking tour explores the hidden stories of Mylapore, one of the oldest parts of Chennai, its ancient roots predating the modern city by two millennia. Also known as Thirumayilai, the district's records go back to when its residents were trading with the Roman Empire.

Famous for its many temples, Mylapore was prized by a succession of European colonisers, who left their mark in the form of churches and other architecture. Your tour will take you to Santhome Cathedral, built by the Portuguese over what is believed to be the tomb of St Thomas, the 'Doubting' Apostle.

As you walk, your expert guide will teach you to read the hidden symbolism in the streets, demonstrating how spiritualism infuses everyday life in India. This is particularly true in this historic area, where traditions have been kept alive for centuries, and history has entwined with myth to produce a fascinatingly rich culture.

You'll hear stories of local life, ancestral legends, gods and demons, ancient customs, all within the context of the streets around you. You'll learn to read the district's history in the buildings, too. The astonishing 7th century tower of Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a superb example of Dravidian architecture, a style distinctive to south India. If you travel in Tamil Nadu, you'll quickly learn to recognise the style's extraordinary steep stepped temple towers, which are covered in ornate friezes, and supported by stone pillars that are exquisitely carved into mythical creatures.

Having explored the wide tree-lined avenues and enjoyed your guide's fascinating tales of Mylapore, you might like to stop for tiffin and rose milk at one of the local cafes...

Location: Chennai

Duration: 3 hours

Accommodation: Your choice of Chennai accommodation

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Sara says...

‘Full of surprises, fascinating facts and intriguing stories! I came away brimming with a much deeper understanding of Mylapore’s incredibly ancient — yet still thriving — local culture.’