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Chennai, erstwhile Madras, has the reputation of being a laid-back city, especially when compared to the glitzy glamour of Mumbai or the frenetic pace of Delhi. A favourite pastime among locals is to spend time on one of the crowded beaches, catching up with friends or taking a stroll by the boulevard.

Of late though, Chennai has come into its own, with a slew of luxury hotels, restaurants and cafes serving international cuisine as well as swanky shopping options.

More than any other city, Chennai can lay claim to being the premier centre for the performing arts in India. That apart, the city is also home to a thriving film industry, with dozens of studios clustered around the suburb of Kodambakkam (giving it the cheeky sobriquet Kollywood).

They say there are three seasons in Chennai: hot, hotter and hottest. If you manage to adjust to the weather, it can be a fascinating city to explore.