Volunteering in Chennai

#1 Feb 24th, 2009, 07:43
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  • ayeshaqureshi00 is offline
#1
I'm planning on leaving for Chennai in April 2009 and will be staying for two months. Although I'm extraordinarily excited and nervous, I'd love some advice on the city as well as safety and eating. I'd appreciate ANY advice!
Thanks!
#2 Feb 24th, 2009, 09:45
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#2
Welcome to Chennai. Do let know the complete itenary and plan of action.

Please note that you are entering chennai in the peak summer time and its gonna be hot during the day times although evenings are relatively cooler due to sea breeze.

Do let me know your budget for hotels and also do you have any specific spots to be visited.

Based on your plans, I will send you a detailed plan. Dont worry about the safety and all. Chennai is a safe place, but for some suburbs around. Will guide you through.
#3 Feb 24th, 2009, 11:23
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#3
Thank you!
I'm planning on arriving in April and like I said will be staying for two months. I would like to also visit Agra, Mumbai, Nepal, and Bhutan. My budget is pretty large and I will be staying with a friend's family while in Chennai. Mainly I'd like to know about riding the trains for transport between cities, hospital policies regarding international patients (I'm not planning on getting ill, but I'd like to know nonetheless), sights to see (such as temples, great restaurants, museums, etc). I also will be making a once weekly trip to Kovalam to teach English at a bed and breakfast, so anything to do in that area.
Ayesha
#4 Feb 24th, 2009, 12:06
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#4
Local Trains are available today from Nook and Corner of Chennai and you also have Metro Rail but still Buses are the main artery of Chennai road transport.

So many new routes of buses are released and you have a A/c Bus service upto mahabalipuram. You can buy one ticket and you can get down where ever you want and you can hop into the bus again wherever you want. I think you can use that service when you go to Kovalam. At kovalam, you can go for Boating in Muttukadu and go for a swim in the sea. Eat good fried fish in a local hotel.

Transport facilities are much advanced nowadays in chennai and all one needs to know is the exact bus number and route. Unlike other countries, there are no specific policies for treating international patients in Indian hospitals, unless you are planning to use your insurance card for reimbursement. All you got to pay is the consultation fees and the medicine fees in the medical shops.

Temples in chennai are pretty large in numbers. But never miss Parthasarathy Temple in Mylapore and Mylai Karpagambaal Temple in Mylapore (Visit the tank opposite to temple and see how colourful the surroundings will look)

Also visit, Mount Road Dhurgah (Mosque) and Santhome Church. These are all places with most heritage value. Visit Chennai Musuem in Egmore and please note you require atleast 6 hours to complete your visit to the museum. Get into Spencers Plaza or Citi center for your shopping activities. Also visit Nalli or Kumaran silks in T Nagar for buying quality silk sarees.

Try and visit Birla Planetarium and Also Try Vandaloor Zoo. You need one full day for Vandaloor. It's 14.3 Kms from Airport.

For your taste buds:

1. Murugan Idly Shop (T Nagar & Besant Nagar) (Idly, Dosa)
2. Gallapin Gooseberries (Greams Road) (Burgers and Sandwiches)
3. Kaaraikudi Restaurant(T Nagar) (Chettinad Food varieties)
4. Saravana Bhavan (All over Chennai) (Best Tiffin varieties)
5. Adyar Ananda Bhavan(All over Chennai) (Best Sweets and Snacks)
6. Gangothri (T Nagar) (Best North Indian Chat Items)
7. Fruits Shop (Greams Road) Best Juices and Ice Creams)
8. Milky Way, (C in C Road Best Ice creams and Milk Shakes)

Also lot of small eateries are there and you do get great food from them.

My special advice is that you load yourself with plenty of fluids as you may get dehydrated in the summer time. Watermelon and tender coconuts will be available in nook and corner of chennai. Have them regularly to keep you cool.

Enjoy your stay. If you need more details, do let me know. I will be more than happy to provide you. Have fun...
#5 Feb 24th, 2009, 12:13
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#5
I really, really appreciate all of your help! One more question: I need to be able to call the United States whenever. How easy is it to get an India phone... and how do I go about doing it? What is the average price?
#6 Feb 24th, 2009, 12:32
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  • Nick-H is online now
#6
ayeshaqureshi00, do please browse the site: most of your questions have been answered, not once but many times. See the Electronics section for multiple discussions of phones/mobile phones in India.

The best part of finding this stuff for yourself on the site is that, while you are looking for it, you'll find answers to questions you didn't even know you needed to ask!
#7 Feb 24th, 2009, 20:48
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayeshaqureshi00 View Post I really, really appreciate all of your help! One more question: I need to be able to call the United States whenever. How easy is it to get an India phone... and how do I go about doing it? What is the average price?
If you are bringing your laptop, then you can ask the family whom you are staying with to get you a wireless internet data card, once you have your internet connection you can use Magic Jack to call USA, it’s the cheapest. Magic Jack charges $19 per year for unlimited calling to USA and Canada. There are lots of small shops that offer international calling facilities in Chennai they are called STD & ISD calling booth or you can use the local cell phone service providers for calling USA.
#8 Feb 24th, 2009, 21:18
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#8

A few more recommendations:

If you are looking for "real" Chennai dishes.

Non-Veg:
1. Kaaraikudi Restaurant(T Nagar) (Chettinad Food varieties)
2.Anjappar (T Nagar)
3.Ponnusamy Hotel

Veg:
1.Murugan Idly Shop
2.Saravana Bavan
2.Adyar Ananda Bhavan

For Chinese,Continental you got other places.
"I speak a strange language, sometimes even I don't understand." - D. Iyall
#9 Feb 25th, 2009, 10:21
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  • chennaiwala is offline
#9

not to miss - items

marina beach

rathna cafe - sambar & idly

sathyam theatre (world class in india)

anna zoo - vandalur

CW
#10 Mar 16th, 2009, 23:04
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#10
regarding frequent calls to US, I would suggest you to bring vonage device (if you own one there). Wherever you go, you can hook to the net and talk unlimited.
----------------------------
S77

Nothing is Impossible
#11 Mar 16th, 2009, 23:08
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chennaiwala View Post marina beach ...
Eminently missable! a stretch of overcrowded sand between the city and the sea.
#12 Mar 16th, 2009, 23:18
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#12
Marina is crowded too much now-a-days (more polluted) Yesterday evening I went there.

Good time to go there is after 9pm.
#13 Mar 17th, 2009, 01:04
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#13
I think that even the beach at Bessant Nagar (Elliot's Beach) is very busy in the early evening. Heading further south, New Beach, and Pallavakkam (Kotivakkam?) beach get better.

It is an evening crowd, though. During the day the beaches are not overcrowded.
#14 Mar 19th, 2009, 17:29
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  • Raghu.Kumar is offline
#14

Chennai Stay, ECR Places of interest

Hi Ayesha,

At the outset welcome to Chennai and more importantly we thank you for coming down to India and Volunteer for the cause of battered women. You are a working for a great cause and all kudos to you.

You mentioned that you would be going to Kovalam once a week for some English classes. Enroute there are many attractions and I give below two of them. One is Muttukadu lake and the other Dakshina Chitra Art galley / Village. also pasted is a weblink of Dakshin Chitra for you to have an idea.

Muttukadu in Chennai holds many attractions for you. You think of bewitchingly beautiful backwaters, serene surroundings and a captivating combination of verdant green and brilliant blue - It is located about 36 km. from Chennai on the ECR enroute to Mamallapuram.

- The backwaters of Muttukadu have been developed by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. The purpose is to develop a scenic picnic spot and a center for water sports.
- Come February and a windsurfing regatta is organized in Muttukadu every year. Competitions in windsurfing and other water sports are also held.
-
- Visit Dakshinchitra, a handicraft village, built in a traditional 19th c style and it is famous for its sculptures, ceramics and glass objects.
- Spread across 10 acres of land overlooking the Bay of Bengal, it is located at a distance of 30 km. south of Chennai.
- This is a heritage centre, founded by Deborah Thiagarajan in 1996 and run by the Madras Craft Foundation the centre.
- There are several craft shops and restaurants. It remains open daily except Tuesday.

http://chennai-roundup.sulekha.com/b...a/comments.htm

Regarding safety, Chennai is pretty safe but dont venture out alone any where beyong 11 AM unless you are accompanied by a friend or a group of friends. You might get conned by auto drivers but it happens and you cant avoid it. The government has launced Tourist Friendly Autos recently for foreigenrs and I hope they are helpful.

Just be careful about water, drink mineral water ( Kinley or Acquafina - Pepsi product there are umpteen fake water products so be safe than be sorry.

Keep writing and we shall be in touch

Raghu kumar


Quote:
Originally Posted by ayeshaqureshi00 View Post I'm planning on leaving for Chennai in April 2009 and will be staying for two months. Although I'm extraordinarily excited and nervous, I'd love some advice on the city as well as safety and eating. I'd appreciate ANY advice!
Thanks!
S.Raghu Kumar
sahana_kumar@yahoo.com
#15 Apr 6th, 2009, 03:37
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayeshaqureshi00 View Post I really, really appreciate all of your help! One more question: I need to be able to call the United States whenever. How easy is it to get an India phone... and how do I go about doing it? What is the average price?

You can get a SIP account from a local provider . I use a SIP account from pulse . They also have a call back facility . It cost about 1 rpee per minute to call a US number

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