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mitmash Jul 6th, 2011 02:31

Cost of Living in Chennai - 2011
I guess this question has been asked several times on this forum and I am trying to get the current answer to this question.
What is the cost of living in Chennai?

I am currently in the US and relocating to Chennai soon. I am originally from Bangalore and have been out of India for about 8 years. So don't have much of an idea about the current situation and I have never been to Chennai (or rather, I have not stayed overnight in Chennai)

Basically I want to know how much would the below cost on average

1. House Rent - 1BHK flat with backup generator(preferred) in T-nagar or nearby areas (about 20 km radius)
2. Utilities - electricity, water, gas, broadband internet
3. Groceries for 1 non veggie person
4. House hold help / maid
5. Movies and entertainment / Dining Out
6. Local Public transportation

What is the easiest/best way to find a rental flat in Chennai? are there any sites with listings or brokers available?

Any pointers will be helpful. Thanks.

Yuri_S Jul 6th, 2011 14:15

1. 1BR flat offers virtually non exist in Chennai. 2BR in T. Nagar or like this ~ 14-22K


6. Drop it

vaibhav_arora Jul 6th, 2011 16:35

where's your office located? 20 km from the office will drive you nuts!! and dont believe google maps rated drive time in chennai. In that city, 20 km can be 1.5 hours (think Spencer Plaza to Shollinganallur). Chennai has developed significantly since 2005 (when i spent 10 months there) ... so if you could be specific about where your office is, you maybe able to find better accommodation options.
Best option to get around would be a car+driver. Else check with your company if they run shuttle buses?
Groceries depend on how often you eat out - good fruits, veggies and other things are quite cheap. Maid should be about INR 1000/month for most of the household stuff excluding cooking. Car washing is approx 200 per month.
Utilities depend on how long you're running the aircon - which can be 30-40 hours over the weekend alone :) my friend ran up a bill of 7500 for two people in a two bed in nungambakkom last month. But she's spoilt and from delhi :p - average should be about 2000 per month for elec. No idea about water. Internet should be about 800 per month for a reasonable broadband but that speed cannot be compared to the US.
Average movie ticket is about 120/- i think in the better movie theaters. Eating out is your call- its still cheaper than delhi- waaay cheaper. I ate at bella ciao last week - was something like 1400 for two people (no drinks). And that place is expensive by chennai standards. Few drinks at 10 downing street - it was 3000 for 5 people. So i guess that'd be about Rs 1000+ per head per weekend evening if you consistently go to the nicer places (The Park, Park Sheraton, Taj, Zara, etc).
dont know if this helps - mostly emperical evidence. Good luck with the move -

mitmash Jul 6th, 2011 19:58

Thanks Vaibhav for the good insights.
Actually my prospective employer has multiple offices ( I think 3 offices) in Chennai and I don't know which one I will be working in. I think they have one in Alwarpet and the other one is in PIN code 600063 ( i don't know the area) and not sure where the 3rd one is. I don't think they have shuttle bus service.

vaibhav_arora Jul 6th, 2011 20:18

Well you better ensure you know where you'd be working. Alwarpet and 63 pincode are like 20 kms apart and no point staying in one when you have to go to the other - alwarpet is like a downtown of chennai - though not the same way as a downtown in the states. It has greenery, some places to eat out etc. The 63 code is close to tambaram - which is outskirts and an industrial area. It will be much cheaper to live in as well but infinitely more boring.

mitmash Jul 14th, 2011 21:28

From the details I received I would be working in Alwarpet initially and then moving to the other office in 3-4 months time. So I guess the best option is find some temp acco near alwarpet and then look for another place in 3-4 months time.
I personally would prefer to live in the outskirts and as long as I can get a decent broadband connection (2 - 4 MBPS) I will be fine. I am really scared of people and would like to keep minimal contact with them, outside of work :)

vaibhav_arora Jul 14th, 2011 22:04

looks like you have your priorities clear (as far as people go) ! :) - if you're sure about the move to the outskirts, then pick a place there straightaway. It will be cheaper out there. You could look at Velachery as a compromise option too (its sorta midway between the two places and has plenty of residential buildings)

Nick-H Jul 14th, 2011 23:49

Alwarpet and its surrounding suburbs is a nice area. Unless you particularly want to live near to the sea, you could be very happy in that part of Chennai. Many of the streets are leafy and green, and you will not feel like it is an inner city area. Rents will be high, though.

Yuri_S Jul 15th, 2011 09:26


Originally Posted by mitmash (Post 1224681)
I personally would prefer to live in the outskirts ... I am really scared of people

In India, the thing are totally reversed: core city areas (like discussed Alwarpet) normally well developed, spacey and green. The outskirts will tell you different story: crowded, noisy, dusty, etc. Especially Tambaram and surrounding.

And keep in mind: 20 km mean 2 Hr drive (for one way), and not pleasant one.

Nick-H Jul 15th, 2011 14:59

Yes, excepting the posh seaside areas, this is absolutely true.

As to being really scared of people, I guess there are some where mitmash lives now? If one is to live and work in or near a city, they cannot be avoided.

Otherwise... Hermitage is the only answer!

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