Stuck in Chennai, India

What should have been a nice sightseeing layover in Chennai, almost turned into a complete disaster for us.

We had a 7 hour layover from Jaipur, which gave us enough time to go out of the airport and get a feel for the city.

Thing were fairly smooth and normal during the late afternoon. We caught the airport metro to the main city – which only costs 30 rupees. Then we bought some red bananas since this was something new.

We took some Chai tea and then watched as there were so many good food shops around. 

Our main goal was going to the main temple in the city center. It was a Saturday night so we expected things to be busy. 

But as the sun started to go down, we were still far away from the temple and the streets were filling quickly with people, cars, and celebrations. 

This was the weekend before Holi so we expected some people out, but suddenly it was filled with people and no breathing room. We got stuck in a dead-end and had to walk back to where we thought was the next street over to the temple. 

But eventually, we made it to the temple, which to our disappointment, wasn’t as well shown as it might have been in the photos we had seen. 

That’s when we walked through the streets to a main area. The whole street was packed and we admired the floats that were going down the path. 

Which was our mistake because then we got caught in the middle of the crowd and had no room to even move. Only when the floats started to move forward did we move forward and when the floats stopped, we were stopped. We were stuck. 

It felt like an eternity, but we did make it out of the parade. Which might have been an hour being pushed and pulled in whatever area had standing space. It was so packed with people – the whole of Chennai was there. The heat of India, plus the heat from all the bodies was intense (and later we bought two-dollar t-shirts to switch since ours were soaked with sweat. 

And so that was our few hours in Chennai. A memorable, but perhaps unpleasant experience to look back and laugh at. The one nice part was that we were able to eat our way down to our last hundred rupees, and made it back in time to the airport for our next flight to Sri Lanka. 


Chennai is located on the Southeast side of India and may be worth the stop here before any trip to Sri Lanka or elsewhere in India. 

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