Besant Nagar is one of the most happening yet calm places to live in, in Chennai. Home to arguably the most fun beach (Elliot’s Beach or Bessy for the uninitiated) in the city, it’s grown from being a quiet neighbourhood with several eateries near the beach to a bustling hot spot with a range of places to eat, drink, shop and hang out. With a dozen places opening up every month, there’s always something new for you to discover here. That’s why we’ve come up with a hood guide for the best things to do in Besant Nagar.
Bessy Decoded: Here's Your Guide On Best Things To Do In Besant Nagar
Walk Along Elliot's Beach
When we say Besant Nagar, the first thing that would strike your mind is Elliot's Beach. It may be a smaller version of the Marina Beach but don't underestimate the little place. With quieter waves and lesser people, the beach makes for a refreshing walk during sunset and sunrise. Stop at one of the local stalls, win a wooden toy, blow some humongous bubbles or eat roasted corn! It will be a beachy experience.
Eat Your Fill
From BOATS to Superstar Pizza, restaurants and cafes are always buzzing in Bessy. Continental, Chinese or South Indian, it is all the more fun to eat at fancy places that overlook the beach. If you are looking for a rooftop for some Margaritas and LIITs along with your fries or calamari, then BOATS is the place to be. If you are in the mood for some Nasi Goreng or Chicken Satay, no better place than Wok Monk or plain old South Indian at the iconic Murugan Idli Shop. Best to end the night with some mini pancakes from 99 pancakes or bite-size cupcakes from Buttons. Chaat lovers! Do NOT miss Chaat @ Adyar. To check out restaurants in Besant Nagar, click here.
Street Food Haven
Coming to Elliot’s Beach and not trying out the street food is a crime. From fresh fried fish on the stalls at the beach to Sweet Lime Soda and Cheese Pani Puri, the beach is literally your oyster. Along the beach, you will find almost every stall selling potato twisters and Fuljar Sodas. You can even customise your spice addition to your potato twisters from sweet onion to Mexican sauces! Don't forget to try Colostrum Milk while you are at it. It is the first milk that cow produces and damn, the sweetness of the natural pudding is just addictive. To know more about street food in Bessy, click here.
Annai Velankanni Church
Checking out one of the oldest Churches in the city is definitely recommend ed to anyone in the area. From an architectural standpoint, it is beautiful to look at and definitely worth a trip. The church is so famous, there are pilgrims who come from across the world to experience it. Additionally, the tiny bazaars in the adjacent roads also have interesting little knick-knacks you can pick up. However, during festival times, it can get very crowded.
For more churches in Chennai, click here.
Visit the U Ve Swaminathan Iyer Library
The Besant Nagar neighbourhood is a hub for literature lovers, especially with the Theosophical Society located not so far from the place. However, apart from that, U Ve Swaminathan Iyer Library is one place you must check out if you want to get an insight into the cultural history of your state. This library hosts over 2200 palm manuscripts along with 33,000 books. It is considered to be one of the most important literary hubs for Tamil Nadu history!
Cycle Through The Roads
With trees canopying the hood and breezy ocean air, areas like Blue Cross Road and Besant Nagar Beach Promenade make for a perfect peddling site. Take your cycle out in the early morning sun or you could even have a refreshing jog through the place in the evenings.
Lay Back In Huddlestone Garden
Located inside Adyar's Theosophical society, Huddlestone Garden covers more than 260 acres of land. Apart from the breezy serenity and lush greenery to admire, you can find the ecosystem there boasts of exotic trees and some native fauna. If you are lucky, you could just spot a jackal.
Arcades And Gaming
For an evening of fun and frolic, no place could be better than our beach Bessy. Near Elliot's Beach, you can head to Nassaa Uth Hub. Not only do they have a bowling alley but a futsal arena, reality VR games and hell loads of arcade games. There is a bouncy house as well if you want to go into nostalgia. Trust us when we say this, no work out feels better than bouncing over colorful balls.
From shopping for as low as INR 20 in the streets to checking out the quirkiest clothing and decor, Bessy is the shiz. From shoes and jewellery to fabric and decor, the street presents you with unique steals. Check out SS Fashion for some ethnic printed fabrics or Trends for some cosmetics hits. If you are looking for something niche then you can head to Maal Gaadi for quirky nose pins and pop-art posters or you can go to the 5th Avenue boutique for some grunge skirts. It also houses the city's first vegan store, Earth Story.
Learn A New Sport
If you visit Elliots in the evening, there is no way you would miss spotting Chennai's Ultimate Frisbee clubs train vigorously, practising their throws, sprinting in between cones and playing a game of pickup. Ultimate Frisbee is the fastest growing sport in India and Chennai is the hub for the same. If you are interested in learning this mixed-gender sport, just walk up to these players and let them know. That's it! They will be sure to include you in their next newbie sessions.
Visit Broken Bridge
This legendary bridge that is broken, is constructed across an estuary of the Adyar river and it is one of the most serene places of Chennai. The first time we were here, we could not believe that we were inside the city, for, this place was green as far as the eye could see on one side and had the dreamy ocean on the other. Sans traffic noise, this place can give you the much-needed break from city life (inside the city).
Volunteer For Beach Clean-Ups
Time to be a responsible individual! Environmentalist Foundation Of India is an NGO that conducts beach clean-ups in Bessy very often. Follow their IG for regular updates and don't miss participating in one!
Chennai is more than its idlies and autos. It is home to Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. They come to nest in our beaches between the months of April and December. Roughly after forty-five to sixty days, the hatchlings are released into the ocean and it's one of the most satisfying things you will ever do in your life. Check this recommendation for more deets.
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