Government Museum is a bit of a misnomer, as the complex of 6 structures and 46 galleries houses Chennai’s best collection of scientific and artistic artifacts. This includes the most impressive collection of Pallava and Chola bronze sculptures (dating back to the 10th and 13th centuries) anywhere in the world. The Chola Nataraj depicts the god Shiva dancing in a circle of cosmic fire. Some of the displays and informational placards are a bit dated, but for those with even a mild interest in Indian art, the Government museum is certainly worth a stop.
Come in the morning when the museum opens to avoid the tour bus crowds. Take some time to walk the grounds and take in the detail of the structures themselves, particularly the recently renovated Museum Theatre. Several sculptures and old cannons can be found scattered between and around the main buildings. If you time your visit right, you can catch a performance in the Museum Theatre.