The fourth largest metropolitan of India, Chennai or Madras is the capital of Tamil Nadu. The city sports a 17 km stretch of the Coramandel coast and is divided roughly into three parts by the Cooum and Adyar waterways and the Buckingham Canal. With its distinct culture that differs to that of the North Indian culture, it is said to be the 'Gateway to the South'. An important musical, dance, art and cultural centre of the South, Chennai is also a significant industrial, trade and commerce centre. It presents a unique blend of the past and the present and one can find all the varieties of traditional to latest trends in the city.
Traditional vegetarian food along side fast foods, nine-yard sarees
vis-à-vis latest fashionable attires, ancient temple architecture
along with modern Indo-Saracenic and Victorian architectural styles and
classical music and dance performances to thrashing beats of discos can
all be seen in Madras. One can see beaches, parks, sanctuaries and
glimpses of a rich historical legacy in the city. It is said that
Chennai originated as a small fishing village in 1639 called
Madraspatnam, which received early English merchants. It has a number of
churches from the times of St. Thomas and several ancient temples, the
most prominent being a temple in Triplicane and another in Mylapore.
Chennai's Prime Attractions
Fort St. George:
Built during the period of British East India Company in 1640, it
houses St. Mary's Church and fort museum. The church is the oldest
Anglican Church in India and was built in 1680 and houses the oldest
British tombstones in India in its courtyard. The ancient prayer house
was the place where Robert Clive and Governor Elinu-Yale were married,
who later founded the famous Yale University in the States. The fort is
used today as the offices of the State Legislative Assembly and the
secretarial offices of the Tamil Nadu government. It has the tallest
flagstaff in India.
There is a war memorial in its south that was built in 1939 in the
memory of the martyrs of the the First World War. Its Island Grounds,
situated on an island formed by the river Cooum is known for its natural
beauty and greenery and is a popular venue for all the Trade and the
Tourist Fairs. It also houses the High Court boasting of decorative
domes and Indo-Saracenic corridors, which is an important landmark of
Chennai along with the adjacent Parry's corner. The Fort Museum has many
relics belonging to the period of East India Company and British India
on its display such as the weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes and medals
along with the contemporary paintings.
It is the biggest temple in the city and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The inscriptions here date back to the 13th century and is a fine
specimen of the Dravidian style of architecture. The 37-m has intricate
carvings inspired from Hindu mythology.
Sri Parthasarathi Temple:
The 8th century temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, was built under the
patronage of the Pallavas and houses the idols of the five avataras of
Sri Vishnu. A small temple shrine in its premises is dedicated to
Vishnu's consort known as 'Vedavalli Ammai' by the natives.
Situated at the southern end of Marina Drive, Santhome is named after
St Thomas, the apostle of Christ who came to Madras in 52 AD to spread
the message of Christianity. It is said that he was killed on St Thomas
Mount just outside the city in 78 AD and was buried on the San Thome
beach. A curch was later constructed here, though his remains were later
transferred to another church built further inland. In 1606, this new
church was rebuilt as a cathedral that became a basilica in 1896, which
is known for its beautiful stained glass window showcasing the story of
St Thomas. The Central hall has 14 large wooden plaques depicting scenes
from the last days of Christ. Another highlight is a 3 ft high statue of
Virgin Mary that was imported from Portugal in 1543.
The Marina Beach:
The famous 12 km long Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the
world and looks especially beautiful in the early mornings and late
evenings when it cirtually becomes a fair ground with numerous food
stalls and other entertainments.
The Theosophical Society:
The world headquarters of the Theosophical Society is in Adyar. The
society studies comparative religion and philosophy and was founded by
Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olott in USA. The headquarters moved to India
in 1882 and now features shrines of all faiths, peaceful Garden of
Remembrance and a 95-year old library with a rich collection of rare
original oriental manuscripts written on palm leaves and parchment.
Kalakshetra or 'Temple of Art' is situated In Thiruvanmiyur, beyond
Elliot's beach. Rukmini Devi Arundale founded it in 1936 to promote
Bharatanatyam, the classical dance form of the state and local
handicrafts of textile designing and weaving. The institution is the
finest of its kind in the country and follows the ancient gurukulam
system. It conducts music, recital and dance performances in different
parts of Chennai all the year round.
The Birla Planetarium at Kotturpuram is the latest planetarium in the
country with a fully computerized projector to depict the skies. Near
it, there is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum meant to encourage
the interest of students in science.
National Art Gallery and Government Museum:
This museum is in Egmore and was founded in 1857. The incredible and
well-organized sections of museum have various relics on display related
to archaeology, geology, anthropology, numismatics, sculpture, armory,
botany and zoology.
Anna Square at the northern end of Marina Beach is the place where Dr.
C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was buried. About 30
km from the city, there is a huge Anna zoological park spread across 510
hectares, featuring safaris in the park, a nocturnal animal house, an
Aquarium, Natural Museum and many others.
The temple-chariot shaped memorial is dedicated to the famous Tamil
poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is the replica of the one at Thiruvarur. The 33m
tall chariot houses the life-size statue of the saint and is inscribed
with 133 chapters of the poet's famous work Thirukkural in stone in the
front hall corridors of the chariot. The memorial also houses the Asia's
largest auditorium that can accommodate about 4000 people.
Chennai City Facts
This city guide presents all the information related to the travel and tourism of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu.
|Location:||Situated in Tamil Nadu, India.|
|Climate:||Chennai has hot and humid tropical climate with frequent rains and almost same temperature throughout the year.|
How to Reach:
|By Air:||Chennai has Kamaraj Domestic Airport and Anna International Airport, which is at Tirusulam, 20 km from the city.|
|By Train:||The railway network connects Chennai to all the major cities in India. The main railway stations of Chennai are Madras Central and Egmore.|
|By Road:||It is easily accessible from other major cities of Tamil Nadu and the surrounding states.|