Madras, now called Chennai, the first city of Tamil Nadu, is comparatively a new city. The erstwhile villages of Mylapore, Triplicane, Ezhambur (Egmore), etc., all now a part of Chennai, have a recorded historical past centuries older than Chennai. Chennai is ever growing, changing and pulsating with new activities. The city of today, one of the great metropolitan cities of the world, and the fourth largest city in India, grew from the Fort that Francis Day and his superior Andrew Cogan of East India Company built on a narrow strip of no-man's land that they negotiated with the local governor of the Vijayangar Empire. The approximately 5-square kilometer sand strip that was granted has now grown into a city of about 170 sq.kms.
Chennai (formerly Madras) has the Bay of Bengal bordering its east, while the state of Andhra Pradesh is on its northwest. It has the famous district of Tamilnadu, Kanchipuram, on its south and the states of Kerala and Karnataka on its western side.
Being situated at the tropical zone, Chennai normally has a very hot and humid climate. Winter and summer temperature does not vary much as it rains frequently through the year.
The best time to visit this city is the winter season. From November to February.
Chennai was the first British major settlement in India and it was here that many who went on to build the Empire first learnt their trade. As a consequence, the city is replete with much that is of significance in British Indian history. But the much older settlements have stories to tell too, and so the city is an amalgam of ancient and more modern history. Everywhere one goes in Chennai, one can find history written in every name.
Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple
This ancient Siva temple is a delightful introduction to Dravidian temple sculpture and architecture.
Guindy National Park
Fort St. George
The building of the nucleus of this Fort in 1640 was the first step towards the founding of Chennai and an Empire.
Government Museum Complex
Once British Society in Chennai used to meet in the Pantheon. Its 18th century buildings and grounds have over the years since then been developed into the Connemara Library, one of the country's three National Libraries, the National Art Gallery, a beautiful building of Jaipur - Mughal architecture, the Government Museum with its fabulous collection of bronzes and the Museum Theatre, a quaint theatre that is another building out of the Museum Theatre, a quaint theatre that is another building out of the gaslight era.
A unique bit of modern building in the city is the huge auditorium that draws its inspiration from the great temple builders of Tamil Nadu's past. This huge memorial hall to the Poet-Saint Thiruvalluvar is dominated by a towering temple car in stone.
MGR Film City
This is a special designed place near Taramani, Adyar, to serve the film industry. Several sets of artificial sceneries like forest, water falls, market place etc., are built here to serve as background for the shooting of films.
Built in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary, the Planetarium is considered to be the most modern in the country. It is located at Kottur near Anna University.
Stretching two miles, from the Coovum River's mouth, south of the Fort, till the northern boundaries of the 16th century Portuguese town of San Thome, is this magnificent beach drive and promenade.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Just like the other Indian places, Chennai also celebrates a number of festivals. The festivals are mainly based on the agricultural activities and according to the position of the stars and planets. Pongal, celebrated in the month of January, is the most important festival of Chennai. Being a cosmopolitan city, almost all the religious festivals are celebrated here.
Chennai is renowned for its handlooms,
both the exquisite Kancheepuram silk sarees and the cottons used
designed sarees, shirts and domestic furnishers. The Co-optex showrooms
offer a wide variety of both types of handlooms, whereas the Khadi
centres are better known for their cotton varieties. The several
Nalli shops, the Rasi showroom in Mylapore and other saree shops
near Panagal Park and Dhun Building (Anna Salai) specialise in the
HOW TO REACH