History of Chennai
From the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. till the end of 9th century, Pallavas held sway over this region. The region was brought under Chola rule when the Pallavas were defeated by Aditya-I by about 879 A.D. Jatavarman Sundara Pandya rose to power and the region was brought under Pandya rule in 1264 A.D. followed by Bahmini kingdom and Delhi Sultanate under Khilji dynasty. During 1361, the son of Vijayanagar King, (Kumara Kampana II) conquered and established Vijayanagar rule in Tondaimandalam - as the province was then called.
Venkatapathy Nayak, one of the chieftain (Nayaks) of the Vijayanagar ruler who was in-charge of the area of present Chennai city offered a piece of land to the English in 1639. Fort St. George was founded on this piece of waste land as a trading post. The settlement which grew up around the Fort was named as Chennapatanam in honour of Chennappa Nayak, father of Venkatapathy Nayak.
The intervening space between the older area which was called Madraspatnam and Chennapatanam came to be quickly built over with houses of new settlers and gradually the two villages virtually became a single town.
Chennai boasts of rich historical legacy which lends an inexplicable charm to the city. The Portuguese arrived here in the 16th century and were followed by the Dutch, and the East India Company. The British were able to establish their undisputed supremacy in the city and the Fort St. George became the nucleus around which the British authority grew and expanded. Slowly, the city became a major naval base as well as central administrative centre for the British in South India.
After Indian independence in 1947, it became the capital city of Madras state, which was later renamed as Tamil Nadu. The city which was known as Madras was officially renamed as Chennai on 17 July 1996.
Tourist Destinations in and around Chennai
Over the years, Chennai has become a hot-spot of tourism in India. There are many tourist attractions in this city which are frequented by visitors every year. Some of them are
Marina Beach - with its glittering golden sand and the blue strip of sea is said to be the second longest beach of the world.,
Kapaleeshwarar Temple, - a sacred shrine with Dravidian architecture was built in the 10th century by the Vijayanagar kings. It is said that the original Kapaleeshwarar temple was built by the Pallavas in the 7th Century and was demolished by the Portuguese to build the Santhome Church.
San Thome Cathedral Basilica - also called Santhome Church is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.
Parthasarathy Temple - This 8th century Hindu Vaishnavite temple originally built by Pallavas is primarily dedicated to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and is among the 108 divyadesams or sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu.
Arignar Anna Zoological Park - sprawling over an area of 6.02 km sq it is one of the largest zoological complex in South East Asia.
Santhome Basilica, Marundeeswarar Temple, - The Shiva Lingam here is said to be naturally formed and not sculptured by anyone. It is white in colour as legend has it that the divine cow Kamdhenu poured her milk on the lord.
Ashtalakshmi Kovil - this temple is dedicated to Sri Mahalaksahmi, the Consort of Sriman Narayanan/ Shri Mahavishnu, Per the Vedas and Puranas Goddess Lakshmi emerged out of the oceans when the Devas and Asuras churned the Milky Ocean and grants Eightfold Achievements (Ashta Siddhis) and Eightfold Wealth (Ashta Iswaryam).
Fort St George, - This fort holds great historical importance as it is considered to be the first establishment of the British in India and houses relics belonging to the colonial period.
Vivekanandar Illam, - popularly called Vivekananda House is maintained by Sri Ramakrishna Math and is an important landmark in Chennai as Swami Vivekananda stayed here for nine days after his triumphant return from the West.
Government Museum - Next only to KolkattaKolkata, it is the second oldest museum, spread over six independent buildings it has 46 galleries rich in archaeological, numismatic and largest Roman collections.
Snake Park - situated adjacent to the Children's Park houses an impressive collection of some of the popular Reptiles like The King Cobra, Python, Turtle and Monitor Lizard. Extraction of venom is an absorbing activity here.
Guindy National Park, - Spanning 2.70 km2 Guindy National Park, is unique as it supports the rarest vegetation- the tropical dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests. It boasts of more than 350 species of plants including century old gigantic Banyan Trees apart from a host of rare animals, bird and reptiles.
Covelong, - This beach with glittering white sand, fascinating and colourful sea-shells and flanked by attractive palm trees offers a picturesque sight to the tourists. St. Thomas Mount - An Old Portuguese Church built around 1514 stands on the tiny hillock where St. Thomas an apostle of Christ is believed to have been martyred.
, Elliot's Beach, - Being the cleanest beaches in Chennai it is a popular place for relaxing and soaking in the sun. It lies towards the south of the Marina Beach. and many more.
Apart from these and many more, there are other places near Chennai which are equally preferred by travel lovers. A few of those places are
Mahabalipuram - has exclusive shore temples from the 7th century, with fascinating architectural designs and carvings. There is a huge Crocodile Farm too which is a breeding place for reptiles. Crocodiles living in ana homely environment can closely be observed.
, Pulicat - this sea shore town 60 kms from Chennai is best known for watching Flamingos. Beach Activities are also an added attraction of this area. Between October and March over 20,000 migratory birds are said to visit Pulicat for breeding.
, Kanchipuram - one of India's seven sacred cities, it is a treasure trove of Hindu temples with their grand structures and architectural finesse from different dynasties. The most authentic silk saris, Kanjivaram sarreessarees are a hot pick for sarree saree lovers.
Mamallapuram - Bas-relief remains from the 7th and 8th century Pallava Dynasty is the exotic attraction of this town. Apart from these, the Beach, Shore Temples, Five Rathas and Sculpture Work Shops also attract millions of local and International tourists every year.
Gudiyam Caves - opened up archaeological research when Robert Bruce Foote, a British geologist, discovered a stone hand axe of Stone Age man in 1863. The place shows evidence about the 1, 00,000 years Palaeolithic Age antiquity of this region.
Vedanthangal - a lake 85 kms from Chennai and at an altitude of 122 m was established as as Bird Sanctuary in 1858. November to March is the peak season when it attracts thousands of birds like: Darter, Egrets, Grey Pelican, Grey Heron, Grebes, Siberian Painted Storks, Spoonbill, Spot Bill Duck, Teals, and White Ibis from different parts of the globe.
, Tirupati, - a road drive of about 3 and-a-half hours from Chennai, Tirupati is home to one of the most holy and ancient Shri Venkateshwara temple, Surrounded by seven panoramic hills and home to perennial waterfalls, lush valleys and verdant forests, Tirupati attracts scores of Hindu pilgrims.
Vellore - This ancient city has been the seat of majorlymajorly all the dynasties that ruled south India, and still bears vestiges of its regal past. It also played a major part during First War of Independence against the British. Forts, temples, picnic spots abound. It has one of India's finest hospitals, the American-founded Christian Medical College, which attracts medical students and patients from across the country.
, Pondicherry - now called Puducherry was a French colony till 1954, and the old city still bears the stamp of the colonial era in its quiet, bougainvillea draped town houses, clean streets, and French food outlets. It is internationally famous for Sri Aurobindo Ashram which draws large number of spiritually inclined visitors. ,
Nellore - about three and-a-half hours' drive from Chennai is known for the production of gold jewellery, aquaculture and paddy production. Apart from Shri Ranganathaswamy temple, the calm and refreshing Mypadu beach and Pulicat Lake cum bird sanctuary are exquisite natural attractions for tourists.
, Yelagiri - is about five hours' drive from Chennai. It isIs a hill station and is a famous weekend getaway. Trekking trails and paragliding is a major draw for visitors. Punganur Lake, Velavan temple, Jalagamparai waterfalls and Nature Park offer spectacular views.
, Tranquebar/Tharangambadi - at a driving distance of almost six hours from Chennai, this 'place of the singing waves' (Tharang means wave) was a Danish colony. Fort Dansborg, showcasing Danish architecture, still stands tall and is an attraction for tourists apart from Zion church, and the ancient Masilamani temple. ,
This city also has some of the best educational institutes in the country.
Educational Institutes in Chennai
- The Indian Institute of Technology Madras
- Anna University
- College of Engineering, Guindy
- Central Leather Research Institute
- Structural Engineering Research Centre
- Indian Maritime University
- Parthsarathy Temple
- Vadapalani Temple
- Kadaswamy Temple
- Marundeeswarar Temple
- Makka Masjid
- Grand Mosque
- Thousand Lights Mosque
- Armenian Church
- Santhome Cathedral
- St. Mary's Church
Beaches in Chennai
There are quite many beaches in Chennai. In some of the beaches, you can indulge yourself into water sports, while near some others you can also see fishing villages. Some of the popular beaches in Chennai are Marina Beach, Covelong Beach and Elliot's Beach.
Churches in Chennai
The churches in Chennai reflect the rich architectural heritage as well as the culture of the religious Christians who built them around 500 years ago. Some of the popular churches in Chennai are St. Mary's Church, Santhome Basillica, Velankanni Church, The Armenian Church, C.S.I. Holy Cross Church, St. Thomas Mount, St. Andrews Church, St. George's Cathedral and Descanso Church.
Shopping in Chennai
When it is about shopping in Chennai, you always do not have to head to the shopping malls. Some of the areas in this city where you can happily go for shopping, include Pondy Bazaar, Anna Salai (Mount Road), Panagal Park, T-Nagar, Anna Nagar, George Town, Egmore, and Mylapore.
You will get a traditional range of cuisine in Chennai. Some of the cuisines you should not miss out when you are in this city are idli, dosa, upma, sambar, rasam, kootu, chutney. While these are usually taken as lunch, the evening snacks consist of onion pakoda, murukku and vada. These snacks are mostly taken with filtered-coffee. The famous sweet dishes you will get in Chennai are payasam, kesari, sweet pongal. The chettinad pepper chicken is one of the most popular cuisines of Chennai.
Facts about Chennai
- Chennai's previous name was Madras. The name was originated from Madrasapattinam.
- Chennai is popularly called as the 'Gateway to South India'.
- The Tidel Park in the city is the largest IT Park in Asia.
- The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CBMT) located at Koyambedu is Asia's leading bus terminal.
- The Anna Centenary Library in the city is Asia's largest library.
- Chennai's Vandalur Zoo is the first and largest public zoo in the country.
How to Reach Chennai
By Air:There is an International airport in Chennai. International flights arrive at Anna Terminal and domestic flights arrive at Kamraj Terminal. Chennai is well-connected to Thailand (Bangkok), Sri Lanka (Colombo), U.A.E (Dubai), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Kuwait, Muscat (Bahrain) and Singapore. Pre-paid taxis ply from the airport to downtown Chennai city. The taxis come in two varieties - the standard black taxi and the private call taxi.
By Train: Chennai Central and Egmore, are the two train terminus for long distance trains from other parts of India.
By Bus: Chennai is well-connected to other parts of India by the 'Golden Quadrilateral' transport project. Volvo air-conditioned services operated by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, run from Chennai to cities like Pondicherry, Vellore, Hosur and Trichy.
By Sea: There are two ports in Chennai - Chennai Port and Ennore Port. Regular ships ply from Chennai to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Transportation within the City
By Bus: Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses ply throughout Chennai city. MTC buses are operated and owned by the Tamil Nadu government. The bus fare is very affordable.
By Auto-Rickshaw: Auto-rickshaws are suitable for only short distances. If you call an auto-rickshaw, it is better to negotiate the fare with the driver before commencing the journey.
By Taxi: Chennai taxis have digital metres. They are reliable means of transport.
The city map of Chennai by Maps of India will help you to be acquainted with the city in a better way. The map will aid you to locate all the important national highways in the city, the important railway lines, areas which are rich in vegetation, important water bodies in the city, popular hotels and hospitals, the cinema halls in different parts of the city, and other important landmarks in the city.
|Tehsil/Taluk||Egmore Nungambakkam, Fort Tondiarpet, Mambalam Guindy, Mylapore Triplicane, Perambur Purasawalkam|
|Lat Long||13° 04' N 80° 17' E|
|Area||426 km sq (164.8 sq mi)|
|Population as per 2011||7088000|
|Time Zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|Transport||Air, Road, Rail, Sea|
|Vehicle Registration||TN-01 to TN-14, TN-18, TN-22, TN-85|
|Food/Cuisine and Spices||Hot filtered coffee, vegetarian and non-vegetarian food - Idli, Dosa, Appam, Vada, Upma served with tomato chutney, coconut chutney and sambar, rice dishes, legumes and lentils, curry leaves, mustard seeds, coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, coconut and rosewater, parothas, puliyogare, aviyal, thogayal, thayir sadam, chicken, pepper chicken, chicken stew, many items made of coconut curry, sweet pongal, kesari, etc. Special Chennai drinks are tender coconut -spicy buttermilk, variety of fruit juices, etc.|
|Religion||Islam, Christianity, Hinduism|
|Fairs and Festivals||Natyanjali Dance Festival, Dance and Music Festival, Travel and Tourism Fair, Pongal, Arubathimoovar, Mamallapuram, Chitthirai, Mahamagam, Kanthuri, Velankanni, Navratri and Saral-Vizha, Kavadi Festival, Natyanjali Dance Festival, Summer Festival, Tayagaraja Festival, Karthigai Deepam, etc.|
|Monuments||Fort St. George, Freemasons Hall, Government Museum, Kamaraj Memorial House, MGR Memorial, Senate House, Thousand Lights Mosque, Valluvar Kottam, War Memorials|
|Places of interest||Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, San Thome Basilica, Parthasarathy Temple, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Santhome Basilica, Marundeeswarar Temple, Ashtalakshmi Kovil, Fort St George, Vivekanandar Illam, Government Museum, Guindy National Park, Covelong, St. Thomas Mount, Elliot's Beach, Madhya Kailash, Valluvar Kottam, Kalikambal Temple, VGP Universal Kingdom, Queens Land, Kishkinta, Mayajaal, Birla Planetarium, Church of Our Lady of Light, Golden Beach, Ampa Skywalk, Lighthouse, Thousand Lights Mosque, Ravishwarar, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, St. George's Cathedral, St. Mary's Church (Fort St. George), Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple, Armenian Church, Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Centre, ISKCON Temple Chennai, Puzhal Aeri, etc.|
|Hotels||Hyatt Regency, The Raintree Hotel, Anna Salai, Radisson Blu Hotel, Courtyard, Radisson Blu Hotel City Centre, The Accord Metropolitan, Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers, Taj Club House, Vivanta by Taj - Connemara, etc.|
|Markets||Pondy Bazaar, Anna Salai (Mount Road), Panagal Park, T- Nagar, Anna Nagar, George Town, Egmore, Mylapore, Burma Bazaar, Tirunelveli, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Parrys Corner, Mint Street, Malls- Abhirami Mega Mall, Alsa Mall, Ampa Skywalk, Chennai Citi Centre, Chennai Trade Centre, Coromandel Plaza, Express Avenue, Spencer Plaza, Phoenix Market City, Forum Vijaya Mall|
|Important Landmarks||IIT Campus, Race Course, Guindy National Park, MGR Film City, KSRTC, Marina Beach|
|Important Roads Connecting the City||Great Northern Trunk Road, National Highway 45 Poonamallee Road, Tiruvallar High Road, Tiruvottiyur high Road, National Highway 4, National Highway 5|
|Industries||Mil Industries Limited, Autotech Industries India Private Limited, Madras Engg Industries Priv Limited, Automotive Electronics, Software Retail, Manufacturing, Madras Stock Exchange, Royapuram Fishing Harbour, Kollywood, Madras Bashai, Madras Cloth, Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services etc.|
|University/College||A.M.E.T University, Anna University, B. S. Abdur Rahman University, Bharat University, Divine Hands International University (DHIU), Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute, Hindustan University, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Indian Maritime University, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, The Tamil Nadu Dr. M. G. R. Medical University, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University, Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University etc.|