Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the biggest industrial and commercial center located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. The city is also a major cultural, economic and educational center.
The region around Chennai served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. The regions was ruled by Cholas from 1st to 12th Century. A famous poet Thiruvalluvar lived in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of present Chennai) Areas of Mahabalipuram and Pallavaram was built during under Pallavas . The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St. Thomas, believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 AD. Madras was made the capital of the Madras presidency, under the colonial British rule, consisting of region around Tamil Nadu states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative center for the British in South India.
Chennai is an important hub for Carnatic music and also forms the heart of theTamil film industry. Housing the With the Madras Stock Exchange, the city also serves as the second financial hub in India next to Mumbai.Located on the coromandal coast the city is famous for the Marina Beach featuring the Light House, memorials, statues, walkways, gardens and drives alongside the beach front. Towards the south of the city of Chennai is the Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar more preferred by younger Chennaiites with its promenade, restaurants and coffee shops. The city is also famous for monuments and places of art.The Government Museum Complex in Egmore houses the GovernmentMuseum, Connemara Public Library and the NationalArtGallery covering a variety of artifacts and objects of archeology, numismatics, zoology, natural history, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings. The Connemara Public Library with some of the most respected works and collections in the country, serves as a depository library for the UN. The NationalArtGallery building is one of the finest Indo-sarcenic type of architectures in the country.
Fort St George, the first British fortress in India, founded in 1639 serves as the administrative headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu state, and still houses a garrison for troops in transit to various locations at South India and the Andamans. The FortMuseum contains many relics of the Raj, including portraits of many of the Governors. Other monuments present inside the fort are St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican church in India, and Wellesley House, which holds the paintings of the Governor of the Fort and other high officials of the Regime.
The city is adorned with several art galleries and cultural centers. Valluvar Kottam, built in memory of the poet-saint Thiruvalluvar, also has a 101-feet high temple chariot structure. Kalakshetra, a centre for the revival of Indian art and crafts , especially the dance form of Bharatnatyam, is located in Besant Nagar. The NationalArtGallery, built in 1907, houses ancient Indian handicrafts and Deccan, Mughal and Rajasthan paintings of 16th to 18th centuries. The world headquarters of the Theosophical Society was established in 1886 on the banks of the AdyarRiver. Cholamandalam Artists’ Village, on the East Coast Road offers a view of artists and sculptors at work in their own studios and permanent gallery.
The place is also famous for places of Worship. The Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore and ParthasarathyTemple in Triplicane are some of the famous temples in Chennai. The Santhome Basilica, at St. Thomas Mount and St. George’s Cathedral, Chennai are some of the important churches. The Wallajah Masjid in Triplicane is one of the largest mosques and is a revered place of worship for Muslims.