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Destinatons of India » Chennai

About Chennai

Chennai was formerly know as Madras. Chennai is one of India's major port and the commercial hub of South India and thus it became a metropolitan city and emerged as fourth largest city in the country. Chennai is a coastal city with the second largest beach in the world. It is a city of courtesy, charm and culture. Temples and Forts, Churches and Beaches, Mosques, Parks and Monuments are all a part of this wonderful city.

Chennai was the site of the East India Company's first settlement-founded in 1639. The region of Chennai was called Tondaimandalm in those days and had its military headquarters at Puzhal, which is now a small and rather insignificant village on the outskirts of the city. In the 19th century the city became the seat of Madras Presidency, the southern division of British Imperial India. After independence in 1947 it became the capital of Madras State that was renamed Tamil Nadu. Very recently Madras was renamed Chennai.

Climate

The climate is hot and humid for most of the year. The sea breeze moderates the humidity. The temperature in summer can go up to 42 degrees therefore adequate precautions need to be taken to avoid the intense heat, such as wearing light cotton clothing, wearing a hat or sunshade while going outdoors and drinking plenty of liquids. It rains quite heavily during the monsoon but the climate in winter is pleasant and suited for traveling.

Transportation

  • Air The Kamaraj Domestic Airport and the Anna International Airport are located at Meenambakkam about 20 kms from the city. Many major international airlines have regular direct flights to Chennai. Domestic airlines operate daily flights to all major cities of the country from the domestic terminal.
  • Rail Chennai is connected by rail with all major towns and cities in India. Main Railway Stationsof Chennai are, Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore. Trains operate from Egmore Junction to different parts of the state while interstate trains originate from Chennai Central Station.
  • Road Chennai is connected by good network of roads with all important places in Tamil Nadu and other parts of India. Many private vehicles are also available for domestic and interstate transportation. Some major road distances from Chennai to other cities; Bangalore (334kms), Kolkata (1678kms), Hyderabad (704 kms), Trivandrum(790kms), Delhi (2095 km), Mumbai (1329 kms).

Best Season

The best time to visit this city is the winter season, i.e., November to September when the weather is pleasant.

Attractions in Chennai
Chennai is hailed to be the liveliest city in entire South India. The city has its own unique charm, which sets it aside from the rest of the big cities. The vibrancy of rich culture and traditions exuded by the city and its residents is simply moving. It is one such city in Tamil Nadu, which has been blessed with an extreme treasure of tourist attractions. The sightseeing tour around the ancient city of Madras, will completely sweep you off your feet. Besides, there is such wide diversity that you will be amazed at its existence. The tour includes beautifully carved temples, serene beaches, colonial monuments and much more. So, come and explore the magnificent city of Chennai, rightly called the 'Gateway to South India'.

Fort St. George

Fort St. George was the first British fortress in India. The construction of the fort at Chennai saw a spurt in settlements and construction activity around the place. The later day Madras/Chennai city evolved around the same fort. Fort St. George has the distinction of being the oldest English fort on the East Coast of India. Constructed between 1640 and 1653 and subsequently reconstructed in the year 1783, Fort St. George was once a town, complete with named streets, alleys and roads. Since Fort St. George was completed on April 23rd, coinciding with St. George's Day; the fort was christened Fort St. George, which soon became the hub of merchant activity. The fort led to the development of a new settlement called George Town. Over a period of time Fort St. George helped the British to extend their influence over the Carnatic region.

It is interesting to note that many historical personalities like Thomas Pitt, Elihu Yale, Robert Clive and Lord Cornwallis either lived in or frequently visited the Fort during the British period. The fort was thus a home away from home for many British officials of the East India Company. To keep the outsiders away, a moat was built around the fort and the British christened the area inside the moat as "the White Town".


Valluvar Kottam


Valluvar Kottam is a memorial to the great Tamil poet-saint Tiruvalluvar, who wrote the famous Thirukkural. This monument was constructed in 1976. The memorial is shaped like a temple chariot and is the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. The temple chariot has been installed with a life-size statue of Thiruvalluvar. The Valluvar Kottam is one of the modern day landmarks of the Chennai city.

All the 133 chapters of Tiruvalluvar's famous work, Thirukkural, have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The Valluvar Kottam has an auditorium also, which is said to be the largest in Asia and can house about 4000 people. The Valluvar Kottam is a modern memorial to the great Tamil poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils. Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture.


Birla Planetarium

Part of the Periyar Science and Technology Centre at Kotturpuram, this is a voyage of discovery for both the young and the old. This air-conditioned modern planetarium with a seating capacity of 236 brings to life celestial phenomenons that are replete with special effects. It also conducts courses in astronomy and night-sky observations for public on every second Saturday of the month.

Government Museum

The Government Museum is worth visiting in Chennai. The museum has a marvelous archaeological section that is classified along major South Indian dynasties namely Chola, Vijaynagara, Hoysala and Chalukya. The bronze gallery has a superb collection of Chola Art. You can also visit the National Art Gallery that is situated in its vicinity. The place boasts off some of the most fascinating array of Mughal, Rajasthani and Deccan artworks.

Kalakshetra

Rukmini Devi founded this center of excellence for dance, music, and craft in the year 1936. Situated at Thiruvanmiyur, Kalakshetra has produced many fine exponents of the Bharatnatyam and other Carnatic dance tradition. It follows the traditional Gurukul system of education, where students from across the globe study art amidst the fresh air, large trees and the chirping of birds.

Lalit Kala Akademy

The South Indian center of Lalit Kala Akademy is located on Gream's Road. Among other things, the place has a very decent collection of Paintings and Artifacts produced by the local artists. Equal importance has also been given to the collection of literature, especially the vernacular ones.

Theosophical Society

Founded by Madame H.P. Blavatsky and Col. H.S. Olcott in 1875, Theosophical society is located on a vast expanse of clearing on the banks of the Adyar estuary. The place provides a retreat from the madding crowd. The Adyar Banyan tree, Library and Theosophical Research centers are some of the things worth seeing.

 
 
 
 
 
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