Tamil Nadu: Chennai , the Capital


The city of Chennai, covering 19 km of area, is situated on the lingering banks of Karamandal. The capital of Tamilnadu, Chennai, is one of the prime cities of South India and is the entrance to the South India. The 4th largest city of India, Chennai, is the homeland of 6 million Tamils. People of Chennai don’t respect Hindi as a national language. People who belong to the lower segment of the society always are reluctant to speak Hindi and English. They are comfortable in speaking Tamil only. They are not only independent with their cultures; they are also different with their thinking and lifestyles.

Myillkarn Veshti is the patent attire for the men. Simple, friendly and honest people of Chennai like to live their lives simply. Arguably, the first grammar book in Tamil was written by a descendent of Agasthya, the famous saint.
The city of Chennai is mainly divided into three parts. The northern part of Chennai is stretched around the Fort St George where as the Paris Corner is located at the right hand side of Chennai. Chennai central, one of the busiest spots of Chennai, is situated amidst the valley of Kayum and Aadia Rivers. Mailapur, the Old Portuguese province, is well spread in the southern side of the city.

The chief and eventful business centre of the city, Annasalai, also houses the state and Indian tourism offices. Big multinational companies and hotels have their offices at Annasalai. However, the Paris corner is a heaven for shoppers. Moore Market, located adjacent to the central reservation centre, is shoppers’ paradise. The Burma market is renowned for foreign items. Chennai is well known to rest of the world as a prime hub of textile business. South Indian silk attracts many for its stylishness and color. Pottery, handicraft items and leathers are also popular to the tourists. Tamil film industry is very rich both in talents and technology. A number of industries have reduced the employment problems of Chennai. Factory of FIAT cars and wagon manufacturing factory are very famous in Chennai.
Getting drinking water in summers is a huge problem in Chennai. The best time to visit Chennai is during December- February. Chennai doesn’t have winter as such but in the months of December and January, the holiday makers can enjoy a cool breeze around the city.

Pongal, the chief festival of Chennai, is celebrated during December- January. Besides Pongal, Dance and music festivals are also quite popular to the holiday makers.

Take a walk in and around the city to know the city closely before availing a conducted city tour. Different places of Chennai are well connected by local trains as well. Interested tourists can travel Mailapur and beach by local train. Taxi, auto and city buses are also available. Avail city buses for cheap rates. The best place to stay at Chennail for the tourists is Annasalai. Tirupati, Perunbur, Mahabalipuram, Pandicherry, Pakhitirtham, Kanchipuram and red hills can also be included in the list of nearby sought after destinations.
Fort St George, one of the imperative attractions of Chennai, on the sea shore, is located in Kamraj Salai, at the southern side of the High Court. Three doorways to enter into the splendid fort can be accessed through three different roads. 20 feet walls and 3*1 mile wide fort is an astonishing example of British architectural elegance. White house, another prime example of the British fine arts, situated at the northern side of the fort, is renowned and distinguished as the George Town. The largest flags tap of India is also there in the fort. The homes of Robert Clive and Charnel Wellesley look amazing in the fort premise. Even though the anthology of the museum with the name Clive corner is not good but is open for all.

The main fort museum still recalls the old glory of the fort. The mess house displays weapons of British Royal Nevi, coins of East India Company, historical documents and various scriptures. The art gallery with rare and wonderful pictures is situated on the 1st floor of the museum. But the oldest form of the charming art gallery is not visible anymore due to restructuring of the museum. The fort depicts the stylishness and flairs of Daru architectures. Each and every pillar of the museum along with the carvings of the western galley looks impressive for their breathtaking splendors. The adjoining Kayum River creates an eye soothing natural backdrop.
British fort had won the French province in 1746. To commemorate the intrepid soldiers and the war British had decided to build a memorial which is located on the seashore.

St Mary's church, located at the southern side of the fort museum, is the first protestant church of India which was built by British. The simple looking church is 1.3 meters wide and its roof can protect the church from the fire of the war shooter. The church was restructured in 1759. A number of mausoleums are sprinkled around the church premise.

Armenian street, situated at the northern side of the fort, also known as Black town, is a congested area where Armenians live. Take a walk to watch the striking Armenian church, ethnic Armenian colony, and sacred symmetry.
Roman Catholic Cathedral, situated at the north of Armenian Church, is famous as the first and foremost church of Chennai. The elegant structure of Armenian Church resembles the wonderful structure of St Martin.
The old and important Paris corner, at the northern side of the fort, was previously known as George Town. Church, Hindu temple, Jain temple and mosque are dotted in and around the George Town. GPO, depicting Indo- serasenic architectural grandeur and High court in the George Town deserve a visit. The High court is the second largest court of the world. Court number 13 looks really charming for its impressive decorations. Works on colorful glasses and well designed furniture are eye catching. The ceiling of the court is also praiseworthy. Interested tourists can watch the law college, located at the southern side of the High Court.
The light house, located at the northern side of the fort, was built in 1894. The height of this historical monument is 149 feet. The peak of the light house offers a wonderful and panoramic view of the city. Esplanade light house is situated at the south-eastern side of the High Court. A modern light house is also built for the holiday makers in 1977. The height of the finicky light house is 150 feet. To watch the adjoining wonder, climb up to the top of the light house riding on the lift of the monument.

The fascinating home in Paris corner, depicts the Indo- serasenic architectural panache. Mint Street is another business hub of Chennai.
A large number of holiday makers and beach lovers are attracted towards the second largest beach of the world, Marina. 13 km long beach, located at the south eastern side of George Town, is a walker’s paradise. Take a walk on the sands of the beach in the evening. The aquarium on the beach is also attractive. Ardent tourists who want to enjoy a bath can enjoy it in the neighboring swimming pool. Ice house, contiguous to the aquarium, has a museum which carries the memories of great Swami Vivekananda. The name of the museum is Vivekananda Elam (museum). He lived in this ice house earlier.

Cross the Napier Bridge, at the opposite side of the beach, to visit University premise. The clock room of the university is the special attraction. The Sennet house depicts the colorful architectural blend of Hindu, Muslim and British. The Sennet house contains 1600 seats. The stunning carvings on the ceiling and striking works on the glasses of the window are the enticements of the Sennet house.

The Chipauk palace, built by the king Wallajah Muhammad Ali of Karnataka in 1768, depicts the excellent Murish architectures. The marvelous palace is standing on narrow pillars. The historical cricket stadium of Chennai, the chepauk stadium, is located at the backend of the palace.

Presidency College, situated at the southern side of the stadium, is famous for its special fine arts. The commemorative, Victory war memorial, for the dead soldiers, is another coveted destination of Chennai. Another cenotaph of the old minister, C N Annadurai, is also there. Two idols of elephants welcome tourists. The commemorative plaque of M G R is located near to the sea beach.

Partha Swarathi Swami temple, about 3.2 km towards the southern site of the city, is famous for its splendid architectures. The carvings on the walls of the temple will catch the eyes of temple lovers. The deity, Vishnu is residing in his five forms on the throne of the temple.  Sri Krishna is another deity who is residing in this sacred temple. The temple was revamped and had got its new look when the kings of Vijayanagar were ruling Chennai. A museum was built in the rooms of one of the renowned poets of Chennai. Ollahjaah mosque, built by the kings of Karnataka in 1795, is another foremost enticement of Chennai.

Mailapur, was the homeland of plenty of peacocks previously. The Kapaleshwar, the biggest temple of Mailapur, displays fascinating Dravid architectures. Shiva is the chief deity of this holy temple. Various mythological tales are written on the walls of this picky temple. Stuko architectures are quite prominent on the walls of the temple. 37 meters high doorway depicts an interesting fine art as well. 11 days long Arupathumoovar, the famous carnival, is observed during March- April. Car festival or therotgavan, another charming festival, is celebrated in the vicinity. Vasant utsav, observed during the month of May, attracts devotees from faraway places as well. Navaratri of Mailapur, the Hindu festival, is another attractive occasion. The sanctified Parwati temple, beneath the Punai tree, houses the deity which resembles a peacock.

Luz church, located towards the southern side of the Parwati temple, is arguably the oldest one of Chennai.
Bhallubharkottam, located adjacent to the Luz Church, is the memorial of the renowned Tamil poet Thirubhallubhar. The 39 meters tall commemorative temple resembles the chariot of Thirubharu. The temple, built by stones, looks really delightful and amiable. The 220*110 feet auditorium of the memorial is the largest auditorium in Asia. 1330 Kurals of the poet are engraved beautifully on the granite stones of the memorial.

91.5 meters tall mausoleum of St Tomas Mount in Parangimalai, about 13 km away from the main city, towards the International Airport of Chennai, still reminds the great follower of Jesus, St Tomas Mount. Take a walk and cross 134 stair ways to reach at the spot where St Tomas Mount had taken his last breath to watch the Church, Our Lady of Expectation, built by the Portuguese. The place still recollects the glory of the great man. Some striking memorials which recall Tomas Mount can still be seen if you have a special permission. A lot of mythological and fascinating tales are associated with the church and the memorial of St Tomas Mount.

180 feet tall, Santhome Cathedral Basilika or Church, was built by St Tomas. The Church depicts remarkable and salient Neogothic architectural grandeur. The church, built by the Armenians, looks really beautiful and was revamped in 1514.

The Little Mount, about 3 km from the Santhome Cathedral, on the southern banks of the River Adyar, is the cave where St Mount had hided himself for 8 long years. The adjoining cave displays numerous footprints which are known as the footprints of Tomas Mount.

Another holy place, Our Lady of Health Church, was built by Portuguese in 1551. A fine looking picture of Mother Merry, the mother of Jesus, is decorating the wall of the Church. It is believed that the christcross of the Church gets wet with blood on 18th December every year. A waterfall creates a soothing environment at the backend of the Church. The water of the waterfall is sold to the devotees as well. The new Church, built in 1971, looks amazing with its circular architectural excellence. The whole places decorates itself beautifully at Christmas

The edifice of the art gallery, located at the southern side of the Chennai Egmore railway station, resembles the structural elegance of Moughals. The chief brain behind the design of the gallery was of Henry Erwin. The members of Pantheon committee, a committee formed for the development of Chennai, used to stay in the rooms of the art gallery previously. The mesmerizing art gallery has a combination of Rajput, Moghley, south Indian pictures along with stunning modern arts.

The museum, located on the premise of the art gallery, has a number of atypical and valuable bronze items. The idols of Ardhanarishwar and Nataraj look quite different for their mind blowing styles. The architectural panache of Buddha shrines which were found in Amaravati adorns the museum. Innumerable Buddha scriptures and tales are wonderfully imprinted on the walls of the museum. Architectures and fine arts of the ancient items belonging to Pallab, Chol, Pandya, Hoisal and Vijayanagar dynasties look impressive. The ethnological gallery displays various traditional items of tribes. Various musical instruments are also there on display. The museum authority sells the Nataraj idols of Bronze to the interested buuyers.

MGR museum, Kamraj museum, Periyar EVR museum and amusement park are the other coveted destinations of Chennai.

B. M Birla Planetorium in Kottarpuram comprises 136 seats. But the holiday makers who don’t understand Tamil will not be able enjoy the show of the Planetorium because Tamil is the only language which is used in every show.
Don’t forget to visit the adjoining Periyar Science & Technology to watch various marvelous items which are related to the science and technology.

Sittarangam or the mini theatre, about 2 km away from the Chennai central railway station, located in the fair land complex, at the opposite side of the war memorial, has always been a favorite and likable destination for the people who love cultures and crafts.

The mind blowing vista around the Red Hills Lake, about 14 km from Chennai city, is a famous and joyful picnic spot for the spree lovers. The Lake is the resource which supplies water to the city. The place is connected to the city of Chennai by bus.

Perumbur Integral Coach Factory, about 11 km towards the north-south corner of the city, manufactures light weight railway engines. The largest coach factory of Asia is kept open for the crowds on every Tuesday and Friday. Perumbur can be accessed both by roads and by railways from Chennai.

Guindy National Park, located adjacent to the Guindy railway station is covering 595 acres of straggling green terrains. Black buck, spotted deer, Civet Cat, Wolfs, Leopards, Foxes and Monkeys amble around the lush green lands. Antelope, the rare but beautiful deer, are the chief attractions of the wonderful Park.

Guindy deer Park, situated adjacent to the Rajbhawan, is an additional enticement for the tourists. The sight of innumerable known and unknown species of deer in the finicky Park will definitely surprise and amuse you.  
Children will enjoy the nature and the denizens in the Mini zoo of Chennai.

Memorials of Gandhiji, Rajaji, Kamraj, and Raja Gopalachari are other interesting destinations of Chennai. Followers of Mahatma Gandhi regularly congregate in front of his commemorative to worship their hero. The memorial of Raja Gopalachari, the first Indian Governor, recalls the historical days and British Empire. The structure of the memorial resembles the wonderful structural flair of Greece temples. The banquette hall of this memorial depicts the striking Corinthian fine arts. This famous and important hall of the commemorative was formed by Edward Clive, the son of Robert Clive, in 1802, to remember the combat between British and Tipu Sultan. British Governors used to live in the banquette hall. The impressive carvings and pictures on the walls are eye catching. Bhaktabatchalam, the commemorative of the chief minister of Tamilnadu, was also built in the proximity.

The nearby Snake Park, houses more than 500 snakes. It’s a special attraction of Chennai, especially for the children. Interested and brave travelers can even touch and feel the slithery body surface of these snakes. If you want you can take snaps as well. Crocodiles, Alligators, Turtles and many more reptiles will amuse the tourists.

Demonstrations and shows are organized by the snake Park authority in every hour for the engrossed holiday makers. A research center is working hard to know various unknown facts about snake poisons. The allurement of this Park is increasing day by day. The snake Park is well connected to the city by bus and by railways but for a comfortable and hassle free journey it’s always prudent to avail a conducted city tour.

The main office of Theosophical society was shifted to Chennai from America in 1882. The society was formed amidst the compelling greenery on the southern banks of the River Adyar. The society, covering 270 acres of lands, full of soaring Mangrove trees, was formed to provide employments to the local people who had suffered a lot due to the scarcity of foods. The motives behind forming the society were to increase the mutual understanding and collaboration. The meditation hall of the society upholds the cultures and traditions of many religions. Impressive collections of 18 thousands rare and atypical books in the library of the Theosophical society are worthy of mention.

Even though the garden of remembrance, Alcott memorial, school, museum and guest house are destroyed by the natural calamity but the banyan tree, covering 40000 square feet of area, will offer you a much needed serenity. It is believed that the age of the astonishing tree is 400 years.

Migratory birds come all the way to the Adyar to enjoy the charm and wonder of the nature. Olive riddle turtles also enjoy the fascinating sight of the River banks.

Rajbhawan, about 3 km towards the western side of the Theosophical society, built in 1817, was the Government House previously.

The Art centre, built by Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1936, covering 100 acres of area, is a heavenly paradise for the music and dance lovers. Located adjacent to the Theosophical society, the art centre is the residential University where students from various corners of the nation use to come to learn the definitions of Karnataka music, Kurubhanji traditional dance and Bharatnatyam. More than 150 students are watching and learning various forms of dance and music.

Shiva temple (11th century), situated at the southern tip of the art centre, fascinate the temple lovers and travelers for its breathtaking architectures. MGR film city is another imperative attraction of Adyar, Chennai.

Cholamandalam artist village, about 20 km from Adyar, located on the banks of ocean, is specially designed and formed to provide shelter to the artists. The village showcases impressive and artistic crafts of Batik, Terra cotta and graphics artists. Interested tourists who love handicrafts can buy various items from the village as well. The ethnic cultural fiesta can also be seen on the open stage of the village.  

Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, located at a distance of 30 km from the city, covering 510 acres, has a wonderful collection of amusement items. Take a look at the innumerable denizens, animated birds, homes of nocturnal animals, aquarium, natural museum at the Park. The safari of lion and bison are few of the entertainments offered by the Park authority to the tourists. Holiday makers can also enjoy the pleasing ride on ropeway, mono rail, battery vehicle and bicycle.  

Sriperumpedhur, about 40 km from Chennai, on NH-4, is a pilgrimage spot and is the birth place of the Vaishnavite (a sect of Hindu community) philosopher Ramanuj. Another way through NH-45 will also take you to Sriperampudur. A memorial of Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime minister of India, was built at the roadside of the national highway.

The place, where the former Prime Minister Rajib Gandhi was assassinated, is located in Sriperumpudhur as well. To remember the sad history, the Government had built a commemorative of Mr. Rajib Gandhi in 1993. Interested tourists can stay at a hotel in Sriperumpedhur.

How to reach: Chennai is well connected to rest of the Indian cities by railways. A number of trains are regularly going to Chennai from Kolkata. Different prime cities of South and west India can be accessed from Chennai by road as well.

Where to stay: Hotel Saptagiri, Hotel Parl View, Hotel Raj Bhwan, Hotel Blue Star International, Hotel Vishram, Great Hotel, Sarvana Lodge, Hotel Sornam, Hotel Tamilnadu, Hotel Golden Café, Hotel Impala Continental, Hotel Pandian, Hotel Ganga International, Hotel Peninsula, Ishwariya Guest House, Hotel Silver Star and Hotel Harinivas.
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