|Facts and Figures|
|Languages||Tamil and English|
|Best time to visit||November to February|
Chennai, one of the four major metropolitan cities of India, is the capital the southeastern state of Tamilnadu-the exotic state famous for its cutworks in the temples, coconut fringes, and silk saris. Stretched out at the coastline of the country, it has number of sites for the tourists to visit. The Marina beach, where the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal mingle with the golden sands, or the forts and palaces, which remind one of the bygone eras, Chennai is a preferred destination of the tourists.
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. The best time to visit this city is the winter season. Winter and summer temperature does not vary much as it rains frequently through the year.
The city of Chennai was once a village of the fishing community. In 1639, the British took over the place and made it the capital of the British presidency. It used to be the center of conflict for the supremacy of the British and the French.
PLACES TO VISIT
There are several places to visit in and around Chennai.
- The Marina beach, stretched over an area of 13 km, is the second longest beach in Asia. It looks like a festive ground on weekend evenings.
- Presently used as the state secretariat, the St. George Fort is another landmark of Chennai. The British East India Company built it in the year 1653. It has a museum that houses a variety of British and French antiques and other commemorations. Inside the fort is the St. Mary's Church, the first English church Chennai.
- One of the many old temples of Chennai is the Parthasarthi temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Built in the 8th century BC by the Pallavas, the temple was renovated in the 16th century by the Vijaynagar kings.
- Guindy National Park and Snake Park, situated close to each other near the Guindy station, are other places to visit.
- Kapaleeswarar Temple, the oldest temple of Chennai, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is a living testimony of the architectural skills of the Dravidian people of the 13th century. However, non Hindus are not allowed to enter into the main worshiping place of the temple.
- Santhome Cathedral, built during the 14th 15th century, is another place worth visiting.
- The Birla Planetarium, Elliot Beach, Valluvar Kottam, National Art and Government Museum, Anna Zoological Park, Kalakshetra and the Theosophical Society are some of the other sites of tourist interest.
- Once the port city of the Pallavas, Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is situated at the outskirts of Chennai and is approximately 61 km from the main city. The artisanship of this place is beyond parallel.
- A positive step towards maintaining the ecological balance of nature is the setting up of the crocodile bank. Just 44 km away from the main city, it houses many rare species of Indian and African alligators and crocodiles.
- Covelong beach, which is 40 kms away, is another place worth visiting in order to experience the history of the state as a whole. The fort, church, mosque and the seashore are quite interesting.
- Besides these, Muttukkadu, Thirukkalukundram, Vedathangal bird sanctuary, etc., are other sites to visit around the city.
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 has domestic as well as international airports. The Kamaraj Domestic Airport and the Anna International Airport are located at Tirusulam, at a distance of 20 km from the city. It is also well connected to all the major cities in India through a wide network of railways. The main railheads are Madras Central and Egmore.
|Indian Culture History|