States of India
Chennai, also known as Madras, the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamilnadu. The city sprawls over more than 70 square km. The population of Chennai is 5.9 million. Many of the Indian languages are spoken in Chennai, though the main language of Chennai is Tamil. For travelers with an interest in the colonial history of India, Chennai has much worth exploring and abundant transport operations make other parts of the country readily accessible.
Places To See :
An ancient Shiva temple, is the biggest temple in Chennai. A masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural elements - gopurams, mandapams and a tank. There are some fragmentary inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD.
Temple, devoted to Lord Krishna, was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century and renovated in the 16th century bt the Vijayanagars. It houses the five 'avatars' of Lord Vishnu, and has a small temple shrine dedicated to Vishnu's consort, Vedavalli Ammai. It's one of the oldest surviving temple in Chennai.
The Santhome Cathedral Church
built in 1504, then rebuilt in neo-Gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church near Kapaleeshwarar temple is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle.
St. Thomas Mount
situated near the Meenambakkam airport, is the place where the apostle is said to have been killed.
Little Mount Shrine
St. Thomas is believed to have lived in Little Mount Shrine (a tiny cave) when he came to India around 58 A.D. Known locally as Chinnamalai, the cave is entered via the Portuguese Church that was built in 1551.
Fort St. George
was built in the 1640 A.D., the first bastion of British power of India, the fort has undergone much alteration. The fort is now used by the Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat office. The 46m high flagstaff at the front is actually a mast salvaged from a 17th century shipwreck.
St. Mary's Church
built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous American University bearing his name.
The Fort Museum has a collection of objects from the tenure of the East India Company in Chennai including letters from Robert Clive. There are many contemporary paintings too.
The Snake Park
with its lizards, crocodiles and turtles is more interesting. It is well maintained with generous enclosures. The Snake Park has a wide variety of reptiles. The next compound is the 'Children Park', which has a small collection of animals and birds and a big play area for children.
devoted to the revival of classical arts, was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1936. Classical dance, music, traditional textile designs and weaving are taught in natural surroundings.
The Theosophical Society
Is set in a tranquil spot on the banks of the Adyar river. There is a huge banyan tree, with its branches spreading over an area of 40,000 square ft, where discourses are conducted.
The Valluvar Kottam
On the corner of Kodambakkam High Rd and Village Rd, honours the acclaimed Tamil Poet, Thiruvalluvar, whose classic work - one thousand three hundred and thirty kurals (couplets) - are reputed to be about 2000 years old. Established in 1976, Valluvar Kottam replicates ancient Tamil architecture with the 1330 verse Kural inscribed on panels. The outer structure in stone is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamilnadu.
B.M Birla Planetarium
Situated in Kotturpuram in Chennai, the B. M. Birla Planetarium houses a modern, fully computerised projector, which depicts the heavens on a hemispherical dome.
The National Art Gallery
Situated in Egmore were established in 1857. There are sections on geology, archaeologym anthropology, numismatics, botany, zoology and sculpture, besides a collection of armoury.
Well worth visiting, the Government Museum is on Pantheon Rd, between Egmore and Anna Salai. The buildings originally belonged to a group of eminent British citizens, known as the Pantheon Committee, who were charged with improving the social life of the British in Chennai. The main building has a fine archaeological section representing all the major south Indian periods including Chola, Vijayanagar, Hoysala and Chalukya. It also houses a good ethnology collection. The bronze gallery has a superb collection of Chola art. One of the most impressive is the bronze of Ardhanariswara, the androgynous incarnation of Shiva.
The stretch of beach known as the Marina extends for 13km. South of the pitiful aquarium is the Ice House, once used to store massive ice blocks transported by ship from North America. It later became the venue from which Vivekanand preached his ascetic philosophy.
Travel Information :
Air : Chennai is an international airport with flight connections to all major parts of the world, Domestic airlines connect Chennai with all the major cities of India.
Rail : Regular train services connect Chennai directly with all major cities of the country. Suburban Electric trains run from Beach station to Tambaram and from Central to Gummidipoondi and Arakonam.
Road : Chennai being gateway to the south is connected by excellent roads to all parts of the south. Taxis, Auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are available. all types of tourist vehicle are easily available on hire.
Sea : There is a sea line to Andaman and Nicobar islands.