Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is the fourth largest metropolis in India. Modern Chennai grew out of a small fishing village called Madraspatnam, when the East India Company chose the location for a new settlement way back in 1639.
Location & Attractions
Fort St. George
Fort St. George occupies a
place of pride and prominence in Chennai. It was built
in 1640 A.D by the British East India Company, under the
direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This
bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron
saint of England. The fort houses St. Mary's Church and
Marina Beach has the honour of
being the second largest beach in the world. An
Aquarium, and a few beautiful buildings like the
University of Madras, Senate-House, Chepauk Palace, etc.
on the beachfront add colour to the beach.
The Fort Museum
This repository of rare
exhibits is home to a number of weapons, uniforms,
coins, costumes, medals and other artefacts dating back
to the British period. The flag -staff at Fort St.
George is the tallest in India. South of the Fort is the
War Memorial, a graceful monument built in 1939 in
memory of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during
the First World War. The Island Grounds, the biggest
lung space in the city, is situated on an island formed
by the river Cooum. This ground is the venue for Trade
and the Tourist Fairs held periodically which are
Santhome Cathedral Basilica
Santhome at the southern end of Marina Beach
derives its name from St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ
who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during
52 A.D. He was killed on St. Thomas Mount just outside
the city in 78 A.D. and was interned in Santhome beach,
where a church was later built. Several years later,
another church was built further inland and his mortal
remains were transferred from the old church to the new
one. In 1606 the church was rebuilt as a cathedral and
in 1896 it was made a basilica. The beautiful stained
glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St.
Thomas and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques
depicting scenes from the last days of Christ. In the
cathedral is a 3 ft. high statue of Virgin Mary, which
is believed to have been brought from Portugal in
celebrated in the middle of January finds large numbers
of Tamillians converging on beaches in the city, giving
it a festive look.
Vilzha, celebrated during March-April every year is
the festival of the Kapaleeshwar Temple, Mylapore.The
celebration pays obeisance to the 63 Nayanmars (shaivite
saints) who devoted their lives, singing the praises of
Lord Shiva and spreading the message of Shaivism.
Devotees throng the temple during all the 10 days of
festivity, which are spread over Tamil months of Maasi
The Music Festival in the
December-January period is celebrated by Tamillians
around the world, as they congregate in Chennai to
savour the fine arts. The Sabhas, or auditoriums,
regarded as the guardians of traditional music, dance
and all other art forms of the South, become active. All
leading musicians, vocal or instrumental, perform and
the upcoming artists long to perform in these
Another attraction in this festival is
the canteen, where a gamut of south Indian dishes is
available. Here the critics analyse performances, while
savouring local specialities like Idli sambar, Dosa,
Sambar vada or Pongal.