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.
Idli, Dosa, Sambar and Rasam, are easily available and have become the favourites of international visitors. Chennai has a large number of eateries and also many sweet meat shops with their own specialities. Chennai is also famous for its tiffins, tasty pickles, soups, rice specialties, curries, vathals (crispies) steaming, freshly brewed coffees and ice-cold milk shakes.
Chennai is a culturally vibrant city, where traditional arts flourish. You can find a school of dance and music in almost every neighbourhood of the city.
The Tamil culture of hospitality is known the world over. Even in the humblest of homes, a visitor will be welcomed and offered a simple meal or snack. The customs of the city are closely linked with religion and hence present a picture of colourful contrasts. One will find a group of people auspicious and acceptable to them while another group would consider them totally out of place and inappropriate.
Rising early and incorporating religious rites into the day-to-day living is not unusual. The doorsteps are decorated with kolam-patterns made from rice powder or white stone powder for decorative as well as religious purposes. Friday evenings are normally reserved for visits to the temples. It is customary to celebrate the various religious festivals with the accompaniment of pomp and show.
It is the city has its own easy going pace, that embodies it with a sense of tranquillity. The cost of living being amongst the lowest in the country, one can fulfil one's needs within on an economical budget. In Chennai, people have both the time and inclination to help strangers; so donít be too surprised if you are actually escorted to your destination, the next time you ask for directions. Neighbourhood friendships thrive with mutual give and take policy. People show such a lively curiosity about each other that it is impossible for one to live on one's own, in isolation, as it were. No big city blues here!
Varied agro-climatic conditions in Chennai offers vast scope for production of a variety of herbs like Mint, Parsley and Oregano, among others.