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Chennai, Tamil Nadu Travel Guide

Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state. It was formerly known as Madras. The city is located off the coast of Bay of Bengal. Chennai is one among the largest populous metros of India. About the city Chennai was an important trading center for the British during the colonial period. Before the British arrived the city was ruled by the south Indian dynasties (Pallava, Chola). Later the Portuguese and the Dutch came. The British arrived here in 1639 for the trading purpose and were allowed to establish their trading center. They Built the Fort St. George building which was the Tamil Nadu State legislative building up until recently. The French occupied it later. However the British gained control over Madras again and built up the citys infrastructure. The city hosted their naval base. The Christian Apostle, St. Thomas Aquinas is said to have stayed here during his last days.

The city was re named as Chennai in 1996. Chennai has a coastline called Coromandel Coast. The city has a tropical weather. Two rivers pass through the city. Chennai hosts all major industries of India. It has seen rapid growth in recent times. IT sector, automotive sectors take a huge part in the citys economy. Tamil is the official language here in Chennai. People speak English, though Hindi is used rarely. Tamil culture is known for dance (Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam), and the south Indian cuisine. Chennai is a center for the Tamil cultural activities reflecting through Tamil movies, dance, drama and music (Carnatic music). The famous Kalakshetra and the Madras Music Academy are the two milestones of the city.

Places to visit:
» Beaches: Chennai has a clean coastline. There are two major beaches to be seen: Marina beach and Eliot beach. Marina beach is stretched 15km long on the Eastern coastline. The beach has a lighthouse, and provides clean walking path for the visitors. There is one less crowded beach called Breezy Beach. During hot summer nights you can take a long walk along the beach side. Fort St George: This monument was built by the British authorities and the building served as a legislative assembly building for many decades. The fort includes a church (St Marys church) and the residence of Lord Wellesley. Museum Complex: It is located in Egmore. The complex consists of a library, museum and an art gallery. Kalakshetra: It is a center for the development of traditional dance and culture in its true form. The center was founded by Rukmini devi Arundel. This is in Besant Nagar now. People who are interested may visit the Bharatiyar Illam, Vivekananda Illam, Valluvar Kottam, the Theosophical society and the MGR memorial in Chennai.

Package tours: Chennai tourism offers package tours to Mahabalipuram, Tirupathi, Kanchi Kamakshi Temple, Madhurai, Ooty and Kodaikenal hill stations. Mahabalipuram is around 60km away from Chennai. It was ruled by the Pallava kings and is known for rock carved chariots, temples and beaches. It is a favorite weekend spot for the Chennai people. Chennai has two airports; both domestic and international. The city is a gateway for America, Europe and other foreign countries. From airport to the city there are pre paid taxi cabs to commute.

Chennai is well connected to all the major cities of India by rail and road also. Shopping & Food: Chennai offers silk sarees, ethnic jewelry, handloom materials, and electronic goods. There are plenty of Silk and handicraft emporiums in Chennai. Coimbatore cotton sarees are much popular due to the hot climate of the city. Since Chennai is a metropolitan city one will have plenty of options concerning the food and stay. One can opt for the conventional Idli sambar or can go for continental.

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