Madras (Chennai) Travel Guide
|Chennai was formerly know as
Madras. Chennai is one of India's major port and the commercial hub of South
India and thus it became a metropolitan city and emerged as fourth largest
city in the country. Chennai is a coastal city with the second largest beach
in the world. It is a city of courtesy, charm and culture. Temples and
Forts, Churches and Beaches, Mosques, Parks and Monuments are all a part of
this wonderful city.
|Facts and Figures
|| 174 metres.
||254 cms (annual)
||Summer Max 37 º C Min 21 º C
Winter Max 30 º C Min 20 º C
|Chennai was the site of the East India Company's first settlement-founded in
1639. The region of Chennai was called Tondaimandalm in those days and had
its military headquarters at Puzhal, which is now a small and rather
insignificant village on the outskirts of the city. In the 19th century the
city became the seat of Madras Presidency, the southern division of British
Imperial India. After independence in 1947 it became the capital of Madras
State that was renamed Tamil Nadu. Very recently Madras was renamed Chennai.
Kapaleeswarar, an ancient Shiva temple, is the biggest temple in
Chennai and is less than 1km. west of the San Throme Cathedral. A
masterpiece of Dravidian style and displays the architectural
elements - gopurams, mandapams and a tank.
It has remarkable archeological
find from south India and the Deccan, stone sculptures from major
temples, and an unsurpassed collection of Chola bronzes. A deep red
circular structure, fronted by Italian style pillars and built in
1851, the main building stands opposite the entrance. The first
gallery is devoted to archeology and geology, which tools, pots,
jewellery and weapons from the stone and Iron ages and maps of
One of the longest city beaches in
the world, the Marina stretches 5km from the harbour at the
southeastern corner of George Town to San Thom Cathedral .
With its natural sandy beauty and spacious promenade and beautiful
gardens, the beach is a major attraction for tourists visiting
St. Andrew's Kirk
Just northeast of Egmore Station,
off Periyar EVR High Road, St Andrew's Kirk, consecrated in 1821 ,
is a fine example of Georgian architecture. Modelled on London's St
Martins in the Field, it is one of just three churches in India
which has a circular seating plan, laid out beneath a huge dome
painted blue with gold stars and supported by sweep of Corinthian
Fort St. George
Fort St. George was built in the
1640 A.D. 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.
How to Reach Chennai
|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.
Train: 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.
Best Season to Visit
| The best time to visit this city is the winter
season, November to September when the weather is pleasant.
January is the best time for vacations in Chennai, the exciting
local festival of Pongal-the four-day Harvest Festival is celebrated
all over the state in January. The festival begins on the last day
of the Tamil month with Bhogi Pongal followed by Surya Pongal on the
next day. It is on this day that Chakkara Pongal, a delicacy of
harvested rice cooked with jaggery, ghee and cashew must is offered
to the sun God. The third day, Mattu Pongal is dedicated to the
Cattle when cows are bathed and adorned with colourful beads and
flowers. Jallikattu, the bullfight is held on the last day known as
Lord Ganesha or Vinayaka, the elephant headed god is among the most
worshiped deities of the State. The Ganesa Puja is performed with
fervor and gaiety. The celebration ends on the ninth day when the
idols of Vinayaka will be carried in procession chanting his name
and submerged in water in wells, lakes, rivers or ocean.
Another festival that lasts for nine days as the name indicates. The
goddesses of Durga, Lakshmi and Sarawathy, the consorts of Lord
Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma respectively are worshiped. The
festival falls in the months of September - October and is marked
with traditional displays of handmade dolls.
This festival of lights is usually celebrated in Oct.- Nov. It
generates an atmosphere of gaiety, friendliness and excitement.
The bronze statues of 63 Shivite saints in the magnificent
Kapaliswarar temple at Mylapore, who lived in devotion and penance
are taken in a colorful procession, once in every year, through the
streets of Mylapore, Chennai.