Chennai, the bustling metropolis of South India, formerly known as Madras, is famous as the capital of Tamil Nadu. The name 'Chennai' is derived from a Tamil word, which means small in native language. The silvery white serene beaches and the forts and palaces in Chennai endure the cultural and historical legacy of Chennai. The city is known for the Dravidian temple architecture evident in the temples, coconut fringes and Kanjivaram silk saris.
Previously inhabited by the fishing community, Chennai became a British capital in 1639. After remaining a bone of contention between the British and the French empires for a long time, Chennai acquired the center stage of power. Chennai has its origin as a colonial city, a trading centre and an artificial port. In 1522, the Portuguese landed for the first time in Chennai and built a fort. In 1612, the Dutch set their empire in Pulicat towards North. In 1639, the British East India Company built Fort St. George on the land granted to them by the Nayak of Wandiwash.
This small town named as the George Town propagated into the modern Madras city including several neighboring regions. In the year 2000, the Indian government renamed the city as Chennai - a word from vernacular Tamil language. The main tourist places in Chennai include Marina Beach, St. George Forte, St. Mary's Church, Parthasarthi Temple, Guindy National Park and Snake Park, Kapaleeswar Temple etc. The short tourist excursions of Chennai are Mahabalipuram, Muttukkadu, Thirukkalukundram, Vedathangal bird sanctuary etc. In the festival category, Pongal is the most important festival of Chennai, which falls in the month of January.
There are plenty of amusement parks, film halls and shopping malls in and around Chennai. Tiruvallikeni (Triplicane), Mayilapur (Mylapore) and the Anna Salai (erstwhile Mount Road) are the residential areas that retain the aura of the yesteryears in Chennai. Chennai is famous for its traditional South Indian (Tamilian) cuisine like Dosa, Idli (rice cake), and Sambar (gravy made of tamarind, lentils, chillies, coriander seeds and other spices). The special 'Filter Coffee' is the popular beverage consumed in Chennai. The Classical Music and Dance of Tamil Nadu i.e. Carnatic Music and Bharatnatyam can be easily seen in Chennai.
Tourist Destinations in Madras