Chennai is a city where the traditional and the modern blend in life everywhere. From traditional vegetarian fair to fast foods, from nine-yard sarees to the latest in fashion, from ancient temple architecture to modern high-rise - with Indo-Saracenic and Victorian as stops along the way - from classical music and dance to discos throbbing to heady beats, Chennai has them all and many more vivid contrasts that are a pleasant surprise.
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And perhaps the most striking of them all is that here is a modern metropolis with beaches, parks and even sanctuaries in the heart of the City.
a wealth of nature and a rich historic past to visitors in the ambience of a
city with every modern facility.
Chennai, the gracious capital city of Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest metropolis in India.
Located on a 17km stretch of the Coramandel coast, the city is trisected by the waterways of Cooum and Adyar and the Buckingham Canal.
With a population of 6 million people, Chennai is a vibrant city ever growing, expanding and changing every year. Popularly regarded as the "Gateway to the South", Chennai presents culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India.
Music, dance and all other art forms of the South are cherished and nurtured in this city which, though industrialized, continues to be traditional and conventional in many ways.
Places to See
» Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple
Not far from Triplicane, in Mylapore, there is yet another 8th century Pallava temple. The temple 'Gopuram'(tower) is characteristic of Dravidian style architecture .
Dedicated to Lord Shiva,this temple has some beautiful sculptures,among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints(Nayanmars) which adorn the outer coutyard are rare specimens.
» Guindy National Park
Once this was all part of Governor's Estate. Now it is fragmented and the major part is a thickly forested game sanctuary where the spotted deer and the black buck roam about and a wealth of smaller fauna thrive. This is the country's only Wild Life Sanctuary within a city's limits.
» Fort ST. George
Fort St. George occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. It was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon.
This bastion achieved name from St. George, the
patron saint of England. The fort houses St. Mary's Church and fort museum.
» Government Museum Complex
Once British Society in Chennai used to meet in the Pantheon. Its 18th century buildings and grounds have over the years since then been developed into the Connemara Library, one of the country's three National Libraries, the national Art Gallery, a beautiful building of Jaipur- Mughal architecture.
» Valluvar Kottam
The memorial to the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur.
A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot which is 33m. tall. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot.
» Birla Planetarium
The Birla Planetarium at Kotturpuram, between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars.
» The Marina
Stretching two miles, from the Coovum River's mouth, south of the Fort, till the northern boundaries of the 16th century Portuguese town of San Thome, is this magnificent beach drive and promenade. At the southern end of the Marina is the San Thome basilica, built in 1896.