Chennai is India's fourth largest metropolitan city located on the Coromandel Coast in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. Formerly known as Madras, the city was formerly established in the 17th century by the British Empire although areas like Mylapore had been present for many ages. The city’s economy has a broad base of industries particularly Automobile and Information Technology. Rooted to its culture and heritage, the city celebrates the traditional art form through various music, dance and art festivals throughout the year.
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One of only three Basilicas in the world to be built over the tomb of an apostle of Christ, Santhome is dedicated to St. Thomas, who travelled to India in 52 AD. Initially built by 16th century Portuguese explorers, the church is believed to be built on the interred remains of the martyred saint, along with a pot of earth stained by his blood and the lance that was used to pierce him. A renovated church, the one that stands now, was inaugurated in 1896. And apart from being religiously significant, it is also an architectural wonder. A pristine white Gothic structure, Santhome Basilica is adorned with stained-glass paintings, intricate woodwork and artifacts.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the sprawling Kapaleeshwarar is Chennai’s most famous temple. Built in the Dravidian style of architecture, many are of belief that the temple was built in the seventh century A.D. by Pallava kings, but history points out that the Vijyanagar kings built the current temple around 400-500 years ago after the original temple was destroyed by Portuguese invaders.
Founded in 1639, Fort St. George is the first-ever British fort to be built on Indian soil. Known as White Town, Fort St. George was built with the sole purpose of securing trade routes and to boost commercial interests. With its high walls, the fort stood witness to many assault in the 18th century and for a brief while, between 1746-49, was even transferred into the hands of the Portuguese. After India gained Independence, Fort St. George has served as the Legislative Assembly headquarters for the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Towering over the narrow by lanes of Triplicane, is the 8th century A.D Vaishnavite place of worship- Sri Parthasarthy Temple. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple is believed to be one of the holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. One of the oldest structures in the city, enshrined in the temple are four of Vishnu’s avatars, including, Narsimha, Varaha, Rama and Krishna.
Based in Besantnagar, Kalakshetra was started in 1936 by noted Bharatanatyam exponent, Rukmini Devi Arundale. Kalakshetra is a cultural institution dedicated to the preservation of India’s traditional values. Deemed as an “Institute of National Importance” Kalakshetra attracts visitors who come to soak in the serenity of the campus and to get acquainted with India’s rich traditions.
Mahabalipuram, derived from 'Mamallapuram' is a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
World’s second longest beach stretches for 114 kilometers, and is by far Chennai’s most frequented beach. In 1885, the then governor of Madras, Mount Stuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, built a promenade along the beach and named it the Madras Marina.