Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the gateway to Southern India and the largest city in southern India located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, developed after 1639 when the British East India Company established a fort and trading post at the small fishing village of Chennai. It is the capital city of Tamilnadu state. This coastal center of trade has drawn traffic from all over the world for centuries and maintains a cosmopolitan quality as well as a Tamil air. Chennai is the center of South India's film industry, its skyline is ablaze with bright movie billboards advertising the latest celluloid fantasies Chidambaram.
The town of Chidambaram is situated in the eastern district of Cuddalore facing the Bay of Bengal. The town is in the Coleroon River Valley on the Madras-Thanjavur road and rail system Chidambaram also known as Thillai, was named after the mangrove forest of the name Tillai. But now it has gained the Chdmabaram meaning an atmosphere reigning with intelligence and wisdom. As the legend goes this is the place where Lord Shiva performed his famous cosmic dance in the form of Lord Nataraja. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as the formless, the one who covers the whole universe.
The dance of bliss or the Ananda Tandavam of Shiva is said to symbolize the five divine acts (" Pancha Krityas") - creation, sustenance, dissolution, concealment, and the bestowment of grace. The dance of Shiva has been frozen in metal and held in worship in Nataraja Sabhas, in virtually all of the Saivite temples in Tamil Nadu. The place, where the legend says that the Lord danced, was later converted into a hall of dance and later covered with gold plates by Jatavarman Sundra Pandya (AD 1251-1272). The Thai Poosam day is celebrated the day of the cosmic dance to date at Chidambaram. The Annual Nrityanjali festival is also organized at Chidambaram.
As the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is a bustling cultural hub, known for its rich history, mouthwatering cuisine, and picturesque beaches. Let's delve into the captivating facets of this mesmerizing city.
Chennai boasts a rich historical legacy, evident in its architectural wonders. The iconic Fort St. George stands as a testament to the city's colonial past, housing the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and Secretariat. The San Thome Basilica, a beautiful neo-Gothic church, is another architectural gem that attracts visitors from all over the world. Additionally, the Government Museum is a treasure trove of art, archaeological artifacts, and natural history exhibits, providing insights into the region's past.
Chennai is a haven for culture enthusiasts, with a vibrant performing arts scene. The city is renowned for its classical dance forms, particularly Bharatanatyam, which originated in Tamil Nadu. Various cultural festivals, such as the Margazhi Music and Dance Festival, showcase the brilliance of classical music and dance, attracting artists and enthusiasts alike. Additionally, the Kalakshetra Foundation promotes traditional art forms and offers training in dance, music, and other disciplines.
Chennai is a paradise for food lovers, offering a diverse range of culinary experiences. The city is synonymous with its mouthwatering South Indian cuisine, with popular dishes like dosa, idli, and filter coffee stealing the hearts of locals and visitors alike. For seafood enthusiasts, the Marina Beach area is lined with seafood stalls offering delectable treats like fried fish and prawn masala. Don't miss the famous 'Chettinad' cuisine, known for its aromatic spices and fiery flavors.
Chennai's coastline is adorned with pristine beaches that provide a refreshing escape from the bustling city life. Marina Beach, one of the longest urban beaches in the world, offers breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, along with various recreational activities. Covelong Beach, located a short drive from the city, is a popular spot for water sports such as surfing and jet skiing. The laid-back Elliot's Beach is perfect for leisurely walks and enjoying the local street food.
Chennai embraces modernity with its thriving IT sector and impressive infrastructure. The city houses numerous multinational corporations, IT parks, and educational institutions, making it a prominent center for technology and innovation. The Guindy National Park, located in the heart of the city, offers a serene oasis amidst the urban landscape, showcasing the city's commitment to preserving nature.
Tourist Attractions in Chennai
Marina Beach is one of the longest urban beaches in the world, stretching over 13 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal. It offers a picturesque coastline for leisurely walks, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and various recreational activities. The beach is dotted with iconic landmarks like the Karl Schmidt Memorial and the lighthouse.
Located in the Mylapore neighborhood, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a significant religious site dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple's Dravidian architecture, intricately carved gopurams (towers), and colorful sculptures make it a visual delight. The vibrant atmosphere during festivals, especially during the Arubathimoovar festival, is a must-see.
Fort St. George:
Fort St. George, built in 1644, is a historic fort complex that houses the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and Secretariat. It served as the headquarters of the British East India Company and played a crucial role in the colonial history of Chennai. The fort also houses the St. Mary's Church and a museum displaying artifacts from the British era.
San Thome Basilica:
The San Thome Basilica is a stunning white church built over the tomb of St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The neo-Gothic architecture, stained glass windows, and serene ambiance make it a popular pilgrimage site and a place of tranquility.
The Government Museum, established in 1851, is one of the oldest and largest museums in India. It houses a vast collection of art, archaeological artifacts, numismatics, and natural history exhibits. The museum's highlights include the Bronze Gallery, the National Art Gallery, and the Children's Museum.
Guindy National Park:
Located in the heart of the city, Guindy National Park is a protected area that offers a green oasis amidst the urban landscape. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, including spotted deer, blackbucks, and various bird species. The park also houses the Guindy Snake Park, which educates visitors about reptiles.
Also known as Besant Nagar Beach, Elliot's Beach is a tranquil and less crowded alternative to Marina Beach. It is a popular spot for relaxing walks, picnics, and enjoying local street food. The nearby Ashtalakshmi Temple and the Velankanni Church are additional attractions in the vicinity.
Dedicated to the famous Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, Valluvar Kottam is a memorial and cultural center. The main attraction is a 39-meter tall chariot-like structure that houses a life-size statue of Thiruvalluvar. The auditorium within the complex hosts cultural events and exhibitions.