4.344 million (2001)
| Tamil Nadu|
| Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Marina Beach, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, St Thomas Mount, Parthasarathy Temple - Triplicane|
Anna University, University of Madras, SRM University, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Loyola College - Chennai
Chennai (also known as, formerly Madras ) is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest industrial and commercial centre in South India, and a major cultural, economic and educational centre. Chennai is known as the "Detroit of India" for its automobile industry. Chennai is the sixth-largest city and fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the country and 31st-largest urban area in the world.
The city is host to the third-largest expatriate population in India after Mumbai and Delhi, with 35,000 in 2009 and steadily climbing to 82,790 in 2011. Chennai is the only city in South Asia and India to figure in the "52 places to go around the world" by The New York Times. Tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet has named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index ahead of Hyderabad and Kolkata Chennai has also been named in the hottest cities to live in for 2015 by BBC among global cities with a mixture of both modern and traditional values.
The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. During 1st century CE, a poet and weaver named Thiruvalluvar lived in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of present Chennai). From the 1st-12th century the region of present Tamil Nadu and parts of South India was ruled by the Cholas.
Stone age implements have been found near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment, and pre-historic communities resided in the settlement. The Pallavas of Kanchi built the areas of Mahabalipuram and Pallavaram during the reign of Mahendravarman I. They also defeated several kingdoms including the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas who ruled over the area before their arrival. Sculpted caves and paintings have been identified from that period. Ancient coins dating to around 500 BC have also been unearthed from the city and its surrounding areas. A portion of these findings belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled the region during the medieval period.
Thiruvotriyur is an historically important port city, which now forms part of north Chennai. This city was exempt from tax and hence derived the name Votriyur with a sanctified pretext thiru. In this locality there still exists an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Adhipuriswara built or last renovated during the 13th-century King Rajaja III. The temple could have been in existence long before. There is a stone inscription which informs that dedication of 5 ladies in hereditary to the Lord to do the work of husking of paddy by Tiruvekambamudaiyan Senthamaraikannan alaias vayiratharayan of Virukanbakkam alias Chenninallur. This shows evidence that the name chenninallur was in existence even during 12th century as there still is a popular place/area in chennai called Virukanbakkam. (Proof: Govt Inscriptions Serial No.V:6 ARE Record 1892 No.110 and s.1.1.Vol. IV no.558)
The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called Sao Tome after the Christian apostle, St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 CE. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, north of Chennai. On 22 August 1639, which is referred to as Madras Day, the British East India Company under Francis Day bought a small strip of land stretching 3 miles on the Coromandel Coast. They got a license to build a fort and a castle in the contracted region. The ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Nayaka of Vandavasi, granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. The region was then primarily a fishing village known as "Madraspatnam". A year later, the British built Fort St. George, the first major British settlement in India, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city and urban Chennai, grew around this Fort. Post independence the fort housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010. But shortly afterwards it was again moved back to Fort St. George, due to a change in the Government.
In 1746, Fort St. George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages. The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and strengthened the towns fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. They resisted a French siege attempt in 1759 under the leadership of Eyre Coote. In 1769 the city was threatened by Mysore and the British were defeated by Hyder Ali, after which the Treaty of Madras ended the war. By the late 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern–day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as the capital.
Gradually, the city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative centre for the British in South India. With the advent of railways in India in the 19th century, the thriving urban centre was connected to other important cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting increased communication and trade with the hinterland. Sir Arthur Lawley was Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911 and promoted modern agriculture, industry, railways, education, the arts and more democratic governance. The Governor lived in Government House, Fort St George, and had a country home at Guindy, with access to a golf course, hockey pitches, riding stables and the Guindy Horse Racing Track. In the First World War as Red Cross Commissioner in Mesopotamia, he looked after the welfare of Indian soldiers. Madras was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, when an oil depot was shelled by the German light cruiser SMS Emden on 22 September 1914, as it raided shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, causing disruption to shipping.
After India gained its independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the compulsory imposition of Hindi in the state marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and eventually it had a big impact on the whole state. On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai and permanently altering the coastline.
Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India. The city is known for its classical dance shows. In 1930, for the first time in India, Madras University introduced a course of music, as part of the Bachelor of Arts curriculum. The Madras Music Season, initiated by Madras Music Academy in 1927, is celebrated every year during the month of December. It features performances of traditional Carnatic music by many artists in and around the city.
An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases not only various arts of Tamil Nadu but also from the neighbouring states, like kalari (from Kerala), which is a major attraction, is held in January every year. The Speciality of Chennai Sangamam is that the various programs are held near or at the various famous landmarks in the city so that everyone in the city has access to the programs and there is no fee charged for entry for any of the programs.
The city has a diverse theatre scene and is one of the important centres for Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu and is the oldest dance of India. An important cultural centre for Bharata Natyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city. In 2012, a group of five Bharatha Natyam dancers from Chennai performed at the India Campaign during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Chennai is also home to some choirs, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English.
The Chennai Metropolitan City which has an GDP of 219 billion and Chennai City(Chennai) has a GDP of 66 billion.It is fourth metropolitan area to produce $219 bn in India ahead of Bangalore Metropolitan Region and after Kolkata Metropolitan Region. Chennais economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare sectors. As of 2012, the city is Indias second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major part of Indias automobile industry is based in and around the city thus earning it the nickname "Detroit of India". It is known as the Cultural Capital of South India and is the most visited city in India by international tourists according to Euromonitor. The city also serves as the location of the Madras Stock Exchange and the secondary financial hub in India following Mumbai.