Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is located on the Coromondal coast of Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the fifth most populous city in India. The population of Chennai is 4.34 million (2001 census). The city is governed by the Corporation of Chennai consisting of a Mayor and councilors. Chennai boasts of rich historical legacy which lends an inexplicable charm to the city.
TOURIST DESTINATIONS OF CHENNAI
Situated in Mylapore , this is an 8th Century Pallava temple.The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. Dedicated to Lord Siva, the temple has some beautiful sculptures , among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints (Nayanmars) which adorn the outer courtyard are rare specimens.Also in the courtyard under the old Punnai tree is a small shrine depicting Goddess Parvathi in the form of a peacock ('MAYIL') worshipping Lord Siva. It is from this legend that the name MYLAPORE has been derived. Mylapore swarms with life during the Arubathumoovar festival that is held in March-April every year.
The temple was built in the 8th century by the Pallava kings of South India. It was renovated by the mighty Vijayanagar kings in the 16th century. The temple, situated in Triplicane, another beach in Chennai and one of the major harbours during Pallava time, is famed for the beauty of its gopuram (arched gateway) and its architecture. The entire locality is fashioned around the temple.
Santhome, at the southern end of Marina derives its name from St. Thomas, an apostle of Christ who is believed to have come to Chennai sometime during 52 AD. He was believed to have been killed on St. Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD and was interned in Santhome beach where a church was later built. Serveral years after, another church was built further inland and his mortal remains were transferred from the former to the later. In 1606 the Church was re-built as a Cathedral and in 1896 it was made a Basilica. The beautiful tainted glass windows at the basilica portray the story of St. Thomas and the Central Hall has 14 wooden plaques depicting scenes of the last days of Christ. In the Cathedral is a 3 feet high statue of the Virgin Mary which is believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543.
The beach extends from Fort St. George all the way to Mahabalipuram. The beach looks spectacular at dusk when the setting sun casts iridescent glow and peddlers sell everything from ice creams to roasted peanuts to balloons. You can also read your future from the fortune tellers and palm readers who lure the visitors by various means. Don't try to show your swimming skills here as the sea can get quite rough here
National Art Gallery
Built in 1906, the gallery is situated in a splendid Indo-Saracenic edifice. The building was initially known as Victoria Memorial Hall and was designed by Henry Irwin. The eminent historian Tillotson described it as one of "the proudest expressions of the Indo-Sarcenic movement". There is a good collection of old paintings and sculptures including Tanjore paintings on glass; Rajput and Mughal miniature paintings; Deccan paintings from 17th century; and handcrafts, metalware, and ivory carvings from 11th and 12th century.
The Snake Park situated in the Guindy National Park in the Raj Bhavan Estate has a large collection of snakes and many other reptiles. The Theosophical Society was founded by Madam Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott in New York in 1875 and moved its headquarters to Chennai in 1882. The society is set in large and tranquil gardens with several shrines of different faiths and a Serene Garden of Remembrance. Kalakshetra, located around 1 km from the Theosophical Society, was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale for the revival of Indian classical arts and crafts traditions.