"Chennai" in Tamil is the gateway to a hinterland of historical empires, legendary achievements and the great cultural traditions of the one of the world's oldest civilisations.
Madras(Chennai) was the site of the East India Company's first settlement-founded in 1639 on land given by the Raja of Chandragiri, the last representative of the Vijayanagar rulers of Hampi. A small fort was built on the settlement in 1644, and a town, which subsequently became known as George Town, in the area of Fort St George, arose north of it. The settlement became independent of Banten, Java, in 1683 and was granted its first municipal charter in 1688 by James II. It thus has the oldest municipal corporation in India, a fact which Tamil Nadu state governors are only too keen to point out at every available opportunity.
Just as Mumbai flourished after Britishers took over the villages of Koli fishermen and developed them as one of the major trading centers on the Arabian sea coast, Chennai (Madras) was a group of fishermen villages.
The Britishers came here and developed the area as one of the major ports along Bay of Bengal. Today Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and commands a major share in the trade from South. Unlike Mumbai, Chennai port is not a natural harbour. Nevertheless, this manmade port is very modern and efficient in handling cargo and other traffic. Chennai was the capital of Madras presidency during the British era and it was converted into the capital of Tamil Nadu in 1969.
In colonial days, Chennai was the center of conflict between English and French for supremacy over India. It also acted as a base for Britishers during the Carnatic wars. Due to its location, Chennai is known as the Gateway of Southern India. The East India company built a fort in 1639 and developed Madras as one of the major trading centers in India. Chennai has a blend of Dravidian and Gothic architecture in its buildings. One can not fail to notice the Indo-Sarcenic style buildings which dot Chennai. The city might have grown but it has never lost its traditional grace and charm. The Tamil society has incorporated English culture but still they have not left Dravidian traditions.
In fact Tamilians are people who take pride in their culture and oppose any interference in it. Not surprising most strong opposition to Hindi being made the official Mother tongue of India came from Tamil Nadu. Chennai has come up as a city with less pollution, less crowd and less rush than the other metropolises in India. Slowly Chennai is also moving towards the deadly situation which other places have attained. But Chennai can never be short of being the window to the tradition, culture and life-style of Southern India.
Chennai completes its pulse as a modern city by offering good hotels to stay, modern shopping plazas and all other modern amenities which are required to be in pace with the ever changing World. Chennai also offers good places to spend the holidays. It promises something different in the temples, in the architecture and of course the 4.5 km long Golden Marina beach is one of the longest beaches in the world. Chennai is very hospitable to tourists. Accommodation and transportation is cheap & efficient.
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