Madras, India » City Info

Chennai (formerly known as Madras), is famous for its lively theatrical scene. It is the hub for the classical National Dance of India, Bharatanatyam.

The name Chennai originates from the word Chennapattinam or Chennapattanam or even Chinnupattanam. It is named after Chinnu, the Great town which had developed near Fort St. George. The British built this fort in 1640.

Chennai is the fourth largest metropolitan city in India. It is both the commercial and cultural capital city of the south-eastern state of Tamil Nadu. The city is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The British developed the city into an important urban centre and a strong naval base in the 17th century. By the 20th century, it became an important administrative centre.

Chennai, rightly known as an exotic state, is famous for its cutworks in the temples, coconut fringes, and silk sarees. This 350-year-old city is surrounded by a green environment and gifted by the rich traditional charm of art and culture. In 1639, the British took over the place and made it the capital of the British presidency. It used to be the centre of conflict for the supremacy of the British and the French. In 1612 the Dutch East India Company built a settlement in Pulicat further north.

Chennai is divided into North, South, Central and West parts. The Northside is primarily an industrial area, whereas the Central part is the city's commercial heart, which also includes Parry's Corner, an important business district. Comparatively, South Chennai and West Chennai used to be residential areas. They are now becoming commercial regions with many information technology firms, financial companies and call centres.

The Guindy National Park is one of the few parks lodged up within the city's limit. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park within its limits.

Today, the city is developing rapidly and has become a fast-growing city in India with major industries include automobile, hardware manufacturing, technology, health, and education. It is ranked as a second major exporter of IT and ITES, and well-known as the automobile capital of India. Besides these major industries, it is also top in sports and includes several stadiums to promote it. Chennai is blessed with art and literature, so it is also famous for its Film Industry known as 'Kollywood'. A visit to this capital city will definitely assist one to understand more about the country's rich historical legacy.

StateTamil Nadu
CityChennai (Madras)
Coordinates13.09° N 80.27° E
Area174 km² (70 sq.mi.)
Population7,088,000 (2011)
Metro8,917,749 (2011)
ReligionHindus, Christians, Muslims
Time zone+5.30 GMT