Chennai Knowledge Guide
Thanks to its long coastline, Chennai is home to numerous beaches. You could visit the popular Marina Beach or step across to less crowded Breezy beach and Elliot's Beach. Enjoy the incredible water under the sun of Thiruvanmiyur Beach and the Neelankarai Beach.
South India is a religious hub with hundreds and hundreds of temples. The city of Chennai contributes a large share in the number of religious places. Temples like the Marundeeswarar, Ashtalakshmi, Iskon Temple, Bascilica Churches, Santhome Church, Thousand Lights Mosque and much more.
Chennai being a coastal area and abundant in green spots host several adventure activities like surfing, paragliding, trekking, camping, Rock Climbing, Paint Balling, Parasailing, Scuba Diving and much more.
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 region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. During the 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.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.The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé 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 20 August 1639 Francis Day of the East India Company along with the Nayak of Kalahasti Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, travelled to the Chandragiri palace for an audience with the Vijayanager Emperor Peda Venkata Raya. Day was seeking to obtain a grant for land on the Coromandel coast on which the Company could build a factory and warehouse for their trading activities. He was successful in obtaining the lease of a strip of land about 10 kilometres (6 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) inland in return for a yearly sum of five hundred lakh pagodas. On 22 August, he secured the land grant from local Nayak (Damarla Venkatadri Nayaka and his younger brother Aiyappa Nayaka of Poonamallee). The region was then formerly a fishing village known as "Madraspatnam". A year later, the Company built Fort St. George, the first major English 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 town's 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 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 and in support of English in India 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. Because of Madras and its people, English now exists in India, otherwise Hindi might have been made the sole official language in India. On 17 July 1996, the city known as Madras was officially renamed Chennai, in line with what was then a nationwide trend to using less Anglicised names. On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai and permanently altering the coastline. The 2015 Chennai Floods submerged major portions of the city, killing 269 people and resulting in damages of ₹86.4 billion (US$1 billion).