Chennai 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 cultural, economic and educational centre in South India. Chennai is known as the "Detroit of South Asia" for its automobile industry. It is the fourth-largest city and fourth-most populous metropolitan area in India and 36th-largest urban area in the world. Chennai is one of the Indian cities most visited by foreign tourists, and is the 38th most visited city in the world. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital".
After Mumbai and Delhi, Chennai has the third-largest expatriate population in India at 35,000 in 2009 and 82,790 in 2011. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index and was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. In 2015 Chennai was named the "hottest" city (worth visiting, and worth living in for long term) by the BBC, citing the mixture of both modern and traditional values. National Geographic ranked Chennai's food as second best in the world; it was the only Indian city to feature in the list.
|POPULATION :||• Megacity 7,088,000|
• Metro 9,173,521
|TIME ZONE :||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|AREA :||• Megacity 426 km2 (164.8 sq mi)|
• Metro 1,189 km2 (426 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||6 m (20 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||13°5′N 80°16′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 51.70|
• Female: 48.30
|AREA CODE :||44|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+91-44|
With temples, beaches and centres of historical and cultural significance, including the UNESCO Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, Chennai is one of the most visited cities in India. The city serves as the gateway to the southern part of India with tourists landing in the city and starting their trip to the rest of the region. Chennai was the most visited Indian city by foreign tourists in 2009 and issued the third highest number of visas on arrival in 2014. In 2011, Chennai was ranked 41st in global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010. About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011. Top foreign nationals visiting the city include those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France and United States. As of 2012, the city had 21 luxury five-star hotels with over 4,500 rooms in the inventory.
Chennai is the base for the Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood. Many film personalities have gone on to become politicians including C.N.Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa.Chennai hosts major film studios, including AVM Productions, the oldest surviving studio in India. As of 2012, there are 120 cinema screens and multiplexes. Major multiplexes include Sathyam Cinemas, Escape cinemas, Devi, Abirami complex and Mayajaal. Chennai's expansive theatre network stages many Tamil plays of many genres: political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama. English plays are popular in the city, along with the more common Tamil-language plays.
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo located 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of the city covering an area of 8.5 acres (3.4 ha) and had over 450,000 visitors in 2007. The centre has one of the world's largest collections of reptiles and has bred 14 of the 23 existing species of crocodiles and alligators. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 20 lakh visitors per year. The city boasts two popular beaches, the Marina and Elliot's. Guindy National Park, a protected area of Tamil Nadu, has a children's park and a snake park, which gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority of India in 1995. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits. The city has an estimated 4.5 percent of its area under green cover. This enables Chennai residents to go birding. The seven zones of the old corporation limits has about 260 parks, many of which suffer poor maintenance. The city has a per capita park space of 0.41 sq m, which is the least among all metros in India. The eight zones in the newly added areas of the city have about 265 locations that have been identified for development of new parks. The largest among the parks is the 358-acre Tholkappia Poonga, developed to restore the fragile ecosystem of the Adyar estuary. The horticulture department-owned Semmozhi Poongais an 20-acre botanical garden located in the downtown.
Chennai houses several theme parks, namely MGM Dizzee World and Queens Land. The safety of several amusement parks has been questioned after several fatal accidents occurred. Wonderla is planning to open an amusement park in 2017. Other important recreation centres include Madras Boat Club, which is over 140 years old, and Gymkhana Club, which is famous for its 18-hole golf courses. Built in 1867, Madras Boat Club is the second oldest surviving Indian rowing club.
Chennai is home to several malls, due to its status as an IT hub. Major ones include Express Avenue (EA), Citi Centre, Spencer Plaza, Ampa Skywalk, Phoenix Market City and Forum Vijaya Mall. Chennai is an important gold market in India contributing to 45 percent of the 800-tonne annual national gold uptake. The city is also the base to the World Gold Council's India operations. The city's retail industry is majorly concentrated in T. Nagar which accounts for major share jewellery and clothes sold in Chennai. According to the 2012 report by property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Main Streets Across the World, Khader Nawaz Khan Road at Nungambakkam ranked 10th position in the list of 'Top 10 Global Highest Retail Rental Growth Markets 2012', with 36.7 percent jump in rents.
Long the site of earlier coastal settlements, Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Nayak. The document of the land grant is dated 22 August 1639, and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on 22 August each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George(today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (23 April) and hence was named after the patron saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai. Two suburbs, Santhome and St. Thomas Mount, are named in his memory.
In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government renamed Madras to Chennai providing the reason that 'Chennai' was the city's traditional name while Madras was one derived during colonial rule.
Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, a name given to the area when the British negotiated settling there. The origin of the name is uncertain. Tradition suggests that a fishing village near to the location of the British settlement was called Madraspatnam. Others think early Portuguese may have called the area Madre de Sois after an early settler, orMadre de Deus after an early church (of St. Mary).
Chennai is derived from Chennapatnam, a name with almost equally uncertain origins. Tradition has it that Chennapatnam was the name of a fishing village near to the location of Madraspatnam. However it is not clear if the village was there beforehand or grew up around the British Madraspatnam settlement. There are some suggestions that the name was given to the developing Indian settlement honor a local Indian administrator.
As the settlements grew, the exact location of both Chennapatnam and Madraspatnambecame confused as the two settlements merged into a single town.
Under the British, the then city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of Southern India that were not governed by any of the other princely states. After independence, it became the capital of Madras state, and when the states were reorganized on a linguistic basis, it became the capital of Tamil Nadu.
Chennai boasts of many well known people including Elihu Yale, whose liberal gift funded the construction of Yale University in 1718; Indira Nooyi CEO of Pepsi International; A.R. Rahman, the musical genius of "Slumdog Millionaire", Manirathnam the ace film Director, Vijay Armirthraj, Ramesh Krishnan and his father Ramanathan krishnan who were holding the Indian flag high in Tennis and chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand among many others.
Climate of Chennai is Tropical.
Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (35-42°C / 95-108°F) April–June (Highest temperature ever recorded is 45°C / 113°F on 30 May 2003) and monsoon (Oct-Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the south-west monsoon (Jun-Sep), but gets its bountiful rains from the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125–150 cm (49–59 in) of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from October to December. During some seasons, Chennai gets ample amount of rainfall if there are depressions in Bay of Bengal.
December to February are the mildest months temperature - (19-28°C / 66-82°F).
Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid. Be sure to take along light (not flimsy) clothing.
Climate data for Chennai, India
|Record high °C (°F)||34.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||20.9|
|Source #1: India Meteorological Department|
|Source #2: NOAA|
Chennai, sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to South India," is located on the south–eastern coast of India in the north–eastern part of Tamil Nadu on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average elevation is around 6.7 metres (22 ft), and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft). Two major rivers flow through Chennai, the Cooum River (orKoovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, travels through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the Bay of Bengal, at Ennore. The estuary of this river is heavily polluted with effluents released by the industries in the region. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources, the Coumm being so heavily polluted it is regarded as the city's eyesore. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals. The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (2.5 mi) inland, runs parallel to the coast, linking the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east–west stream, runs through north Chennai and meets the Buckingham Canal at Basin Bridge. Several lakes of varying size are located on the western fringes of the city. Some areas of the city have the problem of excess iron content in groundwater.
Chennai's economy of US$58.6 billion PPP (US$17 billion nominal GDP, 2010) is currently rated the fourth-largest economy in India. Chennai has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare sectors. As of 2012, the city is India's second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major part of India's 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, India's fourth stock exchange, one of four permanently recognised by SEBI, and India's third-largest by trading volume, ranked behind the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.
Industrialisation in the city dates back to the 16th century, when textile mills manufactured goods which were exported to British during its war with France. According to Forbes magazine, Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is rated in the "Forbes-Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the World". It is ranked 4th in hosting the maximum number of Fortune 500 companies of India, next only to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. It also is home to 24 Indian companies having a net worth of more than US$1 billion. As of 2012, the city has about 34,260 identified companies in its 15 zones, of which 5,196 companies have a paid-up the capital of over ₹ 50 lakh.
Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, health care and financial services industries. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Chennai is estimated to grow to a US$100–billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025. As of 2012, with ₹ 1 lakh crore investment in the pipeline over 5 years, the city is poised for major industrial investment. Chennai is classified as a global city by GaWC, with a ranking of Beta based on the extent of global reach and financial influence.
The city is base to around 30 percent of India's automobile industry and 40 percent of auto components industry. A large number of automotive companies including Hyundai, Renault, Robert Bosch, Nissan Motors, Ashok Leyland, Daimler AG, Caterpillar Inc.,Komatsu Limited, Ford, BMW and Mitsubishi have manufacturing plants in Chennai. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi produces military vehicles, including India's main battle tank: Arjun MBT. TheIntegral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways. The Ambattur–Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and a special economic zone (SEZ) for apparel and footwear manufacturing has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai contributes more than 50 percent of India's leather exports.
Many software and software services companies have development centres in Chennai, which contributed 14 percent of India's total software exports of ₹ 14,42,140 lakh during 2006–07, making it the second largest Indian city software exporter following Bangalore. The Tidel Park in Chennai was billed as Asia's largest IT park when it was built. Major software companies have their offices set up here, with some of them making Chennai their largest base.
Prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO, Bank of America, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs,Barclays, HSBC, ING Group, Allianz, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Asian Development Bank, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Fortis, Irevna,Deutsche Bank and Citibank have back office and development centre operations in the city. Chennai is home to the national level commercial banks Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank and many state level co–operative banks, finance and insurance companies. Telecom and Electronics manufacturers based in and around Chennai include Nokia, Nokia Siemens, Motorola, Dell, Force10, Wipro, Zebronics, Foxconn and Siemens among others. Chennai is currently the largest electronics hardware exporter in India, accounting for 45% of the total exports in 2010–11. Telecom giants Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and chemicals giant Dow Chemicals have research and development facilities in Chennai. The TICEL bio–tech park at Taramani and Golden Jubilee bio–tech park at Siruseri houses biotechnology companies and laboratories. Chennai has a stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange.
A study conducted by the National Housing Bank on the residential price index of Indian cities showed that Chennai experienced the highest growth after the 2008–2012 global financial crisis. According to a study by 99acres.com in 2011, Chennai real estate saw an average price appreciation of 7 per cent with Tambaram, Chrompet and Thoraipakkam leading the way. Medical tourism is another important part of Chennai's economy with 45 percent of total medical tourists to India making to Chennai. The Tamil film industry and the Tamil television industry are also significant parts of Chennai's economy. The city also has a permanent exhibition complex in Nandambakkam called the Chennai Trade Centre. With 385 ultra-rich living in the city, Chennai is positioned in the sixth place among Indian cities that are home to the country's super-rich. The city is the third largest market in India for luxury cars.
BSNL and Airtel Reliance, Tata, are main providers of terrestrial telephone lines in Chennai. You can make long distance calls from one of the many booths that display NSD/ISD i.e. National Subscriber Dialling (National Long Distance) and International Subscriber Dialling (International Long Distance). Calling cards are also available with these providers which are considerably cheap.
Cell phone rates are one of the cheapest in the world. There are Ten GSM service providers:
- BSNL GSM Triband with 3G services
- AirTel GSM Triband with 3G services
- Vodafone GSM Triband with 3G services
- AirCel GSM Triband
- Reliance GSM launced in 2009
- Tata DOCOMO GSM launched in 2009
- Idea GSM launched in 2009
- Uninor GSM launched in 2009
- MTS CDMA launched in 2009 [www.mtsindia.in]
- Virgin GSM
- Videocon GSM launching 2010
You can buy a sim card with a photo and a copy of your passport. For making long distance calls Aircel is cheaper with ₹49 card calls to US and Canada will be ₹1.50/Min. this will work only in home network. For other destinations Please check with operator.
Starter packs and top-up cards can be picked up from numerous outlets. Seemles roaming across the country is provided by all providers.
There are several Internet cafes from where you can access the internet for sending email or uploading your digital photos.
- Reliance WebWorld, incorporating JavaGreen coffee shops, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road); TTK Road, Alwarpet, Besant Nagar, L.B.Road, Adyar. The TTK Road branch has free wifi if you use the coffee shop.
- MTS MBLAZE High Speed Broadband Internet Through USB Modems. Call 9150-955-955
Apart from that you can access Internet provided in your hotel or if you are staying long you can buy Internet packs from all mobile providers.
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