Accommodation in Chennai
Accommodation in Chennai close to airport and local sights
The East India Company established its presence in southern India on the Bay of Bengal in 1639 with the establishment of Fort St. George. The city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, grew up around the fort area. It now serves as the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the fourth largest city in India, with over six million inhabitants. It sprawls over a large area yet, in spite of recent industrial growth, seems less congested than other large Indian cities. Its role as a trade center is furthered by rail, road, and air connections in addition to its seaport. It presents both modern and traditional charm, its many British influences juxtaposed with Tamil-Hindu traditions. The Tamil Nadu government uses Fort St. George today, and within the compound is a museum holding many remembrances of the East India Company and the British period.
Chennai is also home to the Huddleston Gardens of Theosophical Society, which holds meetings along the Adyar River under a huge banyan tree (diameter of approximately 250 feet). Marina Beach, east of the city, is known as the second longest in the world, stretching for several miles. Kalakshetra (Temple of Art) was founded in 1936 to train and support interest in bharatanatyam, the traditional dance of the region. Music and dance performances are given in the city throughout the year. The National Art Gallery and Government Museum displays an extensive collection of artifacts in its archaeology section and bronze gallery. UNESCO world heritage site at Mahabalipuram is 45 minutes from Chennai where the historic shore temple and many sightseeing places are located. Chennai can be extremely hot and humid, but does benefit from cooling sea breezes in the late afternoons and evenings.