Chennai is located on the Coromandel Coast and was previously known as Madras. The capital city of Tamil Nadu, it is a city which is well known for its culture, the various industries and commercial activities in the Southern part of the country.
Originally known as Madras which was taken from Madrasipattinam, it was a city of the Nayakar Dynasty. It was initially a fishing village situated in the northern part of Fort St. George. The British bought this land from the Vijayanagar rulers and constructed the Fort St. George which at present is the Secretariat of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
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The British retained the name of Madrasipattinam, although the localites called it Chennapatinam. According to legend, the city was named in honour of Damal Chennappa Nayakkar. However, in the year 1996 the government renamed the city as Chennai from Madras.
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The city is home to some beautiful beaches, a sea port and its long and scenic highways, especially the East Coast Road, fondly called ECR. It is also a hub for shopping and for those who are looking to know more about the culture of this land.
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We bring you a list of 10 must do things when you are in this beautiful city and would love to explore the city to its fullest. Once you are done reading, pack your bags and head to Chennai.
One of the busiest localities in Chennai is Koyambedu. The area houses the wholesale food market and also the largest bus terminal in Asia. The wholesale market is the end point for the vegetables and other food grains procured from across the country and is sold to the different parts of the city and its suburbs.
The market gets extremely busy in the morning hours as vendors from across the city come here to make their purchases for the day and return. Visit this market to grab hold of fresh, leafy vegetables and food grains in large quantities.
Ranganathan Street is the major commercial street in the neighborhood of T. Nagar or Thyagaraya Nagar. The street is often seen as the most crowded street in the entire world. The street has various commercial establishments which can be found in all possible sizes.
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From a street hawker, to swanky showrooms which sell clothes, jewellery and much more. In short, you would be able to buy anything as small as a safety pin to diamond jewellery in this street. A visit to Chennai is considered incomplete without visiting this street.
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Filter coffee is something which is a must drink when at the home of a Tamilian. It is a preparation of mixing boiled milk and decoction, which is brewed from coffee powder through a special process. The Kumbakonam Degree Coffee is another form of filter coffee which is served in a copper bowl and has its roots in the city. If you are a die hard coffee fan, then simply head out to one of the numerous outlets in the city and relish this divine drink.
Being a coastal city, Chennai has many beautiful beaches to its credit. Out of all the beaches in the city, Marina is special for many reasons. It is the country's longest and the world's second largest beach within a city.
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The beach stretches for about 12 km, and is one of the most prominent landmarks. The beach plays host to memorials of many well known personalties, a lighthouse and a number of statues apart from Fort St. George.
A visit to Marina Beach must be in the itinerary of anybody visiting Chennai.
Agraharam are colonies which are exclusively meant for the people belonging to the Brahmin community to stay. A typical house in an agraharam will have houses with a sit out at the entrance of every house called Thinnai, which serves the purpose of offering a passer-by a place to rest and also to catch up with the various happenings of the locality.
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Mylapore is one of the posh localities in the city and one can also find these old agraharams standing tall even today.
One of the oldest localities in the city, Parry's Corner is a major landmark and home to various business establishments. The area is well known for its wholesale shops of anything under the sun. The area has a flower market, wholesale shops of textiles, all home needs, equipments used for surgical purposes and electrical ones, hardwares and not to forget eateries.
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The list just simply won't end, it goes on and on. Parry's Corner has its various streets dedicated to each and every thing you come looking out for.
ECR or the East Coast Road is a two-lane stretch which runs parallel to the Bay of Bengal on the east coast. The road begins from Thiruvanmiyur and takes you all the way to Cuddalore through Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is 140 km away from Chennai and taking a ride on the ECR would take you through some of the well known tourist spots and large number of resorts across the coast.
The official logo of the Tamil Nadu government is a temple gopuram or tower, which itself symbolises how important temples are in the culture here. Chennai has many temples dating back to hundreds of years and some well known ones too.
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The Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Ashtalakshmi Temple, Vadapalani Murugan Temple and Thiruneermalai Vishnu Temple are some of them in the list which is never ending. Visit the temples which would give you a better understanding of the Tamil culture and tradition and also are some of the perfect examples of the Dravidian architecture.
Valluvar Kottam is located in the corner of Kodambakkam High Road and the Village Road. It was constructed in the year 1976 as a homage to Saint Thiruvalluvar, who authored the Thirukkural which has 133 chapters and 1330 verses which was completed approximately 2000 years ago.
The Valluvar Kottam has a large collection of the works of Thiruvalluvar which holds a significant place in the Tamil culture.
A well known name amongst book lovers, Higginbothams is the oldest book store in the country which is located on Mount Road. The book store was opened in 1844 by the British and has a long history associated with it.
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The book store still operates from the same place in which it was started and remains as one of the oldest landmarks in Chennai.