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Megacity in Tamil Nadu, India



Detroit of India [2]
Gateway of South India
India's health capital, overflying capital of India
country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Chennai, Kanchipuram Tiruvallur [A] [1949906]
For the previous name [19909029]
Founded 1639
• Type Mayor Council
• Corporation Greater Chennai Corporation
• Mayor Saidai Duraisamy ]
• Company representative D Karthikeyan IAS
• Police Commissioner Dr. AK Viswanathan [12] IPS
• Megacity [19456552] 19460638] 426 km 2 (164.5 km²)
• Metro 1.189 km 2 (459.07 km²) altitude
height ] 6 m (20 ft)
• Megacity [1] 7.088.000
• Rank 4th rank • Density 17,000 / km 2 (43,000 / sq mi)
• Subway 8,653,521
8,917,749 (Extended UA) [8] [8] Metro rank
Demonym (s) Chennaiite
• Officially Tamil
Time zone UTC + 05: 30 (IST)
PIN code (s)


Area code + 91-44
Vehicle registration TN-01 to TN-14, TN-18, TN-22, TN -85
Metro GDP $ 59 to $ 66 billion (PPP) [10] [11]
Website Chennai Corporation

Chennai [19456563]] (( lists); also known by its previous name Madras ( hear) or [19656093] [13] [13]) is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal and is the largest cultural, economic and educational center in South India. According to the 2011 Indian census, this is the sixth largest and fourth most populous urban agglomeration in India. Together with the neighboring regions, the city forms the metropolitan area of ​​Chennai, which is the 36th largest city in the world in terms of population. [14] Chennai is one of the most visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked the 43rd most visited city in the world for 2015. [15] In the quality of life survey, Chennai was rated as the safest city in India. [16] Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. [17] As such, it has been dubbed "India's Health Capital". As a growing metropolis in a developing country, Chennai faces significant pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems. [18]

Chennai had the third largest indigenous population in 2009 with 35,000 people. 82,790 in 2011 and estimated at over 100,000 by 2016. [19] [20] Lonely Planet, publisher of the tourism guide, named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world in 2015. [21] Chennai is classified as a beta city in the Global Cities Index, [22] and was made by India Today Named the best city in India in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. [23] [24] In 2015, Chennai was named the “hottest” city by the BBC (worthwhile and worthwhile in the long run), referring to the mix of modern and traditional values. [25] National Geographic named Chennai as the only South Asian city to be included in their 2015 list of "Top 10 Food Cities". [26] Chennai has also been named the ninth best metropolis in the world by Lonely Planet. [27] In October 2017, Chennai was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list due to its rich musical tradition. [28]

The Chennai metropolitan area is one of the largest urban economies in India. Chennai is nicknamed "The Detroit of India", [2] with more than a third of India's automotive industry based in the city. Chennai, home of the Tamil film industry, is also known as a major film production center. Chennai was selected as one of the 100 Indian cities developed as a Smart City under the Smart Cities Mission. [29]


The name Chennai comes from Telugu. [30] [31] [32] It was derived from the name of a Telugu ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, father of Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak, a Nayak ruler who served as a general under Venkata III. Served the Vijayanagar Empire, from which the British acquired the city in 1639. [33] ] [34] The first official use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sales deed dated August 8, 1639 to Francis Day of the East India Company, still before [35] the Chennakesava The Perumal Temple was built in 1646 [36] while some scholars claim the opposite. [37]

The name Madras is also of native origin. and it has been shown to be in use in India prior to the British presence. [38] A Vijayanagar era inscription from 1367 mentioning the port of Mādarasanpattanam was discovered in 2015 along with other small ports on the east coast and it has been theorized that said port is the fishing port of Royapuram. [39]

According to some sources, Madras was from Madraspattinam derived from a fishing village north of Fort St. George. [40] However, it is uncertain whether the name was used before the arrival of Europeans. [41]
The British military mapmakers believed Madras was original Mundir-raj or Mundiraj [42]

. There is also evidence that it could have come from a Portuguese phrase mãe de Deus which means "Mother of God", due to the Portuguese influence on the port city, particularly with reference to a St. Mary's Church. [43]

In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government changed the name of Madras officially in Chennai . At that time, many Indian cities underwent a name change. [44] [45] The name Madras but is occasionally used for the city, [46] as well as for places named after the city, such as University of Madras, IIT Madras, Madras Institute of Technology, Madras Medical College, Madras Veterinary College, Madras Christian College.


Clive House in Fort St. George, Madras, is believed to be the first English settlement in India to be the cornerstone of Chennai in 1609

Stone Age tools have been found near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural institute and prehistoric communities resided in the settlement. [47]

The Chennai region served as an important administrative, military and economic center for many centuries. In the 1st century BC A poet and weaver named Thiruvalluvar lived in the city of Mylapore (a district of today's Chennai). [48] From the 1st to the 12th centuries, the area of ​​what is now Tamil Nadu and parts of southern India were ruled by the Cholas. [49]

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 the area before their arrival. Sculpted caves and paintings have been identified from this period. [50] Ancient coins from around 500 BC BC Were also found from the city and its surroundings. Some of these finds belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled the region in the Middle Ages. [51]

The Portuguese arrived for the first time in 1522 and built a port named São Tomé] after the Christian apostle St. Thomas, who is said to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 oc. In 1612 the Dutch settled near Pulicat, north of Chennai. [52]

On August 20, 1639, the Francis Day of the East India Company traveled together with the nayak of Kalahasti Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu to Chandragiri Palace for an audience with the Vijayan emperor Peda Venkata Raya. [53] Day sought a grant for land on the Coromandel coast on which the company could build a factory and warehouse for its trading activities, and he managed to rent a strip of land about six kilometers long and one and a half kilometers inland for an annual period Sum of five hundred lakh pagodas. [54] [55] [56] At that time the region was primarily a fishing village, known as "Madraspatnam". [51] A year later the company built Fort St. George, the first large English settlement in India, [57] which became the core of the growing colonial town and city of Chennai that grew around this fort. [58] After independence, the fort housed the Tamil Nadu congregation until the new secretariat building opened in 2010, but shortly thereafter it was relocated to Fort St. George due to a change of government. [59]

In 1746, Fort St. George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the governor of Mauritius, who sacked the city and its surrounding villages. [52] The British regained control through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1749 and reinforced the city's fortress walls to withstand further attacks by the French and the Sultan of Mysore, Hyder Ali. [60] They resisted a French siege attempt in 1759 under the leadership of Eyre Coote. [61] 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. [62] By the 18th century, the British had conquered most of the Tamil Nadu region and the northern modern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and established the Madras Presidency, with Madras as its capital. [63]

Gradually the city developed into a major naval base and became the central administrative center of the British in southern India. [64] With the advent of the railways in India in the 19th century, the thriving city center was linked to other major cities such as Bombay and Calcutta to promote communication and trade with the hinterland. [65] Sir Arthur Lawley was governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911, promoting modern agriculture, industry, railways, education, the arts, and more democratic governance. [66] The governor lived in the government building at Fort St. George and had a country house in Guindy with access to a golf course, hockey fields, riding stables and the Guindy racecourse. [67] [1965602] [68] During the First World War, as Red Cross Commissioner in Mesopotamia, he looked after the well-being of Indian soldiers. [69] Madras was the only Indian city that was attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, [70] when on September 22, 1914 an oil depot from the German light cruiser SMS Emden was shelled when it raided shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, which disrupted shipping. [71]

After India gained independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. [72] The violent agitation of 1965 against the enforcement of Hindi and in support of the English language in India in the state marked a significant change in the political dynamism of the city, and ultimately it had a major impact on the entire state. Due to Madras and its population, English now exists in India, otherwise Hindi could be the only official language in India. [73] On July 17, 1996, the city known as Madras was officially renamed Chennai, following the national trend of using less Anglicized names. [74] On December 26, 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit the coast of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai and permanently changing the coast. [75] [76] The Chennai flood disaster in 2015 flooded large parts of the city. 269 ​​people were killed and there was damage of 86.4 billion (19459027) (1 billion USD). [77] [78] [78] [78] [19659125] [79]



Chennai is located on the southeastern coast of India in the northeastern part of Tamil Nadu in a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average height is about 6.7 meters, [80] and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft). [81] Chennai is located 2,184 kilometers south of Delhi, 1,337 kilometers southeast of Mumbai and 345 kilometers (214 miles) east of Bangalore by road. Two major rivers flow through Chennai, the Cooum River (or 19459080 Koovam) through the center and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, flows through the northern edge of the city before flowing into the Bay of Bengal at Ennore. The mouth of this river is heavily polluted with sewage released by the region's industries. [82] The Adyar and Cooum Rivers are heavily polluted with sewage and waste from domestic and commercial sources, with the Coumm being so polluted that it is considered the city's eyesore. [83] [84] A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for various bird and animal species. [85] The Buckingham Canal, 4 km inland, runs parallel to the coast and connects the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east-west river, flows through the north of Chennais and meets the Buckingham Canal at the Basin Bridge. There are several lakes of different sizes on the western edge of the city. In some areas of the city there is a problem with too high iron content in the groundwater. [86]

Chennai satellite image

Chennai's soil consists mainly of clay, slate and sandstone. [87] Most of the city is clay, mainly Manali, Kolathur, Maduravoyal, K.K. Nagar, Tambaram, Mudichur, Pallavaram Semmencherry, Alapakkam, Vyasarpadi and Anna Nagar. Sandy areas are found along the shores and coastlines and include areas such as Tiruvottiyur, George Town, Madhavaram, New Washermanpet, Chepauk, Mylapore, Porur, Adyar, Besant Nagar, and Uthandi. In these areas, rainwater quickly seeps through the soil. Areas with a hard rock surface include Guindy, Nanganallur, Pallikaranai, Alandur, Jaladampet, Velachery, Adambakkam and part of Saidapet and Perungudi. [88] [1965602] [89] The water table in Chennai is 4-5 m underground in most areas, [89] which has been significantly improved and maintained by the prescribed rainwater collection system. [90] Of the city's 24.87 km long coastline, 3.08 km is suffering from erosion, with sand being observed along the coastline on Marina Beach and between Ennore Port and Kosasthalaiyar River. [91]


] Chennai is classified in Seismic Zone III, indicating a moderate risk of earthquake damage. [92] Because of the geotectonic zone that the city falls into, the city is considered a potential location for geothermal energy. The crust has granite rocks that indicate volcanic activity in the past. Temperatures of 200 to 300 ° C are expected to be available when the ground is drilled 4 to 5 km deep. [93] The region has the oldest rocks in the country, almost a billion years old. [94]

Flora and fauna

The southern stretch of coast of Chennai's coast from Tiruvanmiyur to Neelangarai is favored by the endangered Olive Ridley Sea for turtles, which lay eggs every winter. A wide variety of cattle egrets, pond herons and other waterfowl can be seen in the Cooum and Adyar Rivers. About 75,000 birds migrate to Chennai each year. [95] Wetlands such as Pallikaranai are also home to a number of migratory birds during the monsoons and winter. [96] Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the city and its neighborhood since its inception in 1978 by members of the Madras Naturalists' Society.

Guindy National Park is a nature reserve within the city limits. Conservation and research activities take place in
Arignar Anna Zoological Park, including Olive Ridley, a sea turtle sanctuary. [97] Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a herpetology research station located 25 miles south of Chennai. [98] It is India's premier herpeto fauna protection facility and the first crocodile breeding center in Asia. [99] ​​ The city's tree cover is estimated at 64.06 km². [100] The most dominant tree species is the copper hull, followed by Indian beech and neem. A total of 121 species of trees belonging to 94 genera and 42 families are found in the city. [100]

environmental Protection

Chennai has three rivers and many lakes that stretch across the city. Urbanization has led to the shrinking of bodies of water and wetlands. [101] The number of wetlands in the city has currently decreased from 650 to just 27. [102] The government-established Chennai River Restoration Trust is working on the restoration of the Adyar River. [103] The Environmentalist Foundation of India is a volunteer group committed to wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. [104] [105]


Chennai has a tropical, humid and dry climate (Köppen: Aw). The city is located on the thermal equator [106] and is also located on the coast, which prevents extreme temperature fluctuations. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("Feuerstern") or as Kathiri Veyyil [107] . with maximum temperatures around 35–40 ° C (95–104 ° F). The coolest part of the year is January with minimum temperatures of 19 to 25 ° C (66 to 77 ° F). The lowest recorded temperature was 13.9 ° C (57.0 ° F) on December 11, 1895 and January 29, 1905. [108] The highest recorded temperature on May 31, 2003 was 45 ° C (113 ° F). [108] The average annual rainfall is around 140 cm. [109]

Most of the seasonal rainfall comes from the northeast monsoon winds from mid-October to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. The highest annual rainfall in 2005 is 257 cm (101 in). [110] The prevailing winds in Chennai are between April and October [111] usually southwest and northeast for the remainder of the year. In the past, Chennai has relied on the annual rainfall of the monsoon season to replenish its water reservoirs as no major rivers flow through the area. [112] Chennai has a water level of 2 meters for 60 percent of the year. [113]

Climatic data for Chennai, India (1981-2010)


Record high ° C (° F)
Average high ° C (° F)
Average low ° C (° F)
Record at low ° C (° F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Average monthly hours of sunshine
Source # 1: Meteorological Department of India (Temperatures and Precipitation) [114] [115]
Source no. 2: NOAA (duration of sunshine and humidity 1971–1990) [199460752]

NE Monsoon in Chennai

The city of Chennai is located on the east coast of India, also known as the Coromandel Coast.
Chennai is largely dependent on northeast Mons as 65% of the rainfall comes in that season. Cyclones and depression are common during the season. Cyclones in particular are really unpredictable. You can even move to Orissa, West Bengal, Bangladesh and also Myanmar. The season between October and December is known as the NE monsoon period. [117] Floods are common during this time. In 2015, Chennai had a record rainfall since 1918, resulting in massive flooding.

The entire east coast is prone to cyclones during the monsoon season. In 2007 a large cyclone called "Cyclone Sidr" Chennai was skipped and headed towards Bangladesh. The result was a northeast monsoon failure in Chennai that year. Even in the past, there have been many occasions when cyclones have had a major impact on the monsoons.

Land use

As of 2018, the city had a green cover of 14.9 percent, against the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) of 9 square meters of green cover per capita in cities. The city had a built-up area of ​​71 percent. Water bodies occupy an estimated 6% of the total area and at least 8% of the area has been classified as open space. [118] As of 2017, the total water volume was 339 mcft and the groundwater replenishment was 170 mc. [119]


The city of Chennai is governed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (formerly "Corporation of Madras"). , which was founded in 1688. It is the oldest surviving urban corporation in India and the second oldest surviving corporation in the world. [120] [121] In 2011 the jurisdiction of Chennai Corporation was 174 km 2 (67 sq mi) on an area of ​​426 km 2 (164 sq mi), [122] expanded divided into three regions - north, south and central, which include 200 stations. [123] [124] The company is run by a mayor, an office currently occupied by Saidai Sa. Duraisamy [125] [126] The city's mayor and city councilors are elected by the residents through a referendum. [127] While the city limits were expanded in 2011, the revised population has yet to be officially announced.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the hub agency responsible for the planning and development of the metropolis of Chennai, which extends over an area of ​​1,189 km. 2 (459 sq mi), [128] over the Chennai District and parts of the Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram Districts. The larger suburbs are governed by municipalities and the smaller by city councils (panchayats). The CMDA comprises 5 parliamentary and 28 assembly circles. [129] [130] The CMDA has drawn up an additional master plan aimed at developing satellite townships across the city. The city's adjacent satellite cities include Mahabalipuram in the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar in the southwest, and Sriperumpudur, Arakkonam, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur in the western state of Tamil Nadu, the state executive and legislative body mainly located in the secretariat buildings on the Fort St George campus. The Madras High Court is the state's highest judicial authority, with jurisdiction extending to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. [132] Chennai has three parliamentary districts - Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South - and elects 24 members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature. [133]

Law and order

The Greater Chennai Police is the city's premier law enforcement agency with over 745 km of jurisdiction 2 (288 sq mi), which includes more than 8.5 million people. It consists of 121 police stations and is headed by a police commissioner. The Greater Chennai Police is a division of the Tamil Nadu Police and administrative control rests with the Tamil Nadu Ministry of the Interior. [134] The Chennais Traffic Police (CCTP) is responsible for the traffic management in the city. The metropolitan suburbs are policed ​​by the Chennai Metropolitan Police, headed by the Chennai Police Commissionerate, and the outer district areas of the CMDA are policed ​​by the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.[135][136][137]

As of 2011[update] (prior to the expansion of Chennai Corporation area), Chennai city has a sanctioned strength of 14,000 police personnel. With a population density of 26,903 persons per square kilometer, the city had 1 policeman for every 413 people. The Chennai suburban police had about 4,093 police personnel and a ratio of 1: 1,222.[138] In 2010, the crime rate in the city was 169.2 per 100,000 people, as against an average of 341.9 in the 35 major cities of India.[139] In 2011, North Chennai zone had 30 police stations and 3 police out posts, Central Chennai zone had 28 police stations and 3 police out posts, and South Chennai zone had 30 police stations.[140]

In 2009, Madras Central Prison, one of the oldest prisons in India, built over 11 acres (4 ha) of land, was demolished; the prisoners were moved to Puzhal Central Prison.[141]


Since the 19th century, when Western scholars proposed that Dravidian languages, which dominated the southern region of India, formed a different linguistic group to that of the Indo-Aryan languages ​​that are predominant in the north of the subcontinent, the aspects of Tamil nationalism gained prominence. This resulted in the Anti-Hindi agitations in the city and across the state. However, the post-Independence re-organization of Indian states according to linguistic and ethnic basis has moderated Tamil nationalism, especially the demand for separation from the Indian Union. The Anti-Hindi agitations in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and more powerful political force in the state. The agitations of the 1960s played a crucial role in the defeat of the Tamil Nadu Congress party in the 1967 elections and the continuing dominance of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu politics.[142]

Being the capital of the Madras Province that covered a vast area of ​​the Deccan region, Chennai remained the center of politics in the southern region of India during the British colonial era. After independence, it remained the center of political activities of the state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the birthplace of the idea of ​​the Indian National Congress, commonly known as the Congress Party. Founded by Indian and British members of the Theosophical Society movement, most notably A.O. Hume,[143] the idea was originally conceived in a private meeting of 17 men after a Theosophical Convention held in the city in December 1884.[144] During the first 50 years of the Indian National Congress, the city played host to its conferences seven times in 1887, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1908, 1914 and 1927, becoming one of the strong bases for the Indian independence movement. After independence, the city hosted the Congress in 1955 in its suburb of Avadi.[145]

Chennai is also the birthplace of several regional political movements since the British era. South Indian Welfare Association, one of the earliest regional parties, was founded in 1916, which later came to be known as the Justice Party, which was the main opposition party to the Indian National Congress in the state.[146][147] In 1944, the party was renamed Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) by E. V. Ramasami (popularly known as 'Periyar'). The party was a non-political party that demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu.[148] However, due to the differences between its two leaders Periyar and C. N. Annadurai, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The DMK decided to enter into politics in 1956.

Utility services

The city's water supply and sewage treatment are managed by the Chennai MetroWater Supply and Sewage Board. Water is drawn from Red Hills Lake and Chembarambakkam Lake, the primary water reservoirs of the city,[149] and treated at water treatment plants located at Kilpauk, Puzhal, Chembarambakkam[150] and supplied to the city through 27 water distribution stations.[151] The city receives 530 million liters per day (mld) of water from Krishna River through Telugu Ganga project, 180 mld of water from the Veeranam lake project[150] and 100 mld of water from the Minjur desalination plant, the country's largest sea water desalination plant.[152][153][154] However, Chennai is predicted to face a huge deficit of 713 mld in 2026 as the demand is projected at 2.248 mld and supply estimated at only 1.535 mld.[155] The city's sewer system was designed in 1910, with some modifications in 1958.[156] There are 714 public toilets in the city managed by the city corporation,[157] and 2,000 more have been planned by the corporation.[158] The corporation also owns 52 community halls across the city.[159]

The Corporation of Chennai provides civic services to the city. Garbage collection in some of the wards is contracted to Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, a private company,[160] while the Corporation looks after the removal and processing of solid waste in the others,[161] with a superintendent engineer managing the channels. As of 2011[update]8 transfer stations exist within the city for treating the waste.[162] Garbage is dumped in two dump-yards in the city — One in Kodungaiyur and another in Pallikaranai, with a major portion of the latter covering the Pallikaranai marshland.[163] In market areas, the conservancy work is done during the night.[164] Electricity is distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.[165] Fire services are handled by the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services.[166] The city, along with the suburbs, has 33 operating fire stations.[167]

The Chennai City Region has 568 post offices, of which nearly 460 operate from rented premises.[168]


With the history of many neighborhoods of the city such as Mylapore, Triplicane, and Tiruvanmiyur antedating that of the city, the architecture of Chennai ranges in a wide chronology. The oldest buildings in the city dates from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, which include the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore and the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, built in the Dravidian architecture. This architecture includes various styles, such as those of the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagara empires. The associated Agraharam architecture, which consists of traditional row houses surrounding a temple, can still be seen in these areas.[169][170] The heritage temples at Mamallapuram at the outskirts of the city are some of the examples of the Pallava architecture. Chennai ranks second to Kolkata of Indian heritage buildings.[171]

With the advent of the Mugals and the British, the city saw a rise in a blend of Hindu, Islamic and Gothic revival styles, resulting in the distinct Indo-Saracenic style.[172] The architecture for several early institutions such as banking and commerce, railways, press and education, chiefly through the colonial rule, followed the earlier directions of the Neo-Classical and the Indo-Saracenic.[173] The Chepauk Palace in the city, designed by Paul Benfield, is said to be the first Indo-Saracenic building in India.[174] Since then, many of the colonial-era buildings in the city were designed in this style of architecture, which is most apparent around the Fort St. George built in 1640. Most of these were designed by English architects Robert Fellowes Chisholm and Henry Irwin. The best examples of this style include the Madras High Court (built in 1892), Southern Railway headquarters, Ripon Building, Government Museum, Senate House of the University of Madras, Amir Mahal, Bharat Insurance Building, Victoria Public Hall and the College of Engineering .[175] The Triumph of Labor, also known as the Labor statue, at the Marina Beach is an important landmark of Chennai.[176]

The construction of the National Art Gallery in Madras was completed in 1909. The new building, with a stunning façade, was built of pink sandstone brought from Sathyavedu, and formed part of the Madras Museum campus. It was opened, on 23 January 1909, by the Governor of Fort St. George, Sir Arthur Lawley, and called the Victoria Memorial Hall after the Queen-Empress Victoria.[177][178][179] The residential architecture in the city was based on the bungalow or the continuous row house prototypes.[173] Gothic revival style buildings include the Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations. The Santhome Church, which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1523 and is believed to house the remains of the apostle St. Thomas, was rebuilt in 1893 in neo-Gothic style.[180]

By the early 20th century, the art deco too made its entry upon the city's urban landscape. From the 1930s onwards, many buildings in George Town were built in this style, including the United India building (presently housing LIC) and the Burma Shell building (presently the Chennai House), both built in the 1930s, and the Dare House, built in 1940. Other examples include the Bombay Mutual building (presently housing LIC) and the South Indian Chamber of Commerce building.[173]
After Independence, the city witnessed a rise in the Modernism style of architecture.[173] The completion of the LIC Building in 1959, the tallest building in the country at that time,[181] marked the transition from lime-and-brick construction to concrete columns in the region.[182] The presence of the weather radar at the Chennai Port, however, prohibited the construction of buildings taller than 60 m around a radius of 10 km for several decades that followed.[183] In addition, the floor-area ratio (FAR) in the central business district is also 1.5, much less than that of smaller cities of the country. This resulted in the city expanding horizontally, unlike other metropolitan cities where vertical growth is prominent. On the contrary, the peripheral regions, especially on the southern and south-western sides, are experiencing vertical growth with the construction of buildings up to 60 floors.



Population of Chennai city


* 1639–1791:[184]
* 1871–1901:[185]
* 1871–1931:[186]
* 1931–1951:[187]
* 1951–1961:[188]
* 1991–2001:[189]
* 2001:[190]

A resident of Chennai is called a Chennaite.[191][192][193] According to 2011 census, the city had a population of 4,646,732, within the area administered by the Municipal Corporation;[194] that had 11 lakh households, with 51% of them living in rented houses.[195] The city's limits were expanded later in 2011 and its population reached 7,088,000[7] with Chennai Municipal Corporation being renamed as Greater Chennai Corporation.[7]


Tamils ​​form the majority of Chennai's population. English is spoken largely by white-collar workers,[196] often mixed into Tamil.[197] In 2001, out of the 2,937,000 migrants (33.8% of its population) in the city, 61.5% were from other parts of the state, 33.8% were from the rest of India and 3.7% were from outside the country.[198] As per the 2001 census, the number of speakers mother tongue wise are as follows, Tamil is spoken by 3,424,107 (78.8%), followed by Telugu by 419,209 (9.7%), Urdu by 180,245 (4.1%), Malayalam by 113,828 (2.6 %), Hindi by 104,084 (2.4%), and Kannada by 22,250 (0.5%).[199]Korean, Japanese, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, German and Spanish are some of the languages ​​spoken by the 2,50,000 foreign expatriates residing in the city.[200][201][202][203][204]

Religion and Ethnicity

Chennai, along with Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi, is one of the few Indian cities that are home to a diverse population of ethno-religious communities.[206] Minorities include Telugus, Marwaris, Gujaratis, Parsis,[207][208]Sindhis,[209][210]Odias,[211]Goans,[212]Kannadigas,[213]Anglo-Indians,[214]Bengalis,[215]Punjabi,[216] and Malayalees. As per the religious census of 2011, Chennai's population was 80.7% Hindu, 9.5% Muslim, 7.7% Christian, 1.1% Jain, 0.1% Sikh, 0.1% Buddhist, <0.1% following other religions and 0.8% following no religion or did not indicate any religious preference.[205]


In a 2013 survey titled 'Emerging trends in real estate in Asia Pacific 2014', Chennai emerged in the top 25 real estate destinations list in the Asia Pacific region. The city ranked 22nd in the list.[217] There are about 1,240 slums in Chennai home to about 900,000 people.[218]

As of 2011 census, there are 1.1 million households in the city and the residential housing stock available is 1,150,000 - a surplus of about 50,000 houses. About 43,700 of them are kept vacant. In the suburbs of Chennai located in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, the figures of vacant houses 56,000 and 71,000, respectively. Of the existing housing stock in the city, about 200,000 houses are not in good condition, necessitating either to rebuild or build new units. About 26,000 households live in houses without any room and another 427,000 families (with an average size of five members) live in small dwelling units with only one room. An earlier estimate shows that there is a need to generate about 420,000 units for low-income groups by 2016.[219]

As of 2012[update]an estimated population of 11,116 (0.16 percent) were homeless. Per Supreme Court guidelines, the city needs 65 shelters for the homeless. However, it has only 15, of which 8 are functioning and two are under renovation.[220]

As of 2017, there are more than 2.2 million households, with 40 percent of the residents without owning a house.[221]

Arts and culture

Museums and art galleries

National Art Gallery (Chennai)

Chennai is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions, many of which are free of admission charges and are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role.[222] The city also has one of the oldest Museum and Art Gallery in the country - Government Museum, Chennai and The National Art Gallery (Chennai),[223] established in the early 18th century.[224]
The city also hosts two art festivals annually. The "Fort Museum" inside the premises of Fort St. George is an important museum having a noteworthy collection of objects of the British era in its collection.[225] The museum is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and has in its possession, the first Flag of India hoisted at Fort St George after the declaration of India's Independence on August 15, 1947.[226]

Music and performing arts

MGR Memorial at Marina beach, Chennai

Chennai is a major center for music, art and culture in India.[227] The city is known for its classical dance shows. In 1930, for the first time in India, Madras University introduced a course of music, as part of the Bachelor of Arts curriculum.[228] The Madras Music Seasoninitiated by Madras Music Academy in 1927, is celebrated every year during the month of December.[229] It features performances of traditional Carnatic music by many artists in and around the city.[230]

An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases not only various arts of Tamil Nadu but also from the neighboring states, like kalari (from Kerala), which is a major attraction, is held in January every year. The Specialty of Chennai Sangamam is that the various programs are held near or at the various famous landmarks in the city so that everyone in the city has access to the programs and there is no fee charged for entry for any of the programs.[231]Pookolama form of art that uses colored flour to create patterns and designs, comes from Kerala, but can be seen in abundance at the time of Onam.[232]

The city has a diverse theater scene and is one of the important centers for Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu and is the oldest dance of India.[233] An important cultural center for Bharata Natyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city.[234] In 2012, a group of five Bharatha Natyam dancers from Chennai performed at the India Campaign during the 2012 Summer Olympics.[235]
Chennai has been featured in UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list since October 2017 for its century-old musical tradition.[28] Chennai is also home to some choirs, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English.[236][237]


Madras is divided into four broad regions: North, Central, South and West. North Madras is primarily an industrial area. South Madras and West Madras, previously mostly residential, are fast becoming commercial, home to a growing number of information technology firms, financial companies and call centers. The city is expanding quickly along the Old Mahabalipuram Road and the Grand Southern Trunk Road (GST Road) in the south and towards Ambattur, Koyambedu and Sriperumbdur in the west.[238] Central Madras comprises residential elements, but is primarily home to the downtown area, and surrounding areas, the most visited by travelers to the city. The financial district is also located here.[239]

Tourism and hospitality

With temples, beaches and centers 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.[240][241] In 2011, Chennai was ranked 41st in the global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010.[242] About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011.[243] Top foreign nationals visiting the city include those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France and United States. In 2015, the city received 4,243,700 foreign tourists making it the 3rd most visited city in India after Delhi and Mumbai and 43rd most visited city in the world by foreign tourists.[15] As of 2012[update]the city had 21 luxury hotels in the five-star category, with over 4,500 rooms in the inventory.[244]


Marina Beach is a famous landmark. It is the second largest beach in the world

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.[245] Chennai hosts major film studios, including AVM Productions, the oldest surviving studio in India.[246] As of 2012[update]there are 120 cinema screens and multiplexes. Major multiplexes include Sathyam Cinemas, Escape cinemas, Devi, Abirami complex and Mayajaal.[247] Chennai's expansive theater network stages many Tamil plays of many genres: political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama.[248][249][250] English plays are popular in the city, along with the more common Tamil-language plays.[251]


Zoo, beaches, and wildlife parks form the primary recreation areas of the city. Chennai has a total coast length of more than 19 km. Marina Beach runs for 6 km (3.7 mi), spanning along the shoreline of the city between the deltas of Cooum and Adyar, and is the second longest urban beach in the world.[252]Elliot's Beach lies south of the Adyar delta. Covelong beach lies along the coromandal coast.[253]

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo located 40 kilometers (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 center has one of the world's largest collections of reptiles and has bred 14 of the 23 existing species of crocodiles and alligators.[254] The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 2 million visitors per year.[255] 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.[256] The city has an estimated 4.5 percent of its area under green cover.[257] 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.[258] The city has a per capita park space of 0.41 sq m, which is the least among all metros in India.[258] The eight zones in the newly added areas of the city have about 265 locations that have been identified for development of new parks.[259]