City of Chennai is situated in South India, on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal and is a capital of the state Tamil Nadu. Its population is around 4,5 million residents, which makes it the fourth largest city in India.
The establishment of the city has begun around the built fort Saint George, which is the first equipment of the colonial style. Today the fort Saint George is located in the center of the city and is a significant monument of Chennai. In the architecture of the fort are perceived features of an Indo-Saracenic style, and later of European classic. On the territory of the fort there is even a small church, built in honour of Holy Virgin Mary.
On the lands of the state Tamil Nadu in the middle centuries existed a mighty Indian country, which had influence in the whole region. Since then have remained numerous cultural monuments and masterpieces of the Dravidian culture. Tramils, living on these lands, consider themselves for heirs of the Dravidians – an ancient Indian civilization, which has its own culture and script. Chennai is one of the most visited cities by foreign tourists after Delhi and Mumbai. Until 1996 the city was popular with the name Madras. City of Chennai is serviced by two ports, the one of which is a big and modern artificial port. The international airport in Chennai is connected with big centers in Asia, Europe and North America. There are realized around 400 flights per day and 15 million passengers are serviced annually. The most appropriate time for visit of Chennai is the time from November until January, when the heats and the rainfalls are less.
In the city of many millions, a big part of the people live on the verge of poverty and a person cannot believe, that this is at the background of the abundant heritage of interesting temples, buildings and magnificent gardens.
The central railway station of Chennai is the biggest building in the city and it provides access to small and large cities in the country. This is one astoundingly beautiful building, implemented in Gothic style, the whole of it painted in red and edged in white, which refers to the cultural heritage of India.
There are many beautiful houses, which have remained from the sojourn of the British here. One of them is the house of Ripon – a former British governor of India. It is located near the central railway station. The building represents one harmonic combination of Gothic style with elements of antiquity, and the garden with lots of greenery and flowers, is gorgeous.
The other railway junction – Chennai-Egmor is built in Indo-Saracenic style, but it is closer to the local colour in the construction. This railway station does not yield as per beauty to the main one with its exquisite towers in the center and at the perimeter of the buildig.
Chennai – The Kapaleshvar temple
The Kapaleshvar temple, dedicated to Shiva, is one of the best samples of the Dravidian architecture. It is located in residential area Milapur of Chennai. It is considered that initially the temple was built in 7 century on the sea coast. The today’s temple was built in 16 century, and is located at 1,5 km from the coast. The tower at the entrance, 36 m high was built in 1906. The smaller tower is in front of the Holy lake, which is located at the back part of the temple. The whole central tower is implemented with complex embossed images, which excite admiration. The Kapaleshvar temple organizes four festivals every year. Most important is the festival Arupathimuvar, in honour of the followers of the Shaivism. The Kapaleshvar temple is open for visitors every day as the entrance is free, and the temple services are carried out four times per day.
Shri Partasarati temple, representing a sanctuary from 8 century, is the other landmark of Chennai, characterizing the Dravidian architecture. The temple is dedicated to Krishna, but with its other name – Partasarati. It is located in one beautiful suburb, called Triplikan, beause of the lake with the lilies, the temple is visited by many worshippers from the city and the adjacent cities, especially during the festivals, organized by the temple Partasarati. The most important festivals, which are carried out here are Chithirai, Vaikunda Ekadesi, the flower festival, which continues 10 days and etc.
The Sao Tome basilica is a catholic temple, a sample of the Portuguese architecture. The basilica was built in 16 century over the grave of Saint Toma, who arrived on these lands in year 52, after he preached the Christian doctrine on the West coast. Declined and destroyed during the years, it was renovated in 1893 in a neo-Gothic style.
Chennai – Theosophical society
City of Chennai is a world center of the Theosophical society, which established itself here in 1886. It possesses holy monuments of all big religions in the world in its splendid gardens.
An interesting landmark of the city is the monument of the Tamil poet and thinker Thiruvalpuvare, representing a giant abundantly decorated chariot, in which is situated the statue of the poet in full height. Besides on the monument are engraved 1300 stanzas of his literary works.
The new building of the National art gallery in Chenai, finished in 1909, is with a stunning facade, built out of pink sandstone. It was opened by the governor of fort Saint George, Sir Arthur Lordly.
The Guindy National park is a protected territory within the framework of the city. Here are met rare trees and bushes, and in the zoo of the park can be seen elephants, antelopes, roes and other animals.
City of Chennai possesses one of the longest beach strips in the world, covered with golden sand – Marina Beach. But the swimmers should be careful, because of the underwater streams, which are frequently met here. But the south part of the coast of Chennai from Thiruvanmiyur to Neelangara is preferred by the threatened with extinction sea turtles from Olive Ridley, which lay eggs every winter here. Along the beach strip of Marina Beach there are many beautiful houses, which have remained from the time of the British. And on the north side of the beach strip on square “Anna” is built an interesting monument, called Triumph of labour. It represents four men, who are trying to move a rock. This emblematic ensemble is created by the sculptor Debi Prasad Roi Choudri. Marina Beach is a place, where many people gather, especially on the holidays.
One of the most beautiful festivals of Chennai is the festival of the harvest – Pongal, which is celebrated in January and it continues 4 days. On this day the Tamils decorate their homes with bananas and mango leaves, and on the floors at home or in the yard they create wonderful models out of colourful rice, dry flour, colourful sand and flower petals. This art, popular only in India, is called Pokolam or Rangoli. Together with the boiled rice from the first harvest, the Tamils thank the god of Sun for the successful harvest.