Chennai has a chequered history of its own and was previously called Madras which is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Situated on the Coromandel Coast, Chennai is one of South India’s biggest financial, economic, commercial and educational hubs. Chennai and surrounding regions make up the Chennai Metropolitan Area and is one of the most popular choices for tourists and visitors. Chennai is one of the safest cities in the country and is known for being the health capital of India, attracting 45% of health tourists coming to the country.
Chennai also earned pride of place in the list of UNESCO Creative Cities Network or UCCN for its cultural expertise and musical traditions. The Chennai Metropolitan Area is one of the country’s biggest economies and is also called the Detroit of India and more than 1/3rd of the country’s auto industry is present here with leading OEMs and manufacturers present here. Chennai is a key film production hub and has also been chosen under the Smart Cities mission. Chennai is divided into North, South, Central and West. The north zone is majorly an industrial zone while the western and southern parts are majorly residential and are steadily transforming into commercial areas with several IT firms, call centres and financial companies based here. Chennai has expanded swiftly along the GST (Grand Southern Trunk) Road and OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road) and also towards Sriperumbudur, Koyambedu and Ambattur in the western flank. Central Madras also has several residential housing units and also houses the downtown zone and surrounding areas along with the financial district.
Chennai is home to several tourist attractions in addition to famous temples and gorgeous beaches along with several important historical and cultural centre. Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO heritage site and Chennai is also a gateway to south India. Marina Beach is a popular tourist hangout and the second biggest beach globally. Chennai is also home to the Kollywood or Tamil film industry. Chennai is home to multiple studios and recreational options include wildlife parks, beaches and zoos. The coastline in Chennai spans more than 19 kilometres. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a well-known reptile zoo which is situated 40 km southwards from the city.
There is the Guindy National Park, Arignar Anna Zoological Park and a snake Park. Chennai possesses 4.5% of the entire area under green coverage. There are close to 260 parks in the city along with multiple theme parks like Queens Land and MGM Dizzee World. Other major recreational zones are the Gymkhana Club and Madras Boat Club. There are multiple shopping malls in Chennai including the Citi Centre, Express Avenue, Spencer Plaza, Abirami Mega Mall, Forum Vijaya Mall, Phoenix Market City and Ampa Skywalk among others. Chennai is known for its thriving gold market and is also home to the World Gold Council. The retail hub of the city is situated at T. Nagar and it is also home to several IT and ITeS companies, automobile companies, financial firms and companies across various other sectors. Chennai’s flourishing film industry apart, the city is also known for its emphasis on art, culture, music and traditions which we will delve deeper into for the next edition.