Chennai was born as a metropolitan city soon after the British negotiated a strip of land from the King of Vijayanagar to build the fortified city, Fort St. George, in 1640. Here temples and buildings built by the erstwhile royalty stand side-by-side with the gothic churches and Indo-Sarcenic architectural landmarks. Popularly known as āthe Gateway to South Indiaā, Chennai is the ever growing capital of Tamil Nadu, not to mention the largest city in the state. Shopping malls, IT companies, fine dine restaurants, educational institutes and big business houses make up its cosmopolitan faēade that stands in striking contrast to a resolute and religious interior.
Chennai is a place to shop for colorful silks, fresh flowers, spices, handicrafts and gold jewelry among others.
The city has its share of local markets filled with traditional knickknacks, from elegant silk saris and traditional dresses to musty book shops home to an impressive collection of volumes by Tamil Naduās legendary poets and novelists. Over the years, like any other metropolitan on the rise, Chennai too has sprouted sophisticated air-conditioned malls, where you can shop for world brands.
Spencer Plaza and CitiCenter malls are more popular. Khader Nawaz Khan Road in Nungambakkam is a great place to pick up chic designer stuff. T.Nagar is a Mecca for silk lovers; here you can find beautiful patterns and designs in traditional silk sarees and dress materials. At Auroville Boutique you can shop for one-off handicrafts from Pondicherry. Kalpa Druma is also popular for its range of handicrafts and antiques. Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Anna Salai is also a good place to buy traditional stuff at a reasonable price. If you wish to shop for gold jewelry, head to a gold souk where you can find ethnic to contemporary gold jewelry by a bevy of jewelers under the same roof.
Indian - Kabab Corner, Minar - The Mughlai Restaurant, Dhaba Express, Pathankot, The Copper Point at the GRT Grand Days, Sanjha Choolha, Romallee, Gyan Vaishnava Punjabi Dhaba, Amaravathi, Kitchen K, Coconut Lagoon, Komala's, Copper Chimney
Chinese - Chin Chin, Oriental Pearl, Rangis', Wang's Kitchen, The Canton, Shangai Club, Mainland China, Flower Drum, The Cascade
European/Continental - Benjarong, Gallopin' Gooseberry, Don Pepe, Zara's, Amethyst, Cedar's, The Cascade
Located on the outskirts of Chennai, about 10 kilometers (null.25 miles) from Poondi Reservoir, the Gudiyam Caves are a cluster of 16 naturally-formed rock shelters that can be reached only after a 4-kilometer trek. Naturalists and adventure enthusiasts opt to visit the Gudiyam Caves for the trek alone.
One of the most important cities of Southern India, Chennai lies of the southeast coast of India. It is situated on the flat coastal plains of northeastern Tamil Nadu. While the average elevation of the district is 6.7 meters (null feet), its highest point is at 60 meters (null feet).
Chennai is watered by three rivers: the Cooum River (nullor Koovam) runs through the city, Adyar River flows through the south, while Kortalaiyar River flows through its northeastern corner. While the Bay of Bengal lies to its east, several large and small lakes constitute the western edge.
The city of Chennai is divided into four parts. North Chennai is primarily industrial units, Central Chennai is the commercial and district, while South and West Chennai were the traditional residential areas. However, IT and ITeS are fast becoming the main industry of the city and mushrooming all across previously residential South and West parts if the city.
Being a coastal town, Chennai is spared the seasonal extremes of weather. May - June are the hottest months of the year, when maximum temperatures go up to 42 °C (null °F). January is the coolest, when the lowest recorded temperature has been 15.8 °C (null.44 °F).
Rain in the city is from the northeastern monsoon from September to December. Between May and September, the weather can only be described as humid even though the southwesterly winds provide welcome relief.
Surface - A well-maintained network of roads and highways connect Chennai to the major cities, towns and villages in and around Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and other parts of India. Traveling by road may take up a large chunk of your time as the state of Tamil Nadu is huge and Chennai has a lot of one-way roads. Road travel is for those who wish to explore at a leisurely pace while enjoying the rural scenery unfold on either side.
The state government also runs regular bus services from Chennai to the bordering states and vice versa. These buses depart from Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Koyembedu in Chennai. This bus station is believed to be the Asiaās largest bus station.
Visitors traveling by private transport from Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore can take the National Highway 4. Travelers from Kerala can take National Highway 47 to Salem in Tamil Nadu and proceed thereon to Chennai. Chennai in itself is very big and its different parts are connected to nearby towns and villages by a network of newly-built expressways.
Train - As a major metropolitan city, Chennai is well-connected with several major cities across India by the Indian Railways network. Regular train services link Chennai to metros such as Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and major tourist destinations as well. There are several train stations in Chennai, but interstate train services begin and end at the Chennai Central Railway Station. Trains to and from Kerala and other cities and towns of Tamil Nadu begin and end at the Egmore Railway Station.
Air - Regular flights connect this southern metropolitan city to major cities in India and across the globe. International airlines flying into Chennai include Lufthansa, British Airways, Sri Lankan Airways, Swiss Air, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates. In the domestic sector, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Spice Jet, Indian, Go Air, and Indigo have regular flights connecting Chennai with the Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and other Indian cities.
Anna International Airport and Kamaraj Domestic Airport at Chennai are within easy reach from the city center, and can be accessed by taxis, cabs or auto-rickshaws.
Sea - As Fort George, Chennai was an important port for the English East India Company and then the British Raj in India. Today, Chennai port is used mainly for merchant carriers. Chennai harbor is located at George Town, north of the fort. The most frequent sea connection to Chennai is via the sea line to Andaman and Nicobar islands. A few cruise liners also operate to Chennai. Of the many options available, you can start a cruise from Mumbai, stopping at important ports along the way, go round Cape Comorin and finally disembark at Chennai. However, do keep in mind, that the sea route may be adventurous it is not the most popular or comfortable way in.
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