Monday, August 27, 2007

Chennai

Chennai

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?Chennai
சென்னை
Tamil NaduIndia
The landmark Chennai Central Railway Terminus
The landmark Chennai Central Railway Terminus
Coordinates: 13°05′N 80°16′E / 13.09, 80.27
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Metro
Elevation
181.06 km² (70 sq mi)[1]
• 1,180 km² (456 sq mi)
• 6 m (20 ft)
District(s) Chennai
Kanchipuram
Tiruvallur
Population
Density
Metro
4.35 million (5th) (2006)
• 24,418/km² (63,242/sq mi)
• 7,068,997 (4th) (2007)
Mayor M. Subramaniam
Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni
Codes
Pincode
Telephone
UN/LOCODE
Vehicle

• 600 xxx
• +91 44
• INMAA
• TN-01, 02, 04, 05, 07, 09, 10
Website: www.chennaicorporation.com

Coordinates: 13°05′N 80°16′E / 13.09, 80.27

Chennai (Tamil: சென்னை), formerly known as Madras , is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is India's fourth largest metropolitan city. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.06 million (2007),[2] the 368-year-old city is the 34th largest metropolitan area in the world.

Chennai is the third largest commercial and industrial centre in India, and is known for its cultural heritage and temple architecture. It is also a hub for south Indian classical music and dance performances. Chennai is considered the automobile capital of India, with a major percentage[3] of the automobile industry having a base here and a major portion of the nation's vehicles being produced here. This has led to Chennai being referred to as the Detroit of South Asia. It has also become a major centre for outsourced jobs from the West. The 12-kilometre long Marina Beach along the Bay of Bengal forms the city's east coast. The city is known for its sport venues and hosts an ATP tennis event, the Chennai Open.[4][5] Chennai is also one of the few cities in the world to accommodate a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its city limits. It is the sister city of Denver, Colorado, United States; Frankfurt, Germany and Volgograd, Russia.

Contents

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[edit] Name

The present name Chennai is derived from the name of one Damarla Chennappa Nayak, whose son, Venkatapathy Nayak was the ruling chieftain.[6] The name Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, the site chosen by the British East India Company for a permanent settlement in 1639. Another small town, Chennapatnam, lay to the south of it. In due course the two towns were merged, and the term Madras was favoured by the British. However, locals used to refer to it as Chennapatnam or Chennapuri. The city was renamed Chennai in August, 1996[7] as the name Madras was perceived to be of Portuguese origin. (A number of other Indian cities have enacted similar name changes.) It is believed that the original Portuguese name is Madre de Deus. The oldest church in the city, built in the 1516 and dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Luz ('Our Lady of Light') by Portuguese Franciscan missionaries, who believed they owed their survival in rough seas to her divine intervention, could be linked to this. Another version by the city's historian S. Muthiah holds that the city derived its name from the once prominent Madeiros family (variously known as Madera or Madra in succeeding years), who in 1575, adding to the confusion, also consecrated a Madre de Deus church in Santhome (demolished in 1997). There have been, however, suggestions that Chennai may not be a Tamil name while Madras may be of Tamil origin.[citation needed] Another (unproven) theory is that Chennapattinam was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal temple which later on became Chennai.[citation needed] One more theory suggests that Chennai is derived from the name of the original owner of the land Chinnappa Naicker. He is said to have sold his land to the East India Company to set up a base for the Madras Presidency[citation needed].

[edit] History

Main article: History of Chennai
The Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore is one of the oldest temples in Chennai.
The Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore is one of the oldest temples in Chennai.

The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre dating back to the 1st century. It has been ruled by South Indian kingdoms, notably the Pallava, the Chola, the Pandya, and Vijaynagar empires. The town of Mylapore, now part of the metropolis, was once a major port of the Pallava kingdom.

When the Portuguese arrived in 1522, they built a port and named it São Tomé, after the Christian apostle St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached there between the years 52 and 70. The region then passed into the hands of the Dutch, who established themselves near Pulicat just north of the city in 1612.

On 22 August 1639, Francis Day of the British East India Company obtained a small strip of land in the Coromandel Coast from the Aravidu line of Vijayanagara King, Peda Venkata Raya (a.k.a. Venkata III) in Chandragiri. The region was under by the Damerla Venkatapathy, Nayak of Vandavasi.The permission was to build a factory and warehouse for their trading activities.

A year later, Fort St George was built, which subsequently became the nucleus around which the colonial city grew. In 1746, Fort St George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages.

The British regained control of the town in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and subsequently fortified the base to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. By the late 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to establish the Madras Presidency, whose capital was Madras.

Under British rule the city grew into a major urban centre and naval base. With the advent of railways in India in the late 19th century, it was connected to other important cities such as Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), facilitating communication and trade with the hinterland. It was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, when an oil depot was shelled by the German light cruiser SMS Emden. After independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. From 1965 to 1967, Chennai was an important base for the Tamil agitation against the imposition of Hindi.

In 2004 the Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing many and permanently altering the coastline.

[edit] Geography

Chennai is situated on a flat coastal plain, as can be seen in this Landsat 7 map.
Chennai is situated on a flat coastal plain, as can be seen in this Landsat 7 map.

Chennai is located at 13.04° N 80.17° E on the southeast coast of India and in the northeast corner of Tamil Nadu. It is located on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. The city has an average elevation of 6 metres (20 feet), its highest point being 60 m (200 ft). Two rivers meander through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) in the central region and the Adyar River in the southern region. Both rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and trash from domestic and commercial sources. The Adyar, which is much less polluted than the Cooum, is de-silted and cleaned periodically by the state government. A protected estuary of the Adyar forms the natural habitat of several species of birds and animals. The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (3 miles) inland, travels parallel to the coast, linking the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east-west stream runs through north Chennai and meets the Buckingham Canal at Basin Bridge.

Chennai and surrounding towns
Chennai and surrounding towns

Several lakes of varying size are located on the western fringes of the city. Red Hills, Sholavaram and Chembarambakkam Lake supply Chennai with potable water. Groundwater sources are mostly brackish.

The geology of Chennai comprises mostly clay, shale and sandstone.[8] The city is classified into three regions based on geology, sandy areas, clayey areas and hard-rock areas. Sandy areas are found along the river banks and the coasts. Clayey regions cover most of the city. Hard rock areas are Guindy, Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet.[9] In sandy areas such as Tiruvanmiyur, Adyar, Kottivakkam, Santhome, George Town, Tondiarpet and the rest of coastal Chennai, rainwater run-off percolates very quickly. In clayey and hard rock areas, rainwater percolates slowly, but it is held by the soil for a longer time. The city's clayey areas include T.Nagar, West Mambalam, Anna Nagar, Perambur and Virugambakkam.

See also: Flora and fauna of Chennai

[edit] Climate

Chennai lies on the thermal equator and is also coastal, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. For most of the year, the weather is hot and humid. The hottest part of the year is late May and early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil, with maximum temperatures around 38–42 °C (100–107 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 19–20 °C (66–68 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 4.8 °C (40.64 °F) and highest 45 °C (113 °F)(30 May 2003).[10][11]

The average annual rainfall is about 1,300 mm (51 inches). The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from mid-September to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. Highest annual rainfall recorded is 2,570 mm in 2005.[12] The most prevailing winds in Chennai is the Southwesterly between the end of May to end of September and the Northeasterly during the rest of the year.

[hide]Weather averages for Chennai, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C 28 31 33 36 38 37 35 34 34 32 29 28 32.9
Average low °C 20 21 23 26 27 27 26 26 25 24 22 21 24
Precipitation mm 27.9 33.0 5.1 12.7 38.1 71.1 121.9 137.2 160.0 290.5 239.2 152.4 1,289.1
Average high °F 83 87 91 96 100 99 95 94 93 89 85 83 91.2
Average low °F 68 70 74 79 81 81 78 78 77 75 72 70 75.25
Precipitation inch 1.1 1.3 0.2 0.5 1.5 2.8 4.8 5.4 6.3 11.4 9.4 6.0 50.8
Source: [13] 01/02/2007
Divisions of Chennai city.  1. Egmore-Nungambakam 2. Fort Tondiarpet 3. Mambalam-Guindy 4. Mylapore-Triplicane 5. Perambur-Purasawalkkam.
Divisions of Chennai city.
1. Egmore-Nungambakam
2. Fort Tondiarpet
3. Mambalam-Guindy
4. Mylapore-Triplicane
5. Perambur-Purasawalkkam.

[edit] Water

Historically, Chennai has faced a problem of water supply shortages as no big river flows through it with a resulting over-reliance on annual monsoon rains to replenish water reservoirs. The city's ground water levels have been depleted to very low levels in many areas. Many residents buy their drinking water. An earlier Veeranam project was unsuccessful in solving the city's water supply shortages, but the New Veeranam project which became operational in September 2004 has greatly reduced dependency on distant sources.[14] In recent years however, due to heavy and consistent monsoon rains and the implementation of rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques by Chennai Metrowater at their Anna Nagar Rain Centre, water shortages have been reduced significantly, and this has led Chennai to be a model of RWH technology for other cities.[15] Moreover, newer projects like the Telugu Ganga canal project that brings water from water-surplus rivers like the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh have eased water supply shortages. The city is also constructing sea water desalination plants to further ease water supply shortages.

[edit] Layout

Main article: Chennai architecture

For administrative purposes Chennai is divided into five talukas:
1. Egmore-Nungambakam
2. Fort Tondiarpet
3. Mambalam-Guindy
4. Mylapore-Triplicane
5. Perambur-Purasawalkkam.

The Chennai Metropolitan area consists of three districts namely Chennai city and the districts of Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur. The city area covers an area of 174 km² (67 mi²).[16] The metropolitan area covers 1,177 km² (455 mi²). The city is divided on the basis of composition into four major parts: North, Central, South and West.

North Chennai is primarily an industrial area. Central Chennai is the commercial heart of the city and the downtown area. South Chennai and West Chennai, previously predominantly residential areas are fast turning into commercial areas, hosting a large number of IT and financial companies. The city is fast expanding along the Old Mahabalipuram Road, GST Road, Sriperumbdur, Koyambedu and Ambattur.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has drafted a Second Master Plan for Chennai, that aims to develop a satellite townships around the city. Contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram to the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar to the south west, Kanchipuram town, Sriperumpudur, Tiruvallur and Arakkonam to the west.

[edit] Administration

Ripon Building, which houses the Chennai Corporation, was completed 1913. It is named after former viceroy Lord Ripon.
Ripon Building, which houses the Chennai Corporation, was completed 1913. It is named after former viceroy Lord Ripon.

Chennai city is governed by the Corporation of Chennai, which consists of a Mayor and 155 Councillors representing the 155 Wards (all directly elected by the city residents), one of whom is elected by the other Councillors as a Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor preside over about 10 Standing Committees. The Corporation takes care of the civic functions of the metropolis.

The metropolitan region of Chennai covers many suburbs that are part of Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts. The larger suburbs are goverened by town municipalities while the smaller ones are governed by town councils called panchayats.

Chennai being the capital of Tamil Nadu houses the executive and legislative headquarters of the government of Tamil Nadu. They are primarily housed in the Secretariat Buildings, part of the Fort St George campus as well as many other buildings scattered around the city. The Madras High Court, whose jurisdiction extends across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is the highest judicial authority in the state and is located in the city.

Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies – Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South. The current MPs are C Kuppusami,Dayanidhi Maran and T R Baalu respectively. Chennai elects 18 MLAs to the state legislature.

Greater Chennai Police department, a division of the Tamil Nadu Police is the law enforcement agency in the city. The city police force is headed by a Commissioner of Police and the administrative control vests with the Tamil Nadu Home ministry.The current Commissioner of Police, is Nanchil Kumaran. There are thirty six sub-divisions of the Greater Chennai Police, and 121 police stations. Fifteen of these police stations are now ISO 9001:2000 certified.[17] The city's traffic is managed by the Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP). The Metropolitan suburbs are policed by the Chennai Metropolitan Police and outer district areas are policed by Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.

[edit] Utility services

The Corporation of Chennai and various municipalities of the suburbs look after civic services. Garbage handling in most zones is handled by JBM Fanalca Environment Management, a private company or by the Chennai Corporation in remaining zones. Water supply and sewage treatment is handled by the Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board popularly referred to as Metro Water. Electricity is supplied by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

The city's telephone service is serviced by four landline companies: BSNL, Tata Indicom, Reliance Infocomm and Bharti Airtel. There are six mobile phone companies: BSNL, Hutch, Bharti Airtel and Aircel which offer GSM services and Tata Indicom and Reliance Infocomm which offer CDMA services.

Broadband internet access is provided by various ISPs like Sify, BSNL, Reliance Infocomm, Hathway, Bharti Airtel and Tata Indicom through cables or Wi-Max. SCV and Hathway are the major cable TV service providers. Direct To Home (DTH) is available via DD Direct Plus, Dish TV, and Tata Sky. Chennai is the first city in India to have implemented the Conditional Access System for cable television.

[edit] Economy

Main article: Chennai economy

Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing and financial services. Other important industries include petrochemicals, textiles and apparels. The Chennai Port and Ennore Port contribute greatly to its importance. The city has a fully computerised stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange. Chennai has the fourth largest Gross Metropolitan Product in India.[citation needed]

Tidel Park, one of the largest software parks in India
Tidel Park, one of the largest software parks in India

Chennai was recently rated as having the highest quality of life among Indian cities ahead of the other three metros and Bangalore, based on the "Location Ranking Survey" conducted by ECA International. Chennai has improved its global ranking to 138 in 2006–07 from 179 in 2002–03. It is now ranked at 26th position in Asia in terms of livability, up from 31st rank in 2002–03.[18] According to a 2007 worldwide quality of life survey done by Mercer, Chennai received the second highest rating in India,[19] with New Delhi scoring the highest,[19] and came in at a relatively low 177th worldwide.[19] The reason was attributed to poor health and sanitation, and the increasing air pollution.[20]

Since the late 1990s, software development and business process outsourcing and more recently electronics manufacturing have emerged as major drivers of the city's economic growth. Chennai has been rated as the most attractive Indian city for offshoring services according to A T Kearney's Indian City Services Attractiveness Index 2005.[21] Major software and software services companies including Accenture, Cognizant Technology Solutions, CSC, EDS, HCL, HP, IBM, Infosys, Satyam, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, TCS, Verizon and Wipro, have development centres in the city. The city is now the second largest exporter of IT and IT enabled services in the country behind Bangalore. The IT Corridor, on Old Mahabalipuram Road in the southeast of the city houses several technology parks, is currently under construction in the outskirts of Chennai. The Mahindra World City, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with one of the world's largest information technology parks, is currently under construction in the outskirts of Chennai.[22]

More recently, Chennai has emerged as an electronic manufacturing hub with multinational corporations like Dell, Nokia, Motorola, Cisco, Samsung, Siemens, Sony-Ericsson, Flextronics and Foxconn setting up electronics and hardware manufacturing plants, particularly in the Sriperumbudur Special Economic Zone SEZ. Ericsson and Alcatel have research and development facilities in the city while Texas Instruments' R&D facility is in the pipeline. Semiconductor companies like SPEL and Tessolve have announced plans to set up or expand manufacturing and R&D centers in the city. The city has two main biotechnology parks, TICEL bio-tech park and Golden Jubilee bio-tech park at Siruseri that house biotechnology companies and laboratories. The city also is base to engineering R & D facilities of companies like Dow Chemicals and Pfizer.

Chennai is the base for around 49% of India's auto components industry and 34% of the vehicle industry.[citation needed] A large number of the automotive companies including several global automotive companies such as Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Mitsubishi, TVS, Ashok Leyland, Caterpillar, Royal Enfield, TI Cycles, TAFE, Dunlop, MRF have manufacturing plants in and around Chennai. Nissan-Renault and Mahindra & Mahindra joint venture, Naza Automobiles and Apollo Tyres have plants under construction. The city is a major centre for the auto ancillary industry. Hyundai is in the process of setting up engine plant in the city. The Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi produces military vehicles, including India's main battle tank: Arjun MBT. The Railway Coach building factory of the Indian Railways, the Integral Coach Factory[23] manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock.

Chennai is an important centre for banking and finance. At present it is home to three large national level commercial banks and many state level co-operative banks. Several large financial companies and insurance companies are headquartered in Chennai. Many Indian banks, multi-national banks and the World Bank have located their back office operations in the city. The city serves as a major back up centre for operations of many banks and financial companies in India.

Other major manufacturing facilities range from small scale manufacturing to large scale heavy industrial manufacturing, petrochemicals and auto ancillary plants. Several Petrochemical companies like Chennai Petro Chemicals Limited (CPCL), Manali Petro Chemicals Limited, Madras Refineries Limited (MRL), Petro Araldite and Orchid Pharmaceuticals are situated in the outskirts of the city. Chennai is also a textile industry hub with a large number of apparel industries located in the Ambattur-Padi industrial zone in the northern suburbs of the city. The city also has a large leather apparel and accessory industry. SEZ's for apparel manufacture and footwear are under construction in the southern suburbs of the city.

The city is home to the Tamil entertainment (motion pictures, television, and recorded music) industry which is the second largest in India after Bollywood. Because the film industry is largely centered around a local area called Kodambakkam, the Tamil film industry is popularly referred to as Kollywood.

See also: List of IT companies in Chennai

[edit] Demographics

Residents of Chennai are called Chennaiites. As of 2001, Chennai city had a population of 4.2 million, while the total metropolitan population was 6.4 million. The estimated metropolitan population in 2006 is 7.6 million.

Usman Road in T.Nagar is usually packed with pedestrian shoppers.
Usman Road in T.Nagar is usually packed with pedestrian shoppers.

The population density in the city is 24,418 per km² while the population density of metropolitan area is 5,847 per km². Chennai is among the densest cities in the world in terms of population per area. The sex ratio is 948 females for every 1000 males, slightly higher than the national average of 934.[24] The average literacy rate is 80.14%,[25] much higher than the national average of 64.5%. 18% of the city's population is classified as living in slum conditions.[26]

The majority of the residents of Chennai are Tamils / Tamilians and speak Tamil. English is also widely spoken, especially in business, education and other white collar professions. Tamil spoken in Chennai uses words from other languages such as Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi/Urdu liberally and is referred to as Madras bhashai (Tamil for "Madras language"). There are also sizeable Telugu and Malayalee communities in the city. A regional hub since British times, other prominent communities include Marwari, Anglo Indian, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujrati, Sindhi and people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Chennai also has a growing expatriate population who work in the industries and IT centres, including some who have now settled here, making Chennai their home. Chennai also attracts a large number of people from other parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and other parts of India each year thanks to the economic and educational opportunities it offers.

[edit] Culture

Main articles: Chennai culture and Chennai tourism
A traditional Bharata natyam performance
A traditional Bharata natyam performance

Chennai's culture reflects its diverse population. The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. Every December, Chennai holds a five week-long Music Season, which has been described as one of the world's largest cultural events.[27] The Music Season encompasses performances (kutcheries) of traditional Carnatic music by hundreds of artists in and around the city.

Chennai is also known for the classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam, which is also the official dance of Tamil Nadu. An important cultural centre for Bharatanatyam is Kalakshetra (Sanskrit for "place of the arts"), located on the beach in the south of the city. In Chennai lives and works also Padmini Chetttur, who is one of the most important representatives for contemporary dance in India.

Chennai is the base for the large Tamil movie industry, dubbed Kollywood after the locality of Kodambakkam where most of the movie studios are located. The industry makes about 300 Tamil movies a year, and its film soundtracks dominate the music scene in the city.

Chennai has a vibrant theatre scene, with a large number of Tamil plays being performed. In general, Tamil theatre is divided into the sabha-oriented theatre which are parodies on political issues or trends supported by slapstick comedy and the non-sabha oriented theatre which include serious plays and historical plays. English theatre is also popular. School and college cultural festivals (locally called culfests) play an important role by providing platforms for the city's youth to indulge in art and culture. Also present is an established and growing culture of bands in western and other styles.

Chennai celebrates a number of festivals. Pongal, celebrated in the month of January, is the most important festival of and is celebrated over a period of five days. Tamil New Year's day signifying the beginning of the Tamil Calendar usually falls on April 14 and is celebrated widely. Being a cosmopolitan city, almost all major religious festivals like Thai Poosam, Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated here.

[edit] Cuisine

Main articles: Chennai cuisine and Tamil cuisine

Chennai is known for Tamil cuisine, brought to the city by people who have migrated from different parts of Tamil Nadu. Its rich traditions offer a variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. It is also famous for its numerous restaurants that offer light meals or tiffin which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, dosai, idli and vadai, served with steaming hot filter coffee, a very popular beverage consumed in Chennai. This unique cuisine is replicated in many a Madras Cafe in other parts of India and the world.

[edit] Transport

Main article: Transport in Chennai
Map of the road and rail network in the Chennai metropolitan area
Map of the road and rail network in the Chennai metropolitan area

Popularly known as "Gateway to South India"[citation needed], Chennai is well connected internationally and to other parts of India. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Kolkata (Calcutta), Bangalore, Trichy, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry.[28] The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), which serves as the terminus for all intercity buses from Chennai, is the largest bus station in South Asia. Seven government owned transport corporations operate inter city and inter state bus services. There are also many private inter city and inter state bus companies that operate services to and from Chennai.

The Chennai International Airport (comprising the Anna International Airport and the Kamaraj Domestic Airport) serves as the city's airport for both domestic and international flights and is the third busiest in India and is the premier international gateway in South India. The city is connected to major hubs in South Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America through over thirty national and international carriers. The airport is also the second busiest cargo terminus in the country.

A new Greenfield Airport is to be constructed in the near future at an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore in Sriperumbudur.[29] The new airport would have four runways, and the existing airport is also undergoing further modernization and expansion.

The city is served by two major ports namely the Chennai Port which is one of the largest artificial ports and the Ennore Port. The Chennai port is India's second busiest container hub handling general industrial cargo, automobiles etc. The Ennore port handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk products. A smaller harbour at Royapuram is used by local fishing boats and trawlers.

There are two main railway terminals, the Chennai Central station, which is the city's largest railway station with trains to all the major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and towns in India, and Chennai Egmore, with trains primarily for destinations within Tamil Nadu and a few inter-state trains.

An MTC bus in Luz Corner with the MRTS rail line overhead in the background
An MTC bus in Luz Corner with the MRTS rail line overhead in the background

Buses, trains, and auto rickshaws are the most popular form of public transport. The Chennai suburban railway network consists of four rail sectors, namely Chennai Central—Arakkonam, Chennai Central—Sullurpeta, and Chennai Beach—Chengalpattu. The fourth sector is an elevated MRTS suburban train system (locally called Parakkum Rayil or flying rail which links Chennai Beach to Thiruvanmiyur), which is interlinked with the remaining rail network. The rail network is broad gauge. There are plans to construct an underground Metro in the City.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) runs an extensive city bus system. The bus service consists of 2,773 buses on 375 routes,[30] and transports an estimated 4.2 million passengers daily. Besides MTC services, mini-bus services are present in the suburbs of the Chennai metropolitan area. Vans which are run like bus services and popularly called "Maxi Cabs" also ply on many routes in the city. Hired transport facilities include metered call taxis, fixed rate tourist taxis and auto rickshaws.

Chennai faces problems with traffic congestion and resulting pollution. Chennai has a fairly well developed transportation infrastructure in terms of coverage and connectivity. The majority of city's population uses public transportation which gets very crowded during peak hours.

[edit] Media

Chennai has six major print media groups that publish about eight major newspapers and magazines. The major English dailies are The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Deccan Chronicle and evening dailies, The Trinity Mirror and The News Today. The major business dailies published from the city are The Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line, Business Standard, and The Financial Express. The major Tamil dailies include the Dina Thanthi, Dinakaran, Dina Mani, Dina Malar, Tamil Murasu Makkal Kural and Malai Malar. Telugu dailies Eenadu,Vaartha and Andhrajyothy, Malayalam dailies Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi and a Hindi newspaper Rajasthan Patrika are also published in the city. Besides major newspapers, there are a number of localised neighbourhood newspapers such as The Annanagar Times and The Adyar Times that cater to particular localities. Magazines published from Chennai include Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam, Kalki, Kungumam, Swathi (Telugu magazine), Frontline and Sportstar.

Doordarshan runs two terrestrial television channels and two satellite television channels from its Chennai centre. Private Tamil satellite television networks like Sun TV, Kalaignar TV, Raj TV, Star Vijay,Makkal TV and Jaya TV broadcast out of Chennai. The city has two AM and ten FM radio stations, operated by Anna University, All India Radio and private broadcasters. The FM radio stations are Anna University FM (90.4), Radio City (91.1), Aahaa FM (91.9), Big FM (92.7), Suryan FM (93.5), Radio One (94.3), Radio Mirchi (98.3), FM Rainbow (101.4), AIR Gold FM (102.3), Gyan Vani-IGNOU Regional Centre (104.2) and Hello FM (106.4).

[edit] Education

Schools in Chennai are either run publicly by the Tamil Nadu government, or run privately, some with financial aid from the government. The medium of education in private schools is English. Government run schools offer both English and Tamil medium education, English being preferred by a majority. Private schools are usually affiliated to the Tamil Nadu State Board. A few schools are affiliated to the national CBSE board, ICSE board, Anglo-Indian board and the Montessori system. A few schools also offer the International Baccalaureate and the American systems. Schooling begins at the age of three. After two years of kindergarten and twelve years of schooling, students take up non professional or professional university courses.

The main entrance to the Anna University.
The main entrance to the Anna University.

The University of Madras (1857), which has three campuses in the city, offers a range of programs in liberal arts, science and commerce. A large majority of city colleges are affiliated to the university and offer programs in medicine, law, science, Arts and commerce. Some such older institutions are the Madras Christian College (1837), Presidency College (1840), Pachaiyappa's College (1842), the Madras Medical College (1835), Stanley Medical College (1938) and Vivekananda College (1946), New College Chennai (1951), DG Vaishnav College Chennai (1964) all of which affiliated themselves to the University of Madras on its formation. Other autonomous educational establishments include Queen Mary's College (1914), Women's Christian College (1915), Loyola College, Chennai (1925), Stella Maris College, (1947) the National Institute of Fashion Technology (1995), Asian College of Journalism (2000) and the Madras School of Social Work (1952).

The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras (1959), is located in the south of the city and is internationally renowned for its engineering program. Located nearby, is the main campus of Anna University (1978), which formed from a merger of the College of Engineering, Guindy (1794), the Madras Institute of Technology (1949), the Alagappa College of Technology (1944), and the School of Architecture and Planning (1957). Almost all colleges in Tamil Nadu that offer programs in engineering, technology and architecture are affiliated to Anna University. The remaining colleges are autonomous deemed universities.

The main entrance of IIT Madras, showing its logo and its motto.
The main entrance of IIT Madras, showing its logo and its motto.

The Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai, a prominent law college in Tamil Nadu was founded in 1891. Madras Medical College, established in 1835,[31] is one of the oldest educational institutions to offer medical education in the Indian subcontinent. Stanley Medical College, Kilpauk Medical College and Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute are the other notable medical colleges in the city. Madras Veterinary College established in 1903 was the first institution of its kind in India.

The Connemara Public Library built in 1890 is one of the four National Depository Centres in India. These centres receive a copy of all newspapers and books published in India. It also is a declared UNESCO information centre. Other important libraries include the Archaeological Survey of India library at the Fort St. George, the Theosophical Society library at its headquarters in Adyar, the Ramakrishna Math Library and The Krishnamurti Foundation library in the premises of the Krishnamurti Foundation world headquarters.

[edit] Sports

M. A. Chidambaram Stadium - Chennai's International Venue for Cricket matches
M. A. Chidambaram Stadium - Chennai's International Venue for Cricket matches

Cricket is the most popular sport in Chennai. The M. A. Chidambaram Stadium (formerly known as Madras Cricket Club ground or Chepauk Stadium) in Chepauk and popularly called the MAC, is one of the oldest cricket stadiums in India built in 1916. It seats more than 50,000 and is home to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. The stadium is famous for its list of records, including the first ever test match victory that India recorded in 1951–52 when they defeated England, and the second (of only two till date) tied tests (India vs. Australia, 1986). But more than the records, what stands out at Chepauk is the atmosphere and the crowd, reputed to be the most knowledgeable and appreciative in the country. This was proved when those present gave a standing ovation to Saeed Anwar after his record breaking 194 against India in the Independence Cup match in 1997 and again when Pakistan won the Test match in 1999. A truly overwhelmed Pakistani team even made a lap of honour in appreciation of the spectators' sporting behaviour. The Chemplast Cricket Ground in the IIT Madras campus is another important cricket venue.

ATP Chennai Open - Centre Court at the SDAT Tennis Stadium complex in Nungambakkam
ATP Chennai Open - Centre Court at the SDAT Tennis Stadium complex in Nungambakkam

Tennis is another popular game in Chennai. The SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam seats about 6,000 spectators and has five synthetic surface courts. The stadium also hosts an ATP event, the Chennai Open. The tournament was awarded the title of the best new event in its second year by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Indian tennis professionals such as Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan and Mahesh Bhupathi hail from Chennai. Leander Paes did his schooling and was trained in Chennai.

Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium is the venue for hockey matches and seats 4,000. The Chennai Veerans, a Premiere Hockey League team is based in Chennai. The stadium has hosted the Champions Trophy (featuring the 6 best teams in the world) twice, most recently in 2005.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium seats 40,000 and hosts football (soccer), and athletic competitions. The complex also houses a multi purpose indoor stadium with a seating capacity of 8,000 which hosts various competitions including volleyball, basketball, table tennis. The Velachery Aquatic Complex seats 4,000 and hosts different kinds of water sports. Chennai has also hosted the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games 1995.

The Guindy Race Course for horse racing was set up in 1777. Motor racing events are held at the Sriperumbudur (Thirupperumbudur) track for cars, and the Sholavaram track for motorcycles. The Madras Boat Club was set up 1867 at the Basin Bridge and hosts rowing races. The city has two 18-hole golf courses: the Cosmopolitan Club,& the Gymkhana Club golf course, both of which were established in the late 19th century.

Chennai is also host to a long standing and thriving motorsports culture. A racing track has been developed at Irrungadkottai opposite the Hyundai factory, where races of the FISSME class, 1300 CC class and 1600 CC class are held.

Chennai was the venue in 2006 for the first Commonwealth Junior Fencing Championships.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ JNNURM Chennai city development plan, page 1
  2. ^ World Gazetteer: Chennai agglomeration
  3. ^ Chennai has the 'potential' to become Detroit of South Asia. The Hindu. Retrieved on August 6, 2005.
  4. ^ Tournament profile
  5. ^ Broadcast schedule in ESPN
  6. ^ http://www.chennai.tn.nic.in/chndistprof.htm#hist
  7. ^ Sashi Tharoor. "India's name game", International Herald Tribune.
  8. ^ Practices and Practitioners – Chennai. Rainwater harvesting. Retrieved on August 5, 2005.
  9. ^ A ready reckoner on rainwater harvesting. Govt. of Tamil Nadu / New Indian Express. Retrieved on August 5, 2005.
  10. ^ Climate of India. National Environment Agency – Singapore. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  11. ^ "Highest temperature", The Hindu, May 31, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-04-25.
  12. ^ T. Ramakrishnan. "Entering 2006, city's reservoirs filled to the brim", The hindu, Jan 03, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-05-04.
  13. ^ Weather.com Chennai. Retrieved on 01/02, 2007.
  14. ^ Chennai Water Supply. Management of water supply during acute water scarcity in 2003 & 2004. Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board (CMWSSB). Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  15. ^ "Bangalore team visits RWH structures in city", The Hindu, August 3, 2007, accessed August 11, 2007
  16. ^ General statistics. Corporation of Chennai. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  17. ^ *Chennai Police ISO 9001:2000. Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved on August 9, 2005.
  18. ^ "5 cities improve their rankings: Survey", The Economic Times, Mar 15, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  19. ^ a b c "Worldwide Quality of Living Survey", PRNewswire, April 2, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  20. ^ Health & Sanitation Survey
  21. ^ "Chennai most attractive city for offshoring services", The Hindu Business Line, Apr 02, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  22. ^ World's Largest IT Campus. Infosys, Mahindra World City. Retrieved on August 6, 2005.
  23. ^ Welcome to Official Website of ICF. Retrieved on November 19, 2005.
  24. ^ India. CIA World Factbook. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  25. ^ Districts performance on Literacy Rate in Tamil Nadu for the year 2001. Department of school education. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  26. ^ Registrar General & Census Commissioner. Slum Population – Census 2001 (PDF). The Government of India. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  27. ^ Music musings. "The Hindu" newspaper. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  28. ^ GIS database for Chennai city roads and strategies for improvement. Geospace Work Portal. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  29. ^ New Airport. "The Hindu" newspaper. Retrieved on May 22, 2007.
  30. ^ List of Routes. Metropolitan transport corporation of Chennai Ltd. Retrieved on August 4, 2005.
  31. ^ The Hindu: Madras Miscellany. Retrieved on November 19, 2005.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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State of Tamil Nadu
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Capital Chennai
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