Chennai has been witnessing the hustle and bustle of city life right since its inception. Owing to its close proximity to the Bay of Bengal and it being a good natural harbor, it functioned as a key port of the country since time immemorial and became a major bone of contention for various rulers as control of Chennai became synonymous with economic prosperity. Today, Chennai survives as one of the major metropolitan cities of the country. Besides having been at the centre of such crucial chapters of history, there are many other equally fascinating facets of this city, which this blog seeks to explore:
• The famous classical Indian dance form – Bharatnatyam – germinated here. This beautiful dance form is usually performed by women. It was traditionally performed by the Hindu devadasis in Hindu temples to please deities.
• It is home to Fort St. George. This iconic structure was erected in 1640 by the British East India Company. This is the first fortress constructed by the British in India. It was made with the motive of giving a boost to all the trading activity in Chennai.
• The city also houses the famous 19th century social reformer Swami Vivekanand’s house. Known as ‘The Ice House’, this is a major centre for pilgrims and admirers of Vivekanand from different parts of the nation to visit.
• One of the things that makes Chennai what it is today is its flourishing automobile industry. Manufacturing about 40% of the country’s motor vehicles, Chennai has earned the label of being ‘the Detroit of India’.
• Chennai also has Vandalur Zoo. Established in 1885, this is the first public zoo of India. It is also one of the largest zoos in the country.
• A very famous place to stop by is the ‘Cotton Street’, which is situated along the Pantheon Road. For all those shopaholics looking for elegant cotton saris, this is the ultimate one-stop destination to buy ethnic cotton dresses.
• Chennai is famous for quite a few dishes that originate from this region. Some of the more popular ones include Meen Kozhambu (a local fish curry), Chicken 65 (a chicken dish made with a rich gravy), Murukku (a favourite snack of the locals made from rice flour), Chicken Chettinad (a sizzling curry that goes well with dosas) and Kuzhi Paniyaram (little dumplings that are fried or steamed).
• A striking thing, which makes Chennai special, is that it is the nucleus of Tollywood. It houses the famous MGR Film City. Named after the popular Tamil actor MG Ramachandran, this is a popular place where an array of Telugu films is posturized and attracts a host of tourists from different parts of the city.
• Another interesting fact about this city is that Viswanathan Anand, the globally acclaimed chess champion, hails from Chennai. This grand master of chess is the first sportsperson to bag the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest honour awarded by the Government of India to a sports person.