2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Asia
| Tamil Nadu
- 6 m
|Time zone||IST ( UTC+5:30)|
| Population ( 2006)
- Agglomeration ( 2006)
- 6,957,669 ( 4th)
- 600 xxx
- +91 44
- TN-01 to TN-22
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 6.96 million (2006), the 368-year-old city is the 34th largest metropolitan area in the world.(
Chennai is a large commercial and industrial centre, 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 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 forms the city's east coast and is one of the longest beaches in the world . The city is known for its sport venues and hosts an ATP tennis event, the Chennai Open. Chennai is also one of the rare cities to accommodate a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its city limits.
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 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 Sois, named after a Portuguese high authority who was one among the early settlers in 1500. There have been however been suggestions that Chennai may not be a Tamil name while Madras may be of Tamil origin.
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, the British East India Company was granted land by the Damerla Venkatadri, Nayak of Vandavasi, as a base for a permanent settlement, believed to be called Madrasemen. 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. Chennai had witnessed some political violence due to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, after 33 people were killed by a bomb planted by the Tamil Eelam Army at the airport in 1984 and following the assassination of thirteen members of the Sri Lankan separatist group EPRLF, and two Indian civilians by the rival LTTE in 1991. Strong measures were taken and the city has not faced any major terrorist activity since then. The city was renamed Chennai in August 1996 as the name Madras was perceived to be of Portuguese origin.
In 2004 the Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing many and permanently altering the coastline.
Chennai is located aton 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.
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 city's water supply has proved inadequate for its population, and an over-reliance on annual monsoon rains to replenish water reservoirs has compounded problems. There had been some attempts to pipe in water from other sources, such as the Veeranam, a water-rich place in Tamil Nadu or from the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh. Water is a precious commodity in Chennai and this has given rise to private water tankers supplying many areas. Alternative measures such as reverse osmosis and rainwater harvesting have been taken up. Chennai Metrowater has currently finalised a bid to construct a reverse osmosis plant with a capacity of 100 million litres per day (about 15 litres per person per day).
The geology of Chennai comprises of mostly clay, shale and sandstone. 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. In sandy areas such as Tiruvanmiyur, Adyar, Kottivakkam, Santhome, George Town 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, Kolathur and Virugambakkam.
Chennai lies on the thermal equator, and thus sees little variation in seasonal temperature. Its proximity to the sea gives it a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The highest temperatures are experienced in late May and early June and usually vary between 38 ° C (100.4 ° F) and 42 ° C (107.6 ° F) though it sometimes nearly touches 45 °C (113 °F) for a few days. Average daily temperature in Chennai during January is around 24 °C (75 °F), though the temperature rarely falls below 18 °C (64 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 15.8 °C (60.4 °F) and highest 47.1 °C (116.8 °F).
The average annual rainfall is about 1,300 mm (47.2 inches). The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from Mid October to Mid December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city.
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). 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.
Contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram to the south, Chengalpattu to the south west, Kanchipuram town, Sriperumpudur, Tiruvallur and Arakkonam to the west.
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 Pondicherry, 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. 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. The city's traffic is managed by the Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP). Metropolitan suburbs are policed by the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.
The Corporation of Chennai and various Municipalities of the suburbs look after civic services. Garbage handling is handled by Onyx, a private company. 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 Airtel. There are six mobile phone companies: BSNL, Hutch, Airtel and Aircel which offer GSM services and Tata Indicom and Reliance Infocomm which offer CDMA services. The phone companies also offer broadband internet access. 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 only city in India to have implemented the Conditional Access System for cable television.
Chennai has a diversified economic base. The main industries are 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 GMP( Gross Metropolitan Product)in India.
Since the late 1990s, software development and business process outsourcing and more recently manufacturing have emerged as major areas in the city's economy. 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. Software services giants like Infosys, TCS, Wipro, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Satyam, HCL, EDS, CSC, IBM, Verizon, Accenture, Sun Microsystems and HP have development centres in the city. The IT Corridor, on Old Mahabalipuram Road in the southeast of the city houses several technology parks. 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.
Multinational corporations like Dell, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Siemens, Flextronics and Foxconn have or are in the process of setting up Electronics / Hardware manufacturing plants in the Sriperumbudur electronics 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 bio technology companies and laboratories.
Chennai is the base for around 48 per cent of India's auto components industry and 29 per cent of the vehicle industry. A large number of the automotive companies in India are based in Chennai. Several global automotive companies such as Hyundai, Ford, Mitsubishi, TVS, Ashok Leyland, Caterpillar, Royal Enfield, TI Cycles, TAFE, Dunlop, MRF have manufacturing plants in and around Chennai while BMW , Mahindra & Mahindra, and Apollo Tyres have plants under construction around chennai. The city is a major centre for the auto ancillary industry. Hyundai is in the process of setting up engine plant in the city. Naza Auto has firmed up plans to invest $259 million in its proposed chennai plant. 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 Chennai.
The Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi produces military vehicles, including India's main battle tank: Arjun. The Railway Coach building factory of the Indian Railways, the Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and locomotives.
Chennai is an important centre for banking and finance. At present it is home to three large national banks 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, pertochemicals and auto ancillary plants. Chennai is 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.
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 7.0 million.
The population density in the city is 24,418 per km² while the overall population density is 5,847 per km². The sex ratio is 948 females for every 1000 males, slightly higher than the national average of 934. The average literacy rate is 80.14%, much higher than the national average of 59.5%. 18% percent of the city's population is classified as living in slum conditions.
The main problem Chennai faces is overpopulation and resulting water scarcity. Residential skyscrapers are generally not favoured, leading to urban sprawl, with consequent increase in commuting time and ownership of private vehicles. High land prices and the lack of space has pushed many members of the lower strata of society into residing in slums, which tend to have poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water.
The majority of residents in Chennai are Tamilians and speak Tamil. English is widely spoken, especially in business, education and other white collar professions. Tamil spoken in Chennai uses English words liberally, so much so that it is often called Madras bhashai (Tamil for "Madras language"). There are also sizeable Malayalee, Telugu and Urdu speaking communities. A regional hub since British times, other prominent communities include Marwari, Anglo Indian, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati communities and people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Chennai also has a growing expatriate population who work in the industries and IT centres.
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. 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.
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 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 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 Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated here.
Chennai is famous for its numerous restaurants that offer light meals or tiffin which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, dosa, idli or vada, 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.
Popularly known as "Gateway to South India", 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. 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 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.
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 for destinations within Tamil Nadu.
Buses and trains 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, 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, 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.
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 national CBSE board or to the Tamil Nadu State Board. A few schools are affiliated to the ICSE 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 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 (1948), New College Chennai (1951) all of which affiliated themselves to the University of Madras on its formation. Other autonomous educational establishments include 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 Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai, a prominent law college in Tamil Nadu was founded in 1891. Madras Medical College, established in 1835, 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 Ramakrishna Math Library and The Krishnamurti Foundation library in the premises of the Krishnamurti Foundation world headquarters.
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. 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.
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, basket ball, 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 was the venue in 2006 for the first Commonwealth Junior Fencing Championships.