Chennai (சென்னை)

Madras (மெட்ராஸ்)

—  metropolitan city  —
Clock-wise from top: Chennai Central, Marina Beach, Kapaleeswarar Temple, Santhome Basilica, Bharatanatyam recital
Chennai (சென்னை)
Location of Chennai (சென்னை)
in Tamil Nadu and India
Coordinates 13°5′2″N 80°16′12″E / 13.08389°N 80.27°E / 13.08389; 80.27Coordinates: 13°5′2″N 80°16′12″E / 13.08389°N 80.27°E / 13.08389; 80.27
Former name Madras, Madarasapatnam
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s)  • Chennai
 • Kanchipuram
 • Tiruvallur
Mayor Saidai Sa. Duraisamy(AIADMK)
Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan



[2] a (6th) (2011)
26,903 /km2 (69,678 /sq mi)
8,696,010[3] (4th) (2011)

Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)


426 km2 (164 sq mi)[4]

1,189 square kilometres (459 sq mi)
6 metres (20 ft)


Chennai (Tamil: சென்னை; [ˈtɕennəj]), formerly known as Madras (Tamil: மெட்ராஸ் or மதறாஸ்; [mæˈdrəs]) or Madarasapatinam (Tamil: மதராசப்பட்டினம்), is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India. As of 2011, Chennai had a population of 4.68 million within the area administered by the Chennai Corporation and an extended metropolitan population of nine million.

Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare industries. The city is India's second largest exporter of software, information technology (IT) and information-technology-enabled services (ITES).[5][6] A major chunk of India's automobile manufacturing industry is based in and around the city. Chennai accounts for 30% of the country's automotive exports and 40% of the auto components, which leads it to be called as 'The Detroit of Asia'.[7]

Chennai is an important centre for Carnatic music and hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a vibrant theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry, currently the second largest film industry in India, is based in Chennai.[8]



The name chennai is a shortened form of Chennapattanam (சென்னப்பட்டணம்), the name of the town that grew around Fort St. George, which was built by the English in 1640.[9] There are two versions about the origin of the name Chennai: according to one version, Chennapattanam was named after Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, Nayaka of Kalahasthi and Vandavasi, father of Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu, from whom the English acquired the town in 1639. The first official use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sale deed, dated 8 August 1639, to Francis Day of the English East India Company.[10] According to the second account, Chennapattanam was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple; the word chenni in Tamil means face, and the temple was regarded as the face of the city.[11]

The city's former name, Madras, is derived from Madraspattinam, a fishing village north of Fort St. George. There is some argument among researchers about the exact origin of the name Madraspattinam. It has been suggested that the Portuguese, who arrived in the area in the 16th century, may have named the village Madre de Deus, meaning the Mother of God. Another possibility is that the village's name came from the prominent Madeiros family (variously known as Madera or Madra in succeeding years) of Portuguese origin, which consecrated the Madre de Deus Church in the Santhome locality of Chennai in 1575. It is uncertain whether the name 'Madraspattinam' was in use before European influence.[12]

Sometime after the English gained possession of the area in the 17th century, the two towns, Madraspattinam and Chennapattinam, were merged, and the English referred to the united town as Madraspattinam. The state government officially changed the name to Chennai in 1996, at a time when many Indian cities were being renamed.[13]


The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre since the 1st century. Stone age implements were found in a pit near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment.[14]

Victoria Public Hall, an example of a colonial building in Chennai

The area was ruled by various South Indian rulers - the Pallava, the Chera, the Chola, the Pandya, and the Vijaynagar.[14] The Portuguese arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St Thomas,[15] who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 AD. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, just north of the city.

On 22 August 1639, Francis Day of the British East India Company bought a small strip of land on the Coromandel Coast. The region was ruled by Chennapa Nayak, the Nayaka of Vandavasi.[14] He granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. A year later, the British built Fort St George, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city. Fort St. George housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010.[14][16] 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.[15] The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and fortified the town's fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and another looming threat, Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. British forces reisted a French siege attempt in 1759. In 1769 the city was threatened by Mysore before the Treaty of Madras ended the war. 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, establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as the capital.[17] 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, the thriving urban centre was connected to other important cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting increased communication and trade with the hinterland.

Madras 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 on 22 September 1914, as it raided shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, causing disruption to shipping.[18]

After India gained its independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, renamed the state of Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the imposition of Hindi as the national language, marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and the whole state.[19]

On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing many and permanently altering the coastline.[20]



Chennai is on a flat coastal plain, as shown on this Landsat 7 map.
Marina Beach is the world's second largest beach with a length of 6 km.[21]

Chennai is located on the south-eastern coast of India in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average elevation is around 6.7 metres (22 ft),[22] and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft).[23] The Marina Beach runs for 6 km along the shoreline of the city and is the second largest beach in the world.[21] Two rivers meander through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, flows through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the sea at Ennore. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources. The state government periodically removes silt and pollution from the Adyar river, which is much less polluted than the Cooum. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals.[24][25] According to an A.C. Nielsen survey, Chennai is regarded as the second cleanest city in India.[26] The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (2.5 mi) inland, runs 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 becoming brackish.[27]

Chennai's soil is mostly clay, shale and sandstone.[28] Sandy areas are found along the river banks and coasts, such as Thiruvanmiyur, Adyar, Kottivakkam, Santhome, George Town, Tondiarpet and the rest of coastal Chennai. Here rainwater runoff percolates quickly through the soil. Clay underlies most of the city including T. Nagar, West Mambalam, Anna Nagar, Villivakkam, Perambur and Virugambakkam. Areas of hard rock include Guindy, Perungudi, Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet.[29] Chennai is divided into four broad regions: North, Central, South and West. North Chennai is primarily an industrial area. Central Chennai is the commercial heart of the city and includes an important business district, Parry's Corner. South Chennai and West Chennai, previously mostly residential, are fast becoming commercial, home to a growing number of information technology firms, financial companies and call centres. The city is expanding quickly along the Old Mahabalipuram Road and the Grand Southern Trunk Road (GST Road) in the south and towards Ambattur, Koyambedu and Sriperumbdur in the west.[30] Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits.[31] The city has an estimated 4.5% of its area under green cover.[32] This enables Chennai residents to go Birding in Chennai.


Chennai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator[33] and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The weather is hot and humid for most of the year. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil,[34] with maximum temperatures around 38–42 °C (100–108 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 15.8 °C (60.4 °F) and highest 45 °C (113 °F)[35] The average annual rainfall is about 140 cm (55 in).[36] 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. The highest annual rainfall recorded is 257 cm (101 in) in 2005.[37] Prevailing winds in Chennai are usually southwesterly between April and October[38] and northeasterly during the rest of the year.

Climate data for Chennai
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28.4
Average low °C (°F) 20.6
Rainfall mm (inches) 20.3
Avg. rainy days 1.9 1.3 .4 1.3 2.0 7.6 9.8 10.9 10.0 12.1 11.8 6.9 76
Sunshine hours 269.7 271.2 294.5 291.0 279.0 204.0 186.0 192.2 198.0 195.3 183.0 204.6 2,768.5
Source no. 1: WMO [39]
Source no. 2: HKO (sun only, 1971–1990) [40]


Historically, Chennai has relied on annual monsoon rains to replenish water reservoirs, as no major rivers flow through the area. With a steadily increasing population, the city has faced water supply shortages, and its ground water levels have been depleted. An earlier Veeranam Lake project failed to solve the city's water problems, but the New Veeranam project, which became operational in September 2004, has greatly reduced dependency on distant sources.[41] In recent years, heavy and consistent monsoon rains and rainwater harvesting (RWH) by Chennai Metrowater at its Anna Nagar Rain Centre have significantly reduced water shortages.[42] Moreover, newer projects like the Telugu Ganga project that bring water from water-surplus rivers like the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh have eased water shortages. The city houses India's largest constructed sea water desalination plant to further increase the water supply.[43][44][45] However, Chennai is expected to face a huge deficit of 713 million litres per day (MLD) as the demand is projected at 2,248 MLD and supply estimated at only 1,535 MLD in 2026.[46]


City officials, as of July 2011[47][48]
Mayor Saidai Duraisamy
Deputy Mayor R Sathya Bama
Corporation Commissioner Karthikeyan
Commissioner of Police J K Tripathy[49]

Chennai city is governed by the Corporation of Chennai erstwhile, Corporation of Madras. Established in 1688, it is the oldest municipal corporation not only in India, but also in any Commonwealth nation outside the United Kingdom. It consists of 155 councillors who represent 155 wards and are directly elected by the city's residents. From among themselves, the councillors elect a mayor and a deputy mayor who preside over about six standing committees.[50]

The area of jurisdiction of the Corporation of Chennai is set to expand manifold from its present extent of 174 km² to 426 km².[51] On doing this the population of Chennai is also set to increase from the present 4.5 million to over 8 million.

Ripon Building, Commissioned in 1913 and the seat of the Chennai Corporation

Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, houses the state executive and legislative headquarters primarily in the Secretariat Buildings on the Fort St George campus but also in 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 also in the city. Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies – Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South – and elects 16 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature.[52]

The metropolitan region of Chennai covers 5 parliamentary constituencies and 28 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and many suburbs that are part of Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts. The larger suburbs are governed by town municipalities, and the smaller ones are governed by town councils called panchayats. While the city covers an area of 174 km2 (67 sq mi),[53] the metropolitan area is spread over 1,189 km2 (459 sq mi).[54] The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has drafted a second Master Plan that aims to develop satellite townships around the city. Contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram to the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar to the southwest, and Kanchipuram town, Sriperumpudur, Tiruvallur and Arakkonam to the west.[55]

Law and order

The 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 administrative control rests with the Tamil Nadu Home Ministry. The department consists of 121 police stations.[56] 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 the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.

Chennai city, the second most densely populated city in the country after Delhi, has a sanctioned strength of 14,000 police personnel compared with Delhi's 83,000, Mumbai's 45,000 and Kolkata's 23,000. With a population density of 26,903 persons per square kilometre, the city has 1 policeman for every 413 people. Chennai suburban police has about 4,093 police personnel and has a ratio of 1:1,222 compared to Mumbai and Mumbai suburban with 1:267, Delhi with 1:200 and Kolkata with 1:222.[57]

In 2005, the crime rate in the city was 313.3 per 100,000 people, accounting for 6.2% of all crimes reported in major cities in India.[58] The number of crimes in the city showed a significant increase of 61.8% from 2004.[59]

Utility services

A Chennai Metropolitan Police patrol car

The Corporation of Chennai and municipalities of the suburbs provide civic services. Garbage in most zones is handled by Neel Metal Fanalica Environment Management, a private company, and by the Chennai Corporation in the other zones.[60] Water supply and sewage treatment are handled by the Chennai MetroWater Supply and Sewage Board, popularly referred to as CMWSSB. Electricity is distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.[61]

Historically, Chennai has relied on annual monsoon rains to replenish water reservoirs, as no major rivers flow through the area. With a steadily increasing population, the city has faced water supply shortages, and its ground water levels have been depleted. An earlier Veeranam Lake project failed to solve the city's water problems, but the New Veeranam project, which became operational in September 2004, has greatly reduced dependency on distant sources.[41] In recent years, heavy and consistent monsoon rains and rainwater harvesting (RWH) by Chennai Metro water at its Anna Nagar Rain Centre have significantly reduced water shortages.[42] Moreover, newer projects like the Telugu Ganga project that bring water from water-surplus rivers like the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh have eased water shortages. The city has constructed water desalination plants to further increase the water supply.[44][45]

Telephone services in the city are provided by nine mobile phone service companies that include nine GSM networks and two CDMA networks along with four land line companies.[62][63] Commercial and domestic broadband Internet services are provided by all the four land line service providers and a majority of the mobile network service providers. Chennai was the first Indian city to have the Wi-Fi facility in a widespread manner.[64]


Parry's Corner, one of the oldest business areas of Chennai

According to Forbes magazine, Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.[65] It has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, health care and financial services industries.[66] According to the CII, Chennai is estimated to grow to a $100-billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025.[67]

The city is base to around 30% of India's automobile industry[68] and 35% of its auto components industry.[69] A large number of automotive companies including Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Komatsu, The TVS Group (TVS Electronics and TVS Motors), Ashok Leyland, Daimler Trucks, TI Cycles of India, TAFE Tractors, Royal Enfield, Caterpillar Inc., Caparo, Madras Rubber Factory (MRF), Michelin and Apollo Tyres have or are in the process of setting up manufacturing plants in and around Chennai.[70] The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi produces military vehicles, including India's main battle tank: Arjun MBT. The Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways.[71] The Ambattur-Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and an SEZ for apparel and footwear manufacture has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city.[72] Chennai contributes more than 50% of India's leather exports.[73]

Tidel Park, Asia's largest IT park

Many software and software services companies have development centres in Chennai, which contributed 14% of India's total software exports of INR 144,214 crores during 2006–07, making it the second-largest exporter, by city, of software in the country, behind Bangalore.[5] The Tidel Park in Chennai is Asia's largest IT park.[74] Major software companies have their offices set up here, with some of them making Chennai their largest base.[6] Prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank have back office operations in the city.[75] Chennai is home to two large national level commercial banks[76][77][78] and many state level co-operative banks, finance and insurance companies. Telecom and Electronics manufacturers based in and around Chennai include Nokia, Nokia Siemens, Motorola, Dell, Zebronics, Foxconn and Siemens among others. Telecom giants Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and chemicals giant Dow Chemicals have research and development facilities in Chennai. TICEL bio-tech park[79] and Golden Jubilee bio-tech park[80] at Siruseri house biotechnology companies and laboratories. Chennai has a fully computerised stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange.[81] Medical tourism is another important part of Chennai's economy with health care providers like Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare based in the city and the city is considered to be the health care capital of India.[82] The Tamil movie industry and the related Tamil music industry and the Tamil television industry are also significant parts of Chennai's economy.

In the Inventory of World cities from the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, Chennai's level of network integration with other world cities is ranked as a "Beta", alongside cities such as Auckland, Beirut, Bucharest, Budapest, Cape Town, Caracas, Chennai, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Karachi, Kiev, Lima, Luxembourg, Manchester, Minneapolis, Montevideo, Oslo, Riyadh and Seattle.[83]


Skyline of Chennai
Religions in Chennai
Religion Percentage

A resident of Chennai (Madras) is called a Chennaite. According to the provisional population results of 2011, Chennai city has a population of 4,681,087,[2] with a density of 26,903, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The city registered a growth rate of 8% during the period 1991–2001.[90] The population of the metropolitan area is estimated to be more than 9.24 million.[91] The estimated metropolitan population in 2006 is 4.5 million. With the area of the Chennai Corporation being extended to 426 km² the population with in the area administered by the corporation was 5.6 million in 2001 which makes it the third largest city in India.[92] In 2001, the population density in the city was 24,682 per km² (63,926 per mi²), while the population density of the metropolitan area was 5,922 per km² (15,337 per mi²), making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world.[91][93] The sex ratio is 951 females for every 1,000 males,[94] slightly higher than the national average of 944.[95] The average literacy rate rose from 85.33% in 2001 to 90.33% in 2011,[96] much higher than the national average of 64.5%. However, the city has the fourth highest population of slum dwellers among major cities in India, with about 820,000 people (18.6% of its population) living in slum conditions.[97]

The majority of the population in Chennai are Tamils. Tamil is the primary language spoken in Chennai. English comes next. Telugus form the majority among the non-Tamil community.[98] Chennai also has a large migrant population, who come from other parts of Tamil Nadu and from the rest of the country apart from few Marwaris, Oriyans, Malayalis, Anglo-Indians, Bengalis and Punjabi and Kannadigas. Chennai also has a small expatriate population who work in IT firms. As of 2001, out of the 937,000 migrants (21.6% of its population) in the city, 74.5% were from other parts of the state, 23.8% were from rest of India and 1.7% were from outside the country.[99]

According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute about 81.3% of the city's population, and Muslims (9.4%), Christians (7.6%) and Jains (1.1%) are other major religious groups.[100]


Ramakrishna Math in Mylapore
A Bharata natyam concert

Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India.[101] The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. Every December, Chennai holds a five-week long Music Season celebrating the 1927 opening of the Madras Music Academy.[102] It features performances (kutcheries) of traditional Carnatic music by hundreds of artists in and around the city. An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases various arts of Tamil Nadu is held in January every year.[103] Chennai is also known for Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu. An important cultural centre for Bharatanatyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city.[104] Chennai is also home to some choirs, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English.[105][106]

Chennai is the base for the Tamil movie industry, known as Kollywood.[107] Chennai's theatres stage many Tamil plays; political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama are among the popular genres.[108][109][110] English plays are also becoming popular in the city.[111]

Among Chennai's festivals, Pongal is celebrated over five days in January. Many major religious festivals such as Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated in Chennai. Tamil cuisine in Chennai includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.[112] Many of the city's restaurants offer light meals or tiffin, which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, thosai, idli and vadai, served with steaming hot filter coffee.


An MRTS railway station in the city.
An air conditioned Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus in Chennai.


Chennai serves as a major gateway to southern India, and the Chennai International Airport, comprising the Anna international terminal and the Kamaraj domestic terminal with a total passenger movements of 10.53 million and aircraft movements of 110,000 in 2009–2010, is the third busiest airport in India,[113] and has the second busiest cargo terminus in the country.[114] The city is connected to major hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers.[113]

The existing airport is undergoing further modernisation and expansion with an addition of 1069.99 acres, and a new greenfield airport is to be constructed at an estimated cost of INR 20,000 million in Sriperumbudur on 4,200 acres (17 km2) of land.[115]


The city is served by two major ports, Chennai Port, one of the largest artificial ports, and Ennore Port. The Chennai port is the largest in Bay of Bengal with an annual cargo tonnage of 61.46 million (2010–2011) and is India's second busiest container hub with an annual container volume of 1.523 million TEUs (2010–2011), handling automobiles, motorcycles and general industrial cargo.[114] The Ennore Port with an annual cargo tonnage of 11.01 million (2010–2011) handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk and rock mineral products.[116]

A smaller harbour at Royapuram is used by fishing boats and trawlers. A mega shipyard project called the Kattupalli Shipyard cum Captive Port Complex is being built by L&T Shipbuilding at Kattupalli village near Ennore and is expected to be operational in 2012.[117]


Chennai is the headquarters of the Southern Railway. The city has two main railway terminals. Chennai Central station, the city's largest, provides access to other major cities as well as many other smaller towns across India.[118] Chennai Egmore is a terminus for trains to destinations primarily within Tamil Nadu; it also handles a few inter-state trains.[119] The Chennai suburban railway network, one of the oldest in the country, consists of four broad gauge sectors terminating at two locations in the city, namely Chennai Central and Chennai Beach. Regular services are offered in the following sectors from these termini: Chennai Central/Chennai BeachArakkonam – Tiruttani, Chennai Central/Chennai BeachGummidipoondiSullurpeta and Chennai BeachTambaramChengalpattu – Tirumalpur (Kanchipuram). The fourth sector is an elevated Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) which links Chennai Beach to Velachery and is interlinked with the remaining rail network. Construction is underway for an underground and elevated Chennai Metro rail.[120]


Chennai is well connected to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways link Chennai to Mumbai (via Bangalore), Kolkata, Kochi, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) and Tirupati and onwards to the rest of the national highway system. Numerous state highways link the city to Puducherry and other towns and cities in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states.[121] The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), the terminus for all intercity buses from Chennai, is the largest bus station in Asia.[122] Seven government-owned transport corporations operate inter-city and inter-state bus services. Many private inter-city and inter-state bus companies also operate services to and from Chennai. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) runs an extensive city bus system consisting of 3,421 buses on 690 routes, and moves an estimated 5.52 million passengers each day.[123] Vans, popularly known as Maxi Cabs and 'share' auto rickshaws ply many routes in the city and provide an alternative to buses. Metered call taxis, tourist taxis and auto rickshaws are also available on hire. Chennai's transportation infrastructure provides coverage and connectivity, but growing use has caused traffic congestion and pollution. The government has tried to address these problems by constructing grade separators and flyovers at major intersections, starting with the Gemini flyover, built in 1973 over the most important arterial road, Anna Salai to the recently completed Kathipara Flyover.[124]

According to the Transport Department's official report, the two-wheeler population shot up to 2.58 million in 2011 from 0.93 million in 2001 while the number of four-wheelers jumped to 0.56 million in 2011 from 0.21 million in 2001. On the other hand, on 1 April 2011, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation fleet strength was just 3,421, or 0.1% of the total vehicular population. The MTC fleet strength was 2,773 in 2006.[125]


Newspaper publishing started in Chennai with the launch of a weekly, The Madras Courier, in 1785.[126] It was followed by the weeklies The Madras Gazzette and The Government Gazzette in 1795. The Spectator, founded in 1836, was the first English newspaper in Chennai to be owned by an Indian and became the city's first daily newspaper in 1853.[127] The first Tamil newspaper, Swadesamitran, was launched in 1899.[126]

The major English dailies published in Chennai are The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Deccan Chronicle and The Times of India recently joined the list. The evening dailies are, The Trinity Mirror and The News Today. As of 2004, The Hindu was the city's most read English newspaper, with a daily circulation of 267,349.[128] The major business dailies published from the city are The Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line, Business Standard, Mint and The Financial Express. The major Tamil dailies include the Dina Thanthi, Dinakaran, Dina Mani, Dina Malar, Tamil Murasu, Makkal Kural and Malai Malar. Major Telugu dailies include Eenadu, Vaartha, Andhra Jyothi and Sakshi.[129] The one and only Hindi Newspaper published from Chennai is the Rajasthan Patrika. Neighbourhood newspapers such as The Anna Nagar Times and The Adyar Times cater to particular localities. Magazines published from Chennai include Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam, Kalki, Kungumam, Puthiya Thalaimurai,Thuglak, Frontline and Sportstar.

Doordarshan runs two terrestrial television channels and two satellite television channels from its Chennai centre, which was set up in 1974. Private Tamil satellite television networks such as Sun TV, Raj TV, Zee Tamil, Star Vijay, Jaya TV, Makkal TV, Vasanth TV, Kalaignar TV and Captain TV broadcast out of Chennai. The Sun Network one of India's largest broadcasting companies is based in the city. While SCV is the monopoly cable TV service provider, direct-to-home (DTH) is available via DD Direct Plus, Dish TV, Tata Sky, Videocon DTH, Sun direct DTH, Reliance Big TV and Digital TV (Airtel-Bharti)[130][131] Chennai is the first city in India to have implemented the Conditional Access System for cable television.[132] Radio broadcasting started from the radio station at the Rippon Buildings complex, founded in 1930 and was then shifted to All India Radio in 1938.[126] The city has 4 AM and 11 FM radio stations, operated by Anna University, All India Radio and private broadcasters.[133]

Education and healthcare

The Gajendra Circle at IIT Madras

Schools in Chennai are either run publicly by the Tamil Nadu government or privately, some with financial aid from the government.[134] The medium of education is either English or Tamil, with the former being the majority. Most schools are affiliated with the Tamil Nadu State Board, the Matriculation Board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).[135] A few schools are affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, there are schools which cater National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) board, Anglo-Indian board or the Montessori system. Schooling begins at the age of three with two years of kindergarten followed by ten years of primary and secondary education. Students then need to complete two years of higher secondary education in either science or commerce before being eligible for college education in a general or professional field of study.[136][137] There are 1,389 schools in the city, out of which 731 are primary, 232 are secondary and 426 are higher secondary schools.[138]

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), College of Engineering, Guindy(founded in 1794) and Madras Institute of Technology are centres for engineering education in the city. Most colleges that offer engineering programs are affiliated to Anna University. Madras Medical College (MMC), Stanley Medical College (SMC), Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) and Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (SRMC) are notable medical colleges in Chennai.

The Government General Hospital

Colleges for science, arts and commerce degrees are typically affiliated with the University of Madras, which has three campuses in the city; some colleges such as Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College, Pachaiyappa's College, Madras Christian College, Loyola College and The New College are autonomous. Research institutions like the prestigious Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI) and the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) are in the city. The Indian Army's Officers Training Academy is also based in the city. The Connemara Public Library is one of four National Depository Centres in India that receive a copy of all newspapers and books published in the country.[139] It is also a UNESCO information centre.[140] There is a newly constructed Anna Centenary Library, which is the largest library in South Asia.[141]

There are 15 Government hospitals and a large number of private hospitals which provide medical and health care. The Government General hospital, popularly referred to as the "G.H.", is the biggest government-run hospital in the city. There are many large private hospitals, among which many are multi-specialty hospitals. Some of India's well-known health care institutions such as Apollo Hospitals (the largest private health care provider in Asia),[142] Sankara Nethralaya, Madras Medical Mission (MMM), Frontier Lifeline & K.M.Cherian heart foundation, MIOT Hospitals, Chettinad Health City and Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre are based in the city.[143]


The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, one of the premier cricket venues in India.

Cricket is the most popular sport in Chennai.[144] The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (MAC) in Chepauk is one of the oldest cricket stadiums in India.[145] The Chemplast Cricket Ground on the IIT Madras campus is another important venue hosting first class matches. Prominent cricketers from the city include former Test-captains S. Venkataraghavan and Kris Srikkanth.[146][147] A cricket fast bowling academy, the MRF Pace Foundation, whose coaches include Bob Simpson and Dennis Lillee, is based in Chennai.[148][149] Chennai is home to the Indian Premier League cricket team, the Chennai Super Kings, one of the most successful in the tournament.Chennai was also formerly the home to the Chennai Superstars part of the defunct Indian Cricket League.[150]

The city also hosted the finals of IPL 4 in M.A.Chidambaram stadium,[151] and will host the final of IPL 5 in 2012.[152]

The city is home to a Premier Hockey League (PHL) team, the Chennai Veerans, and has hosted many hockey tournaments such as the Asia Cup and the Men's Champions Trophy at The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.[153][154] Chennai has produced popular tennis players over the years, including Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes, and Mahesh Bhupathi,[155][156][157] and current star Somdev Devvarman also grew up primarily in the city. Since 1997 Chennai has been host to the only ATP World Tour event held in India, the Chennai Open,[158] ATP World Tour 250 series, the country's only (ATP) event.

A Chennai Open match in progress at the SDAT Tennis Stadium

Football and athletic competitions are held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which also houses a multi-purpose indoor complex for competition in volleyball, basketball and table tennis. Water sports are played in the Velachery Aquatic Complex. Chennai was the venue of the South Asian Games (SAF Games) in 1995.[159]

Automobile racing in India has been closely connected with Chennai since its beginnings shortly after independence. Motor racing events are held on a special purpose track in Irungattukottai, Sriperumbudur,[160] which has also been the venue for several international competitions.[161] Ex-Formula One driver and current Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok was born in Chennai.

Horse racing is held at the Guindy Race Course, while rowing competitions are hosted at the Madras Boat Club. The city has two 18-hole golf courses, the Cosmopolitan Club and the Gymkhana Club, both established in the late nineteenth century. Viswanathan Anand, the chess World champion, grew up in Chennai.[162][163][164]

Other athletes of repute from Chennai include table tennis players Sharath Kamal[165] and two-time world carrom champion, Maria Irudayam.[166] The city has a rugby union team called the Chennai Cheetahs.[167]

Sister cities

Chennai has sister city relationships with the following cities of the world.

Country City State/Region Since Reference
Russia Russia Coat of Arms of Volgograd.png Volgograd Flag of Volgograd Oblast.svg Volgograd Oblast 1966
United States United States DenverCOseal.gif Denver Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado 1984
United States United States San Antonio Flag of Texas.svg Texas 2008
Malaysia Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Flag of the Federal Territory - Malaysia.png Federal Territory 2010

See also


  • ^ In December 2009, the Tamil Nadu government announced plans to merge 9 municipalities, 8 town panchayats, and 25 village panchayats into the city of Chennai, which would increase its area to 426 square kilometres and population (according to the 2001 census) to 5.6 million. The plans are that boundary of the expanded corporation will be drawn in 2011, after the term of the elected councillors ends.[172] An ordinance was promulgated on 21 December 2010, amending the Madras City Municipal Corporation Act, giving effect to the total number of wards as 200. The corporation council is currently represented by 155 members.[173]
  • ^ The State government will decide on the expansion of the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) before the end of this fiscal, R Vaithilingam, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, told the Assembly on Aug 25, 2011. In view of the fast-paced development taking place in areas beyond the present metropolitan area jurisdiction, like Sriperumbudur, Kelambakkam, Tiruvallur and Maraimalai Nagar, it had become necessary to review the Chennai Metropolitan Planning Area that was notified in 1973-74, he said.[174]


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  • Chennai — [chen′ī΄, chə nī′] seaport on the Coromandel Coast, India: capital of Tamil Nadu state: pop. 3,841,000 …   English World dictionary

  • Chennai — «Madrás» redirige aquí. Para otras acepciones, véase Madrás (desambiguación). சென்னை / Chennai Chennai …   Wikipedia Español

  • Chennai — Original name in latin Chennai Name in other language Cenaj, Cenajo, Cenajus, Cenay, Cennai, Cennaj, Chenaj, Chennai, Chennai cennai, Chennai Chennaj, Chinapatana, Csennai, Gorad Chehnai, MAA, Madras, Madrs, Tamizhagam, Tamulinadu, Tsennai, cen… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Chennai — ant. Madrás Ciudad (pob., est. 2001: ciudad, 4.216.268 hab.; área metrop., 6.424.624 hab.), capital del estado de Tamil Nadu en India, en la costa de Coromandel en el golfo de Bengala. Fue fundada en 1639 por la Compañía Inglesa de las Indias… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Chennai — Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Chennai Country and Admin Code IN.25.7646145 IN …   World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II

  • Chennai Port — (Madras Port) Chennai Port Location Country …   Wikipedia

  • Chennai International Airport — சென்னை பன்னாட்டு வானூர்தி நிலையம் The Chennai Airport undergoing development work IATA: MAA – ICAO: VOMM …   Wikipedia

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