Chennai, (formerly known as Madras ) is the capital city of Tamil Nadu and is located on a 17-kilometre stretch of the Coromandel coast . Popularly regarded as the "Gateway to the South", Chennai has inherited a culture that is distinctly different from the rest of India.
Music, dance and all other art forms of the South are cherished and nurtured in this city, which, though a thriving metropolis continues to be traditional and conventional in many ways.
The city offers long sandy beaches, parks and historic landmarks, the most distinct being Fort St. George, which occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. Built in 1640, by the British East India Company, the fort houses a museum and St. Mary's Church, which happens to be the oldest Anglican Church in India as well as having the distinction of being the oldest British construction in the country.
The Fort Museum is the repository of rare exhibits of weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes, medals and some other artefacts dating back to the British period. The flagstaff at Fort St. George is still the tallest in India.
Marina Beach is the pride of Chennai, and offers a wide sandy shore. Residents and visitors alike frequent the beach to soak in the lively and vibrant atmosphere.
For a more indigenous look, Mylapore is the site of the famous Kapeeleswarar Temple , which is dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Shiva. It is Chennai's oldest temple, not to mention a visually stunning edifice. The nearby Parathasarathy Temple , built in the 8 th century is renowned for its architecture and awe-inspiring ambience.
The San Thome at the southern end of Marina derives its name from St. Thomas , the apostle of Christ who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during 52 AD. The beautiful stained glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St Thomas and 14 wooden plaques depict scenes from the last days of Christ.
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