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CHENNAI (MADRAS)  

Chennai, the first city of the south, and capital of Tamil Nadu, though comparatively young, has a chequered history dating back to 1639  when

Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, agents of the East India Company acquired a strip of land granted on lease by the Vijayanagar Emperor. Here was built the Fort St. George for setting up a factory as a nucleus around which arose the British settlements. Gradually but steadily the old, tiny villages like Triplicane, Egmore, Purasawalkarn and Chetput were clubbed with the new agglomeration of the fast growing Chennapatnam, as it was known then.

Chennai, widely known as Madras till 1996 ,has a rich tradition and civilization with a blend of the old, and the new, vibrating ceaselessly to keep pace with the rest of India, as the buoyant metropolis of the third most industrialized State.

        People in Chennai are deep rooted in their cultural moorings and traditions, even though modernity has its own impact. Chennai is airy, spacious with verdant green patches and beaches.

        With a population of about six million, Chennai is the fourth largest city in India. It has played a notable role in deciding the political destiny of India on many an occasion. Chennai has regained its pride of place in the automobile industry as the 'Detroit of the South'. Days are not far away when Chennai may be a 'Silicon City' with high-technological knowledge in software. Maybe that real India, in her pristine cultural warp and beauty as detailed in history, still lives in Chennai.

      A visit to Chennai to see the graceful people of glorious land will surely help the visitor to carry home this imprint of Indian heritage.

Getting in, Around & Away

WATER
Currently on boat, the MV Nancowry, which sails from Chennai every 10 or so days to Port Blair, on South Andaman. The trip takes about 52 hours. Once a month, the boat sails via Car Nicobar. This voyage takes an extra two days. Tickets are issued at the Directorate of Shipping Services at 6 Rajaji Salai (opposite the Customs House) in George Town. Foreigners must get a permit for the islands before they buy a boat ticket

AIR
Chennai is an international arrival point and an important domestic airport. The Anna International Airport is well organised and not too heavily used, making Chennai a good entry or exit point. In additon to the flights from Chennai, Domestic Airlines, East West Airlines flies daily to Mumbai and Delhi; Modiluft has daily flights to Mumbai and six times a week to Hyderabad Damania Airways flies daily to Mumbai and Calcutta; and Jet Airways has services twice daily to Mumbai

RAIL
The train reservation office is at Central station on the 2nd floor of the building adjacent to the station. In this booking hall, you can also make reservations for trains originating in Ahmedabad, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna, Pune and many other places. Here is the ‘Tourist Cell’, which deals with Indrail Pass and tourist - quota bookings. This ‘cell’ is immensely useful for foreign visitors unfamiliar with the Indian Railways system. The reservation office is open Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm and 2.15 to 8 pm; Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm

ROAD
The Tamil Nadu state bus company, Thiruvalluvar Transport Corporation (TTC), and its bus terminal are on Esplanade Rd in George Town, around the back of the High Court building. Interstate buses, which are run by the affiliated Jayalalitha Jayaram Transport Corporation (JJTC), also leave from here. The state bus stand is on the other side of Prakasam Rd. The main reason to use this stand is for buses to Mahabalipuram. Number of private bus companies run superdeluxe video buses on a daily basis to cities such as Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai and Trichy
 

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