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Chennai (India)
(13 ° 5 ′ 0 ″ N, 80 ° 17 ′ 0 ″ E)
State : IndiaIndia India
State : Tamil Nadu
District : Chennai
Location : 13 ° 5 ′  N , 80 ° 17 ′  E Coordinates: 13 ° 5 ′  N , 80 ° 17 ′  E
Area : 174 km²
Inhabitants :
Agglomeration :
4,646,732 (2011)
8,696,010 (2011)
Population density : 26,705 inhabitants / km²
Postal code : 600001 - 600230
Clockwise from top: Chennai Central Station, Marina Beach, Kapaliswarar Temple, St. Thomas Basilica, Bharatanatyam performance
Clockwise from top: Chennai Central Station , Marina Beach , Kapaliswarar Temple , St. Thomas Basilica , Bharatanatyam performance


Chennai ( Tamil : சென்னை Ceṉṉai [ tʃenːɛi ]) to 1996 Madras (Tamil: மெட்ராஸ் metras [ meɖraːs ] or மதராஸ் Matarās [ mad̪əraːs ]), is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu . It is located on the east coast of South India on the Bay of Bengal . According to the 2011 census, Chennai is India's sixth largest city with a population of 4.6 million . As a result of a city expansion in 2011, the population has now risen to an estimated 6.5 million. 8.7 million people live in the agglomeration . This makes Chennai the center of the fourth largest metropolitan area in India.

Chennai emerged during the British colonial era around Fort St. George , which was founded in 1640 . Under the name Madras, the city was an important center of the British Empire in India. The official name was changed to Chennai in 1996.

The name of the city

Trilingual sign ( Tamil , Hindi , English ) at Chennai Fort train station . In Hindi was Madras with Chennai overwritten.

The name of the city has officially been Chennai since 1996 , but the old name Madras is still common. Both names have been in use in parallel since the 17th century. Chennai is the short form of Chennappattinam ( pattinam means city) and was apparently the name of the settlement that had formed around Fort St. George, founded by the British in 1639. The name is mostly derived from a local ruler called Chennappa Nayak. Madras or Madrasapattinam , on the other hand, seems to have originally been the name of a nearby village. The origin of the name is unclear: Suggestions were made from the Arabic word madrasa for "school" (literally "place of study"), the Portuguese Madre de Deus ("Mother of God", after a church of the same name), a Portuguese merchant clan called Madeiros and even from the Sanskrit word Mandarajya ("kingdom of the simple").

After the two places grew together, Madras became the name of the city in English , and Chennai remained in use in Tamil . In 1996, the DMK- led government of Tamil Nadu arranged for the official name of the city to be changed from Madras to Chennai . By erasing the name Madras , which is closely related to British colonial history and perceived as "un-Tamil" , it was possible to serve both an anti-colonial atmosphere and to emphasize the Tamil identity of the city. In a similar way, the colonial-era name forms have been replaced in a number of other Indian cities (cf. the renaming of Bombay in Mumbai and Calcutta in Kolkata ).


Satellite image of Chennai and the surrounding area

Position and extent

Chennai is located in southeast India on the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal . Within the state of Tamil Nadu , the capital Chennai is located far to the northeast. It is only about 40 kilometers to the border of the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh in the north , while Cape Comorin , the southernmost point of Tamil Nadu and all of India, is 625 kilometers away.

The city of Chennai covers an area of ​​426 square kilometers as of 2011. Before the expansion, the administrative urban area of ​​Chennais comprised only 174 square kilometers, while the agglomeration had grown far beyond its borders. Parallel to the city of Chennai, there is the district of Chennai, one of 32 districts in Tamil Nadu. For Chennai Metropolitan Area (Chennai Metropolitan Area) in addition to the actual city, the more the catchment area of Chennai heard in neighboring districts Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram . It has an area of ​​1189 square kilometers.

Chennai is located in the flat coastal plain with an average height of only six meters above sea level. On the lake side of Chennai is the 13 kilometer long sandy beach Marina Beach . The Cooum and Adyar rivers flow through the city . The Cooum flows into the sea in the northern part, the Adyar in the southern part of Chennais. Five kilometers inland, the Buckingham Canal runs parallel to the coast and connects the two rivers. In the southwest of Chennai, a few isolated hills rise from the otherwise flat area. The most famous of these is the St. Thomas Mount . There are several lakes of different sizes to the northwest of the city.

City structure

Map of the Chennais Zones and Neighborhoods

Since the city expansion in 2011, Chennai has been divided into 200 districts ( wards ). Each neighborhood is represented by a councilor in the Chennai city government. The 200 neighborhoods are the following 15 zones ( zones grouped together):


In Chennai there is an alternately humid tropical climate . The climate is hot and humid all year round and only becomes more bearable with occasional sea breezes. The annual mean temperature is 28.6 ° C. The temperatures are subject to only minor fluctuations over the course of the year: The warmest month is May with an average temperature of 33.0 ° C, the coolest is January with 24.3 ° C. The rainfall conditions in Chennai, as in all of India, are significantly influenced by the monsoon . In contrast to most of the country, the main rainy season on the southeast coast is the winter or northeast monsoon, which brings heavy rainfall from October to December. During these three months, more than half of the annual precipitation of 1,197 millimeters falls . Rainfalls also occur during the summer monsoons from July to September, but the amount of rainfall is lower. During the dry season between January and June it hardly rains.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Chennai
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 28.9 30.6 32.7 34.7 37.5 37.3 35.4 34.5 33.9 31.9 29.5 28.5 O 33
Min. Temperature (° C) 20.4 21.2 23.1 25.8 27.6 27.4 26.2 25.6 25.3 24.3 22.7 21.2 O 24.2
Precipitation ( mm ) 34.5 12.5 15.3 17.7 42.9 53.7 100.8 129.2 125.3 290.9 348.9 145.6 Σ 1,317.3
Rainy days ( d ) 2.7 0.9 0.7 1.1 2.4 7.5 12.8 14.2 10.2 13.5 12.9 8.4 Σ 87.3
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO


The Kapaliswarar temple in Mylapore dates back to the Pallava period

Before the city was founded

The city of Chennai was only founded as a British colony in the 17th century, but the history of some of its districts goes back much further. Mylapore in particular seems to have been an important port early on, possibly being identical to Manarpha or Maliarpha mentioned in the 2nd century by the Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy . According to Christian tradition, the apostle Thomas came to Mylapore after the death of Jesus and was martyred on St. Thomas Mount in the year 72 . Mylapore later served as a port for the Pallava kings, who resided in Kanchipuram from the 6th to 9th centuries . The temples of Mylapore, Tiruvanmiyur and Tiruvottiyur are already in the 7./8. Century in the Shivaite Tevaram -Hymnen mentioned, while the Vishnuite Alvar -Hymnendichter the temple of the same time Triplicane sing (Tiruvallikeni).

The first Europeans in the Chennai area were the Portuguese , who founded the colony of São Tomé de Meliapore in Mylapore in 1523 . They built several churches, including one on St. Thomas Mount and one on the site of the tomb of St. Thomas, and made Mylapore a bishopric. With an interruption between 1662 and 1687, Mylapore remained under Portuguese rule until 1749.

Colonial times

The Fort St. George (drawing from 1754)
Photograph of the Madras High Court (1913)
Map of Madras from 1908

The British colonial era began in Chennai or Madras on August 22, 1639, when Francis Day bought a piece of land with the help of his Dubash (translator) Beri Thimmappa on behalf of the British East India Company Damarla Venkatadri , the local Nayak ruler of Vandavasi , to build a trading post and fort there. In 1640 the Fort St. George (named after Saint George , the patron saint of England) was built, around which a settlement called Madrasapattinam or Madras soon formed. In 1641 Madras became the company's headquarters on the Coromandel Coast , and in 1653 it was detached from Bantam on Java to the seat of the Madras presidency , one of three administrative units of the British East India Company alongside Bombay and Bengal . So the British colonization of South India began from Madras. By 1700 the British had acquired the neighboring villages of Triplicane and Egmore . In the course of the 18th century, the city expanded and developed a colorful mixture of local Tamils , Telugus and Muslims , British colonial officials, Portuguese from the nearby Mylapore and Armenians who had come to Madras as traders.

The British in Madras were in competition with the Dutch , who had established a base in Pulicat to the north , and the French , who had settled in Pondicherry to the south . From the middle of the 18th century, Madras was drawn into armed conflicts between the British and the French. The French armed forces under Admiral Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais succeeded in conquering Madras in the First Carnatic War on September 21, 1746. In 1749 the French ceded the city to the British again after the Peace of Aachen . At the same time, the previously Portuguese Mylapore came to Madras. Fort St. George was further fortified and so survived a siege by the French under Thomas Arthur de Lally-Tollendal in 1759 in the Third Carnatic War as well as two attacks by Haidar Ali , the ruler of Mysore , during the Mysore wars in 1769 and 1780. After the British eliminated both the French and Mysore as their greatest adversaries in the colonial wars of the 18th century, their supremacy in southern India was consolidated. 1801 joined the Nawab of Arcot , who had previously controlled the hinterland of the city of Madras, his territory to the British off. From the end of the 18th century Madras increasingly lost importance compared to Calcutta , but consolidated its position as the most important city in South India and experienced an economic boom. In 1858, as a result of the Sepoy Rebellion in northern India , the East India Company was overthrown and power over all its possessions was transferred directly to the British government. Madras became one of the provinces of British India .

During the First World War , Madras was the only place in India to be directly affected by the war when the German cruiser SMS Emden fired at oil tanks in the city. During the Second World War, the Japanese fleet bombed Madras. The attack did not cause any significant damage, but it had a strong psychological impact and led many wealthy Chennai residents to flee to mountain towns such as Ootacamund or Kodaikanal for fear of Japanese invasion .

Since independence

After India gained independence in 1947, the province of Madras was converted into the state of the same name. In the northern parts of the state, meanwhile, a movement was formed that advocated the establishment of a separate Telugu -speaking state. In the city of Madras, the Telugu speakers were a minority (around a fifth at the beginning of the century), but had considerable economic and political influence. Therefore, his advocates demanded Madras under the motto Madras Manade ("Madras belongs to us") as the capital of the Telugu state to be founded. When the new state of Andhra was formed in 1953 from the Telugu-speaking districts of the state of Madras , the city of Madras remained in the state of the same name. This was reformed in 1956 by the States Reorganization Act according to the language borders of Tamil and renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969 .

Madras was a center of the Dravidian movement , which emerged from the early 20th century and postulated an independent identity for the Tamils. In 1959, the Tamil nationalist DMK party emerged as the largest party in the local elections in Madras for the first time and thus achieved its first major election victory in Madras. In 1965, Madras was one of the scenes of the violent anti-Hindi protests that broke out in Tamil Nadu when the Indian government tried to make Hindi the sole official language. The city experienced further political violence in the wake of the Sri Lankan conflict . In 1984, a Sri Lankan-Tamil separatist bomb attack at Chennai Airport cost 33 people their lives, and in 1991 15 people died in clashes between rival factions. In the same year, the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was murdered in the city of Sriperumbudur near Madras by a suicide bomber who was part of the LTTE .

Damage caused by the 2004 tsunami

The city has been booming since the Indian economy opened up to foreign investment in the early 1990s and was renamed Chennai in 1996 to maintain its pre-colonial identity. The other side of the rapid economic growth is urban infrastructure on the verge of collapse. Great poverty, rapid population growth and environmental pollution are some of the problems the city has to face in the 21st century.

The explosion of a tank truck on March 12, 1995 resulted in 110 deaths.

After the earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 , Chennai was also affected by the devastating tsunami , which killed around 165,000 people in South and Southeast Asia. The city itself was spared major damage, but 160 people died on Marina Beach when the wave caught them. In addition, 150 fishermen were reported to have died.

After the heaviest monsoon rains to date in the state of Tamil Nadu in November 2015, the floods in the streets of Chennai were up to three meters high at the beginning of December.

After the monsoons brought far less rain than usual in 2017 and 2018, the city experienced a water crisis from June to November 2019. The four reservoirs from which the city usually draws its drinking water had almost dried up. Water had to be delivered to the city by trains.


Population structure

Crowds on Chennai City Beach

According to the 2011 census, Chennai has 4,646,732 residents. This makes Chennai the sixth largest city in India after Mumbai , Delhi , Bengaluru , Hyderabad and Ahmedabad . The population density is very high with 26,705 inhabitants per square kilometer (for comparison: New York City approx. 10,500 inhabitants / km² , Berlin approx. 3900 inhabitants / km² ). Chennai is by far the largest city in Tamil Nadu, and the city district of Chennai is the most populous and densely populated district in the state. The population figures refer to Chennai within its boundaries before the city expansion in 2011. After the expansion, the population is estimated at around 6½ million.

In agglomeration Chennai, which has grown significantly over the administrative city limits, 8,696,010 people live according to the census. If you take the population of the agglomeration as a basis for assessment, Chennai is the fourth largest city in India after Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta . For 2050 a population of over 16.3 million people is expected in the agglomeration.

As in all metropolitan areas in India, Chennai has a great deal of social inequality. A considerable part of the city's population lives in precarious conditions: According to the 2001 census, around 750,000 Chennai residents (18 percent of the population) live in slums . Nevertheless, the proportion of the slum population is still significantly lower than in Mumbai (49%) or Calcutta (32%). The literacy rate in Chennai is 90.3%, well above the mean of 74.0% for all of India and 80.3% for Tamil Nadu (2011 census). If only the urban population is taken into account, however, the literacy rate in Chennai is only slightly above average.

Economically attractive Chennai attracts immigrants from other parts of the country. According to the 2001 census, migrants from the rest of Tamil Nadu make up 16% and immigrants from other parts of India make up 5% of the population of Chennai. The share of residents with foreign roots is negligible at 0.3%.

Population development

Like all Indian metropolises, the Chennai metropolitan area is growing rapidly as a result of excess birth rates and rural exodus. Since there is hardly any room for further growth in the already densely populated urban area, the expansion is concentrated on the suburban belt, while the growth curve in the actual urban area flattens out. While the population of the city of Chennai grew by 13.1% between 1991 and 2001, it only increased by 7.8% between 2001 and 2011. The population growth of Chennai is significantly lower than the average for Tamil Nadu (15.6%). In contrast, the entire metropolitan area recorded a strong increase in population of 35.3% in the same period.

The following overview shows the number of inhabitants according to the respective territorial status. Up to 1865 these are estimates, from 1872 to 2011 they are census results. The population figures refer to the actual city without the suburban belt.

year resident
1800 100,000
1820 140,000
1835 235,000
1850 330,000
1865 427,800
1872 397,552
1881 405.848
1891 452,500
1901 509,300
1911 518,700
year resident
1921 526,900
1931 647,300
1941 777,500
1951 1,416,100
1961 1,729,100
1971 2,470,300
1981 3,276,622
1991 3,841,396
2001 4,216,268
2011 4,681,087


Christians (here in a procession at St. Thomas Basilica) are the largest religious minority in Chennais

According to the 2011 census, 81 percent of the population of Chennai are Hindus , 9 percent Muslim , 8 percent Christian and 1 percent Jain . Although the Hindus make up the clear majority of the population, their proportion is lower than the average in Tamil Nadu, while the religious minorities are relatively well represented. Christianity has a strong presence in Chennai as a result of colonial history. There is a high density of church buildings in the city, and Chennai is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore , the Diocese of Madras of the Anglican Church of South India and the Diocese of Chennai of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church . Chennai is also an important Islamic center. With around 440,000 Muslims, the city is home to Tamil Nadu's largest Islamic community. Most of the Muslims in Chennais are Sunnis , but there is also a larger Shiite community. As everywhere, the Jainas are only a small minority, but the city is the most important center of this religious community in the state: More than half of all Jainas in Tamil Nadu live in Chennai.


The main language in Chennai, as in all of Tamil Nadu, is Tamil . According to the 2001 census, 79 percent of the city's residents speak Tamil as their first language. There is also a large, long-established community of Telugu speakers that makes up 10 percent of the city's population. Unlike most of Tamil Nadu, the majority of Chennai Muslims do not speak Tamil, but Urdu . Urdu speakers make up 4 percent of Chennai's population. Other languages ​​are spoken by immigrants from other parts of India, especially Malayalam and Hindi (around 2½ percent each).


Fort St. George is the seat of the Parliament of Tamil Nadu

Capital of Tamil Nadu

Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (the state parliament) and the Tamil Nadu government are housed in Fort St. George . Chennai is also the seat of the Madras High Court , whose jurisdiction includes Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry .

In the elections for Lok Sabha , the all-India parliament, Chennai is divided into three constituencies: Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South, each of which sends one member to the all-India parliament. In the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, Chennai is represented by 16 directly elected members.

Chennai District

Coincident with the city of Chennai, but a separate local authority is the district of Chennai, one of currently 32 districts of Tamil Nadu. It serves the state administration of the area and is led by a district chief ( collector ). Chennai is the only city district in Tamil Nadu.

City administration

The Ripon Building, seat of the Chennais City Council

The city's local government is exercised by the City Government Corporation of Chennai . Established by the British in 1688, the Corporation of Chennai is India's oldest municipal government. It consists of a City Council ( council ) with 200 directly elected members, each one of the districts ( wards ) represents Chennai. The city government is also a directly elected mayor ( mayor before). The seat of the Chennais city council is the Ripon Building, built in 1913 .

Chennai is traditionally seen as the bastion of the Tamil nationalist DMK party. Most recently, however, the competing party AIADMK won the 2011 local elections. As a result of the election, the distribution of seats in the city council is as follows:

Political party Seats
DMK 24
congress 2
Independent 2

The Mayor of Chennais has been S. Duraisamy from the AIADMK party since October 25, 2011 .


Chennai has had a partnership with the city of Chongqing , People's Republic of China , since 2015 .

Culture and sights


Example of the Indo-Saracen colonial style and landmark of Chennai: The Madras High Court
Detail of the Valluvar Kottam

As one of the centers of the British Empire in India, Chennai is home to numerous secular buildings from the colonial era. The oldest British structure in Chennai is Fort St. George, founded in 1640 . Part of the complex is still used by the Indian army, next to it, inside the fortress, is the Fort Museum and St. Mary's Church (see below). Fort St. George also houses the Tamil Nadu State Parliament.

In the 19th century, the so-called Indo-Saracen style , which combined European, Indian and Islamic influences , emerged in British colonial architecture . The most prominent example of this mixed style in Chennai is the Madras High Court building, built in 1892 . The impressive red building with its domes that can be seen from afar is one of Chennai's landmarks. Other examples of the Indo-Saracen colonial style include the Senate Building of the University of Madras (1873) on the boardwalk, the Government Museum buildings (see below), Chennai Central (1873) and Chennai Egmore (1908) train stations, and the Ripon Building (1913) that now houses the city council.

In architecture from the time after Indian independence, two opposing tendencies emerge: on the one hand, the recourse to traditional Tamil building forms, and on the other, the international style . The former is represented by the Valluvar Kottam , a monument to the poet saint Tiruvalluvar (the author of the Tirukkural ) completed in 1976, which recreates a traditional temple chariot. The modern office buildings and shopping centers along Anna Salai (Mount Road) and the new parliament building, which was inaugurated in 2010, stand for the international orientation .

Sacred buildings


The most important of the numerous Hindu temples of Chennai is the god Shiva consecrated Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore. It is built in the Dravida style and has a 37 meter high gopuram (gate tower) decorated with lavish figurines . Even if the structure of the temple is much younger today, it was an important sanctuary as early as the 7th century. The Vishnuitic Parthasarathy temple in Triplicane , which dates back to the 8th century, has a similarly extensive history . He is consecrated to the god Krishna in his form as the charioteer Arjuna , in which he appears in the Mahabharata epic. The Parthasarathy Temple is one of the 108  Divya Desams or holy places of Tamil Vishnuism.

The St. Thomas Basilica


As a relic of the colonial era, there are numerous church buildings in Chennai . The most important is the St. Thomas Basilica on the site of the alleged burial place of the Apostle Thomas in Mylapore . The current church was built in 1893 in neo-Gothic style in place of a church built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The church functions as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore and was raised to the rank of minor basilica in 1956 . The Luz Church is also located in Mylapore . Built in 1516 by the Portuguese, this small baroque building is the oldest church in Chennai. Portuguese churches from the 16th century can also be found on St. Thomas Mount , where the apostle Thomas is believed to have been martyred, and Little Mount , where he is said to have lived in a cave.

Other churches worth seeing are:


The most important mosques in Chennai are the Shiite Thousand Lights Mosque (1810) at Anna Salai and the Sunni Wallajah Mosque (1795) in Triplicane.

Beaches and parks

Fishing boats on Marina Beach

The city beach of Chennais is the Marina Beach . With a length of 13 kilometers, the sandy beach is, according to an often rumored (albeit dubious) statement, the second longest beach in the world. At its widest point, the Marina Beach is over 400 meters wide. Especially in the evenings and on weekends, large numbers of Chennai residents come to the beach to stroll. The large number of visitors increasingly leads to the littering of the beach. Marina Beach is lined with a series of statues depicting personalities from all of India's history and the history of Tamil Nadu. At the north end of the beach are the monumental grave monuments of the politicians C. N. Annadurai and M. G. Ramachandran . Further south in the Besant Nagar district is a second sandy beach, Elliot's Beach . There is a memorial to the Dutch sailor Karl Schmidt on the beach. On the coastline south of Chennai, 40 and 55 kilometers away, respectively, are the beach towns of Covelong (Kovalam) and Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), both popular excursion destinations among the residents of Chennai.

Chennai is generally quite poor in green spaces. A larger park is located on the grounds of the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar . Chennai is also home to a national park within its city limits. The 2.8 square kilometer Guindy National Park in Guindy in southern Chennai is a remnant of the evergreen dry forests that originally covered the hinterland of the Coromandel Coast. The national park offers habitat for stag goat antelopes , axis deer and jackals, among others . A zoological garden , the Arignar Anna Zoological Park , is located in the suburb of Vandalur 30 kilometers south of Chennai.


Government Museum in Egmore

Numerous art galleries and museums are now located on the premises on Pantheon Road in Egmore. The Government Museum , founded in 1857, has departments for anthropology, archeology, botany, geology, numismatics, sculpture, and zoology. It shows pieces from the South Indian prehistory, from the Indus culture , from the Buddhist center in Amaravati from the second century, carvings of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain gods, South Indian musical instruments, jewelry and bronze images of gods from the Pallava and Chola periods between the ninth and 12th centuries. The National Art Gallery is housed in a magnificent pink sandstone building in the Jaipuri-Jaina style and showcases Indian painting including the Rajput and Mughal schools. The Pantheon complex also houses the Contemporary Art Gallery , the Connemara Library built in 1896 , the round red Museum Theater and the Children's Museum .

In Fort Museum within the Fort St. George interesting pieces from the history of Chennai are shown. The building in which the museum is located was built in 1795 and originally housed the Madras Bank. Weapons, coins, medals, uniforms and other items from the colonial era are on display.

Music, dance and film

Bharatanatyam dancer in Chennai

Chennai is a center of Carnatic music . Classical Indian dance is performed in the Hindu temples. Every year from December the Madras Music Season takes place, a festival in which both established stars and young talents of classical South Indian music perform in numerous small and large concert events for five weeks. The festival was launched in 1927 on the occasion of the founding of the Madras Music Academy , which is still an important training center for this musical genre to this day.

In addition to music, the classical south Indian dance form Bharatanatyam is also cultivated in Chennai . At the beginning of the 20th century, the dancer Rukmini Devi Arundale , who worked in Chennai in the environment of the Theosophical Society, played a decisive role in the renaissance of Bharata Natyam. The founding of the Kalakshetra Academy , which is dedicated to the teaching of Bharata Natyam, goes back to her.

Chennai is the location of the Tamil film industry . The studios in the Kodambakkam district produce an average of three films per week, with annual sales of 23 million rupees (as of 2005). This makes Tamil film one of the three largest Indian regional film industries, alongside Hindi film and Telugu film. The number of 125 cinemas (as of 2010) in Chennai testifies to the popularity of the film. Based on Hollywood and Bollywood , the Tamil film is also called Kollywood after the place where it was made, Kodambakkam .


Match of the Chennai Open

The most popular sport in Chennai, as in all of India, is cricket . The city is home to the Chennai Super Kings , one of the top teams in the Indian Premier League . Both the Chennai Super Kings and the first-class cricket selection of the state of Tamil Nadu play their home games at the 50,000-seat M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in the Chepauk district . Built in 1916, it is one of the oldest cricket stadiums in India and, alongside Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, one of two test cricket stadiums in the city. Chennai hosted the 1987 , 1996 and 2011 Cricket World Cups . Another important cricket venue is the Chemplast Cricket Ground on the IIT Madras campus.

The 40,000-seat Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is used for athletics events and football matches. It is the home of Tamil Nadu's most successful football club, Indian Bank RC , which was a founding member of the National Football League in 1996 , but is currently (2010/2011 season) only second-rate.

The Chennai Veerans are Tamil Nadu's most successful hockey club .

The Chennai Open tennis tournament was part of the ATP World Tour 250 and was the only tennis tournament in India to be part of the ATP Tour. It was played in the 5000-seat tennis stadium in the Nungambakkam district .

The Guindy Race Course for horse racing has existed since 1777.

Motorsport events Select will be on the race track in Irungattukottai held at Chennai.

The World Chess Federation FIDE awarded the 2013 World Chess Championship to Chennai. From 6 to 22 November 2013, the reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand, who was born in Madras, played against his Norwegian challenger Magnus Carlsen , who became the new world champion.


Founded as a trading post for the British East India Company in the early 17th century, Chennai is now a major industrial and business center. The main commercial centers in Chennai are Parrys Corner and T. Nagar.

Since Chennai is on the ocean, its ports have contributed to its development. Chennai, also known as "the Detroit of India", accounts for over 40 percent of Indian automobile production, has long been a traditional center of the Indian automobile industry and has expanded this position in recent years. Large manufacturers such as Ashok Leyland , BMW , Ford , Daimler , Honda , Hyundai , Isuzu , Royal Enfield , TVS Motor Company and Madras Rubber Factory have factories in and around Chennai. In addition, almost 90 percent of the Indian automotive supplier industry is located here - especially around the Ambattur- Padi industrial area.

Other large industries are leather, textiles, and chemicals, including petroleum processing.

Tidel Park, Chennai

Since 2004, the city has emerged as an important center for software development in India, along with Bengaluru and Hyderabad . The Old Mahabalipuram Road is now called the "IT corridor" and has become a dream destination for IT companies. This development was given a further boost by the installation of the IT complex "Tidel Parks" by TIDCO on behalf of the government of Tamil Nadu. The newest is the "Mahindra Tech City" near the outskirts of the city, where all major IT companies have a development center.

The following international companies and banks work in the city: ABN AMRO , AdventNet , Akmin Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent , American Megatrends , Bosch , Caritor , Cognizant Technology Solutions , Covansys , Daimler India Commercial Vehicles , dotCue, EDS , HCL Technologies , Hewlett-Packard , IBM , Infosys Technologies , Polaris Software Lab Limited , Saksoft , Schwing , Software AG , Tata Consultancy Services , Tech Mahindra , Temenos , Thinksoft , Wipro Technologies and the World Bank .

Tourism plays an important role in Chennai's economy. With just under 4.4 million foreign visitors, Chennai was the 30th most visited city in the world in 2016 and was second in India behind Mumbai . Tourists brought in $ 3.2 billion in revenue that same year.

The national film industry (see below) and international publishing should also be mentioned.

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Chennai ranked 151st out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018. In an Indian comparison, the city was behind Hyderabad and Pune (both 142nd place) and Bengaluru (149th place), but ahead of Mumbai (154th place), Calcutta (160th place) and Delhi (162nd place).


Road traffic

Traffic at Kathiapara Junction

Due to population growth and increasing motorization of the population, the volume of traffic in Chennai is constantly increasing. In 2011 there were 2.6 million motorcycles and 560,000 automobiles in Chennai, ten years earlier both values ​​were not even half as large. The result is increasing traffic problems and environmental pollution. Chennai has a relatively large and widespread public transport system, which is very efficient, but is still at times overloaded. The bus service is operated by the state-owned Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC). In 2020 it had a fleet of over 3800 buses and transports an average of 3.1 million passengers every day. Autorickshaws are an important addition to public transport.

Four major highways lead out of Chennai: National Highway 5 runs north along the Indian east coast, National Highway 205 connects Chennai with Tirupati and Anantapur in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh , National Highway 4 leads via Bengaluru to Mumbai , and National Highway 45 , also known as the Grand Southern Trunk Road , is Tamil Nadu's main artery in the direction of Tiruchirappalli . The sections of National Highways 4 and 5 were upgraded to four lanes as part of the Golden Quadrilateral project. The scenic East Coast Road (ECR) runs along the east coast to the south in the direction of Puducherry . There are numerous intercity bus connections to all cities in the near and central area. The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) in the Koyambedu district , where all intercity buses start, is the largest bus station in Asia.

Rail transport

Chennai Metro train on an elevated railway line

From Chennai there are very good rail connections to all major cities in the country. The city is the seat of the Southern Railway , a regional company of the Indian Railways . The two main train stations are Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore . From Chennai Central there are connections to other cities in India, while Chennai Egmore Railway Station mainly has trains to other parts of Tamil Nadu.

The suburban railway system ( Chennai Suburban Railway ) consists of three lines that run from Chennai Central and Chennai Beach stations north (via Ennore to Sullurpeta ), west (via Avadi to Tiruttani ) and south (via Tambaram to Chengalpattu ). In addition, the elevated train MRTS ( Mass Rapid Transit System ) leads the Buckingham Canal to Velachery in the south of Chennais. The first section of the Chennai Metro has been in operation since June 2015 . With the completion of the first expansion phase, the route network will comprise two lines with a total length of 45 kilometers.

Air travel

Chennai Airport

Chennai has a large international airport, Chennai International Airport , which is located around 15 kilometers southwest of the city center in Meenambakkam . It is the third most important airport in India after Mumbai and Delhi airports . Over 30 airlines offer connections to other airports in India, Asia, Europe and North America. In 2009/2010 the number of passengers was 10.5 million.


The port of Chennai is the second largest port in India after that of Mumbai. In 2010/2011 the volume of goods handled was 61.5 million tons. A second large port is located in the northern suburb of Ennore . The port of Royapuram is used by the fishing fleet.


The University of Madras was founded in 1857, making it one of the oldest universities in India. The main campus is across from Marina Beach. There are three other campuses in Chepauk, Guindy and Taramani. In 2002, all of the university's technical colleges were transferred to Anna University .

Anna University Campus 2006.

The Anna University (Anna University) is one of the most important technical universities of India. It was founded on September 4, 1978 under the name Perarignar Anna University of Technology (PAUT) and has had its current name since 1982. The main campus is located in the southern part of Chennais and covers more than 40 hectares. The Madras Institute of Technology in Chrompet forms the second campus with over 20 hectares. The third campus is in Taramani. The Anna University Amendment Act of 2001 united almost all technical colleges in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu with more than 225 colleges under the umbrella of Anna University. The main college of the university is the College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), from which the university emerged, founded in 1794 as a surveying school, making it the second oldest engineering college in the world.

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) is the third largest of the seven Indian Institutes of Technology , one of the main engineering educational institutions in India. It was founded in 1959 and today has nearly 360 faculties with 4,000 students and 1,250 employees. The institute offers undergraduate , postgraduate and research diplomas in 15 disciplines in engineering, science , humanities and management . The private campus of 240 hectares, 75 percent of which is parkland, adjoins the Guindy National Park and has a rich population of red deer , stag goat and many other wild animals.

The educational offers are extensive: In addition to the two largest and best-known universities in Chennai, there are also a number of colleges and schools. The best known school is the American International School .

There are also a number of colleges and institutes:

Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering ( Sriperumbudur ), Pachaiappa College (Poonamalee High Road), National Institute for Fashion Technology (NIFT), The Madras School of Social Work (Egmore), Vivekananda College, The New College (Royepettah), Kandaswamy Naidu College ( Anna Nagar), Kilpauk Medical College (Kilpauk), Madras Medical College, Stella Maris College for Women, Ethiraj College for Women, Queen Mary's College for Women, Meenakshi College for Women, Quaid-e-Millet College for Women, YMCA College of Physical Education (Nandanam), Anna Adarsh ​​College for Women, DG Vaishnav College, MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Guru Nanak College, Saveetha Engineering College, MNM Jain Engineering College, KCG College of Technology, Thangavelu Engineering College, Central Instructional Media Institute (CIMI) (Guindy), the Institute of Mathematical Sciences Chennai (IMSC), the Rajalakshmi Engineering College, and the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI).

The Loyola College is an undergraduate college and was in 1925 by the Jesuits founded Francis Bertram. It is considered one of the best art colleges in India. Under the name of Stanley Medical College which are Government Stanley Medical College and the Government Stanley Hospital known. They are among the oldest medical training institutions. The origin of this institution is the medical facility founded by the British East India Company in 1740. The highly respected Stanley Hospital affiliated with the college has 1,271 beds and surgical facilities for 4,312 patients per day. The Institute of Plastic Surgery and Hand Injury Recovery is one of the best in Southeast Asia. The Crescent Engineering College is maintained by the All India Islamic Foundation . It was founded in 1984 by the federal government of Tamil Nadu as an Islamic minority college and offers technical undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI, Central Leather Research Institute ) founded in 1948 under the umbrella of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR of India) is the world's largest research and development institute in this special field. Founded in 1970 as a non-profit organization , the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) is industry funded, recognized by the Indian government as a social science research institute, and offers degrees in finance and economics.

A shopping center in the Egmore district

The most famous institute in the field of veterinary medicine TANUVAS , Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Science University , dates back to its foundation in 1876.

sons and daughters of the town

See also


  • Subbiah Muthiah: Madras that is Chennai. Gateway to the South. Ranpar Publishers, Chennai 2005, ISBN 81-903199-0-6 .
  • AR Venkatachalapathy (Ed.): Chennai not Madras. Perspectives on the City. Marg Publications on behalf of the National Center for the Performing Arts, Mumbai 2006, ISBN 81-85026-74-2 .

Web links

Commons : Chennai  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Census of India 2011
  2. ^ Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Totals. Urban Agglomerations / Cities having population 1 lakh and above. (PDF; 138 kB)
  3. see University of Madras: Tamil lexicon. [Madras]: University of Madras, 1924–1936, entry சென்னபட்டணம் ceṉṉa-paṭṭaṇam .
  4. ^ Henry Yule: Hobson-Jobson. A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases. London 1903, keyword "Madras" .
  5. Pushpa Arabindoo: Geography of a lingua franca, a History of Linguistic Fracas. In: AR Venkatachalapathy (ed.): Chennai not Madras. Perspectives on the City. Mumbai 2006, pp. 19-38.
  6. ^ The Hindu : Chennai Corporation set to have 45 more wards, September 12, 2011.
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  9. Climate data from .
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  11. AR Venkatachalapathy: "'Madras Manade'. How Chennai Remained with Tamil Nadu", in: AR Venkatachalapathy (ed.): Chennai not Madras. Perspectives on the City, Mumbai 2006, pp. 9-18.
  12. ^ Marguerite Ross Barnett: The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton 1976, pp. 118 f.
  13. ^ Robert L. Hardgrave Jr .: The Riots in Tamilnad: Problems and Prospects of India's Language Crisis. In: Essays in the Political Sociology of South India . New Delhi 1979.
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  22. World 101 largest Cities. Retrieved July 23, 2018 .
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  24. Census of India: Provisional Population Totals at a Glance Figure: 2011: Tamil Nadu, (PDF; 41 kB) p. 22.
  25. ^ Second Master Plan For Chennai Metropolitan Area, 2026 . Volume I: Vision, Strategies and Action Plans , September 2008, Chapter II: Demography, p. 7. (PDF; 156 kB)
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  28. The Hindu: Big win for AIADMK in Chennai , October 22, 2011.
  29. ^ The Hindu: Saidai Duraisamy sworn in , October 25, 2011.
  30. ^ Chongqing Municipal Government
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  33. Millennium 3 Chennai: History of Tamil Film Industry. ( Memento from August 26, 2012 on WebCite )
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