Chennai The Culture Capital

Introduction:
Chennai (State capital of Tamil Nadu) has been a prominent tourist destination and has consistently ranked among the top three Indian cities in terms of the number of tourist arrivals in a year. Indeed, this metropolitan city is known for its beautiful beaches, museums, parks, forts and its exquisite art and crafts.

The Marina Beach, stretching to a length of 15 kms, features a Light House, walkways and gardens sure to induce a feeling of serenity. The Covelong Beach has a cove and fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic. The Government Museum Complex in Egmore consists of six buildings and fourty six galleries. The Museum must be surely visited by those taking an avid interest in ancient history. Fort St. George is the first British fortress to be constructed in India and today serves as the administrative headquarters of the Legislative Assembly. The Fort Museum houses many relics of the British Raj. For the Art lovers, Chennai offers a unique view of artists and craftsman through the Cholamandalam Artists'Village, situated on the East Coast Road. The Guindy National Park is India's smallest national park and located completely within the city. It is home to a variety of endangered deer, monkeys and snakes. Chennai also houses a large number of shopping malls and three amusement parks. It has a vibrant night life.

Chennai is perhaps one of the best examples of an idyllic city, where history and modernity wraps together, to give an exotic experience.

KAPALEESHWARAR TEMPLE:

One of the sacred shrines in Tamil Nadu is Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, in Chennai City. Kapaleeshwarar temple was built in 7th century CE by the Pallavas. The original Kapaleeshwarar Temple was built where Santhome Church is located currently in Chennai. This original temple was demolished by the Portuguese and the present temple was built in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. THE KAPALEESHWARAR TEMPLE IS OF TYPICAL DRAVIDIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE, WITH THE GOPURAM OVERPOWERING THE STREET ON WHICH THE TEMPLE SITS. The narrow streets around the temple are buzzing with activities.

Duration of visit: 90 mins

Holidays: No

KALAKSHETRA:

Kalakshetra literally means a holy place of arts Deriving inspiration from this noble ideal, Kalakshetra was established, in the words of Rukmini Devi, "with the sole purpose of resuscitating in modern India recognition of the priceless artistic traditions of our country and of imparting to the young the true spirit of Art, devoid of vulgarity and commercialism." The training of young and talented people by masters of art, with the background of a religious spirit, has been its main aim.

Duration of visit: 90 mins

Holidays: Week-ends, Govt. holidays and school holidays

THE M.RM.RM CULTURAL FOUNDATION:

This Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports and undertakes documentations of, and works towards the revival of rural crafts, textiles and architecture that are fast disappearing today.

The Foundation helps traditional crafts people, especially women, to adapt them to change and regain their place in the economic mainstream of the country and become self-sustaining producer groups with direct marketing ability.

Duration of visit: 30 mins

Holidays: Sunday

SANTHOME CHURCH:

The word Santhome or San Thome is derived from Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The local Christian belief is that the apostle came to India in A.D.52, was martyred in A.D.72 at St.Thomas Mount in the city, and was interred in Mylapore. A church was built over his tomb and today is known as the San Thome Basilica. The Basilica is one of four churches that claim to have been built over the tomb of an apostle.

Duration of visit: 30 mins

Holidays: No

MARKETS AND SHOPS:

Chennai city is famous for vibrant markets with lots of happenings. Places like T. Negar is fully packed with shops from high end wedding jewelry and rich saris to plastic house wares, cloth, vegetables, books, electronics and eatables.

GOVERNMENT MUSEUM IN EGMORE:

Egmore Museum, established in 1851, is located in Egmore, Chennai. Known as the Madras Museum, the museum is the second oldest museum in India, the first being the Indian Museum at Kolkata, started in 1814. It is also one of the largest museums in South Asia.[citation needed] It is particularly rich in archaeological and numismatic collections. It has the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe. Many of the buildings within the Museum campus are over 100 years old. Among them, the colossal Museum Theatre is one of the most impressive. The National Art Gallery is also present in the museum premises. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, it houses rare works of artists like Raja Ravi Varma

Duration of visit: 120 mins

Holidays: Friday

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