India - Tamil Nadu - Chennai - Beachlife - 14(PID:28169626283) Source
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Chennai Listeni/ˈtʃɛnnaɪ/ (formerly known as Madras Listeni/məˈdrɑːs/ or /-ˈdræs/) is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre in South India. Chennai is known as the "Detroit of South Asia" for its automobile industry. It is the fourth-largest city and fourth-most populous metropolitan area in India and 36th-largest urban area in the world. Chennai is one of the Indian cities most visited by foreign tourists, and is the 38th most visited city in the world. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital". After Mumbai and Delhi, Chennai has the third-largest expatriate population in India at 35,000 in 2009 and 82,790 in 2011. Tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index and was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. In 2015 Chennai was named the "hottest" city (worth visiting, and worth living in for long term) by the BBC, citing the mixture of both modern and traditional values. National Geographic ranked Chennai's food as second best in the world; it was the only Indian city to feature in the list. Chennai was also named the ninth-best cosmopolitan city in the world by Lonely Planet. In January 2015 the Chennai Metropolitan Area was ranked as the fourth-largest economy in India, with the third-highest GDP per capita. Chennai has been selected as one of the 20 Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. ETYMOLOGY There are two different theories for the origin of the name Chennai. The first theory is that it was derived from the name of Damarla Chennappa Nayagar, father of Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak, a Nayak ruler who served as a general under Venkata III of the Vijayanagar Empire from whom the British 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 East India Company. The second theory states that it was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple; the word Chenni in Tamil means face, with the temple regarded as the face of the city. The nativity of 'Madras' of being Tamil origin and 'Chennai' of being Telugu origin, has been clearly proven and documented after various researches done by renowned scholars and historians. The name Madras originated even before the British presence was established in India. Madras was allegedly derived from Madraspattinam, a fishing-village north of Fort St George. However, it is uncertain whether the name was in use before the arrival of European influence. The British military mapmakers believed Madras was originally Mundir-raj or Mundiraj. Madras might have also been derived from the word Madhuras (Sanskrit: मधुरस) meaning "juice of honey" or "sugarcane" in Sanskrit. A Vijayanagar-era inscription dated to the year 1367 that mentions the port of Maadarasanpattanam, along with other small ports on the east coast was discovered in 2015 and it was theorised that the aforementioned port is the fishing port of Royapuram. In 1996, the Government of Tamil Nadu officially changed the name from Madras to Chennai. At that time many Indian cities underwent a change of name. However, the name Madras continues in occasional use for the city, as well as for places named after the city such as University of Madras, IIT Madras, Madras Institute of Technology, Madras Medical College, Madras Christian College. HISTORY Stone age implements have been found near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment, and pre-historic communities resided in the settlement. The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. During 1st century CE, a poet and weaver named Thiruvalluvar lived in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of present Chennai). From the 1st–12th century the region of present Tamil Nadu and parts of South India was ruled by the Cholas. The Pallavas of Kanchi built the areas of Mahabalipuram and Pallavaram during the reign of Mahendravarman I. They also defeated several kingdoms including the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas who ruled over the area before their arrival. Sculpted caves and paintings have been identified from that period. Ancient coins dating to around 500 BC have also been unearthed from the city and its surrounding areas. A portion of these findings belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled the region during the medieval period. The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 CE. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, north of Chennai. On 22 August 1639, which is referred to as Madras Day, the English East India Company under Francis Day bought a small strip of land stretching 3 miles on the Coromandel Coast. They got a license to build a fort and a castle in the contracted region. The ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Nayaka of Chandragiri, granted the English permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. The region was then primarily a fishing village known as "Madraspatnam". A year later, the English built Fort St. George, the first major English settlement in India, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city and urban Chennai, grew around this Fort. Post independence the fort housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010, but shortly afterwards it was again moved back to Fort St. George, due to a change in the Government. 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. The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and strengthened the town's fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. They resisted a French siege attempt in 1759 under the leadership of Eyre Coote. In 1769 the city was threatened by Mysore and the British were defeated by Hyder Ali, after which the Treaty of Madras ended the war. By the 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. Gradually, the city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative centre for the British in South India. With the advent of railways in India in the 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. Sir Arthur Lawley was Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911 and promoted modern agriculture, industry, railways, education, the arts and more democratic governance. The Governor lived in Government House, Fort St George, and had a country home at Guindy, with access to a golf course, hockey pitches, riding stables and the Guindy Horse Racing Track. In the First World War as Red Cross Commissioner in Mesopotamia, he looked after the welfare of Indian soldiers. 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. After India gained its independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the compulsory imposition of Hindi and in support of English in India in the state marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and eventually it had a big impact on the whole state. Because of Madras and its people, English now exists in India, otherwise Hindi might have been made the sole official language in India. On 17 July 1996, the city known as Madras was officially renamed Chennai, in line with what was then a nationwide trend to using less Anglicised names. On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai and permanently altering the coastline. The 2015 Chennai Floods submerged major portions of the city, killing 269 people and resulting in damages of ₹86.4 billion (US$1 billion). ENVIRONMENT GEOGRAPHY Chennai, sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to South India," 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, and its highest point is 60 m. Two major rivers flow through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, travels through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the Bay of Bengal, at Ennore. The estuary of this river is heavily polluted with effluents released by the industries in the region. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources, the Coumm being so heavily polluted it is regarded as the city's eyesore. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals. The Buckingham Canal, 4 km 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. Some areas of the city have the problem of excess iron content in groundwater. Chennai's soil is mostly clay, shale and sandstone. Clay underlies most of the city, chiefly Manali, Kolathur, Maduravoyal, K. K. Nagar, Tambaram, Mudichur, Pallavaram Semmencherry, Alapakkam, Vyasarpadi and Anna Nagar. Sandy areas are found along the river banks and coasts, and include areas such as Tiruvottiyur, George Town, Madhavaram, New Washermanpet, Chepauk, Mylapore, Porur, Adyar, Besant Nagar and Uthandi. In these areas, rainwater runoff percolates quickly through the soil. Areas having hard rock surface include Guindy, Nanganallur, Pallikaranai, Alandur, Jaladampet, Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet and Perungudi. The ground water table in Chennai is at 4-5 m below ground in most of the areas, which was considerably improved and maintained through the mandatory rain water harvesting system. GEOLOGY Chennai is classified as being in Seismic Zone III, indicating a moderate risk of damage from earthquakes. Owing to the geotectonic zone the city falls in, the city is considered a potential geothermal energy site. The crust has granite rocks indicating volcanic activities in the past. It is expected that temperatures of around 200 to 300 C° will be available if the ground were drilled 4 to 5 km deep. The region has the oldest rocks in the country dating back to nearly a billion years. FLORA AND FAUNA The southern stretch of Chennai's coast from Tiruvanmiyur to Neelangarai are favoured by the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles to lay eggs every winter. A large number of cattle egrets, pond herons and other waterbirds can be seen in the rivers of Cooum and Adyar. About 75,000 birds migrate to Chennai every year. Marshy wetlands such as Pallikaranai also play host to a number of migratory birds during the monsoon and winter. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the city and its neighbourhood by members of Madras Naturalists' Society since its inception in 1978. Guindy National Park is a protected area within the city limits. Wildlife conservation and research activities take place at Arignar Anna Zoological Park including Olive ridley sea turtle conservation. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a herpetology research station, located 40 kilometres south of Chennai. It is India's leading institution for herpeto faunal conservation and the first crocodile breeding centre in Asia. ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION Chennai has three rivers and many lakes spread across the city. Urbanization has led to shrinkage of water bodies and wetlands. The quantity of wetlands in the city has decreased from 650 to only 27 currently. The Chennai River Restoration trust set up by the government is working on the restoration of Adyar river. Environmentalist Foundation of India is a volunteering group working towards wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. CLIMATE Chennai has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen: Aw). The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known regionally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil, with maximum temperatures around 35–40 °C. The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 19–25 °C). The lowest recorded temperature was 13.9 °C on 11 December 1895 and 29 January 1905. The highest recorded temperature was 45 °C on 31 May 2003. The average annual rainfall is about 140 cm. 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 in 2005. Prevailing winds in Chennai are usually southwesterly between April and October and north-easterly during the rest of the year. Historically, Chennai has relied on the annual rains of the monsoon season to replenish water reservoirs, as no major rivers flow through the area. Chennai has a water table at 2 metres for 60 percent of the year. ADMINISTRATION Chennai city is governed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (formerly "Corporation of Madras"), which was established in 1688. It is the oldest surviving municipal corporation in India and the second oldest surviving corporation in the world. In 2011, the jurisdiction of the Chennai Corporation was expanded from 174 km2 to an area of 426 km2, dividing into three regions - North, South and Central, which covers 200 wards. The corporation is headed by a mayor, an office presently occupied by Saidai Sa. Duraisamy. The Mayor and councillors of the city are elected through a popular vote by the residents. While the city limit was expanded to 426 km2 in 2011, the revised population is yet to be officially announced. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the nodal agency responsible for planning and development of Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is spread over an area of 1,189 km2, covering the Chennai district and parts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts. The larger suburbs are governed by town municipalities, and the smaller are governed by town councils called panchayats. Under the gamut of the CMDA are 5 parliamentary and 28 assembly constituencies. The CMDA has drafted an additional Master Plan that aims to develop satellite townships around the city. The city's contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram in the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar in the southwest, and Sriperumpudur, Arakkonam, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur to the west. Chennai, as the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, houses the state executive and legislative headquarters primarily in the Secretariat Buildings in the Fort St George campus. The Madras High Court, is the highest judicial authority in the state, whose jurisdiction extends across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies - Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South - and elects 14 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature. LAW AND ORDER The Greater Chennai Police is the main law enforcement agency in the city, with a jurisdiction of over 745 sq km catering to over 85 lakh people. It consists of 121 Police stations and is headed by a commissioner of police. The Greater Chennai Police is a division of the Tamil Nadu Police, and the administrative control lies with the Tamil Nadu Home Ministry. Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP) is responsible for the traffic management in the city. The metropolitan suburbs are policed by the Chennai Metropolitan Police, headed by the Chennai Police Commissionerate, and the outer district areas of the CMDA are policed by the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments. As of 2011 (prior to the expansion of Chennai Corporation area), Chennai city has a sanctioned strength of 14,000 police personnel. With a population density of 26,903 persons per square kilometre, the city had 1 policeman for every 413 people. The Chennai suburban police had about 4,093 police personnel and a ratio of 1:1,222. In 2010, the crime rate in the city was 169.2 per 100,000 people, as against an average of 341.9 in the 35 major cities of India. In 2011, North Chennai zone had 30 police stations and 3 police out posts, Central Chennai zone had 28 police stations and 3 police out posts, and South Chennai zone had 30 police stations. In 2009, Chennai Central Prison, one of the oldest prisons in India, built over 11 acres (4 ha) of land, was demolished; the prisoners were moved to Puzhal Central Prison. POLITICS Since the 19th century, when Western scholars proposed that Dravidian languages, which dominated the southern region of India, formed a different linguistic group to that of the Indo-Aryan languages that are predominant in the north of the subcontinent, the aspects of Tamil nationalism gained prominence. This resulted in the Anti-Hindi agitations in the city and across the state. However, the post-Independence re-organisation of Indian states according to linguistic and ethnic basis has moderated Tamil nationalism, especially the demand for separation from the Indian Union. The Anti-Hindi agitations in mid-1960s made the DMK more popular and more powerful political force in the state. The agitations of the 1960s played a crucial role in the defeat of the Tamil Nadu Congress party in the 1967 elections and the continuing dominance of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu politics. Being the capital of the Madras Province that covered a vast area of the Deccan region, Chennai remained the centre of politics in the southern region of India during the British colonial era. After Independence, it remained the centre of political activities of the state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the birthplace of the idea of the Indian National Congress, commonly known as the Congress Party. Founded by Indian and British members of the Theosophical Society movement, most notably A.O. Hume, the idea was originally conceived in a private meeting of 17 men after a Theosophical Convention held in the city in December 1884. During the first 50 years of the Indian National Congress, the city played host to its conferences seven times in 1887, 1894, 1898, 1903, 1908, 1914 and 1927, becoming one of the strong bases for the Indian independence movement. After independence, the city hosted the Congress in 1955 in its suburb of Avadi. Chennai is also the birthplace of several regional political movements since the British era. South Indian Welfare Association, one of the earliest regional parties, was founded in 1916, which later came to be known as the Justice Party, which was the main opposition party to the Indian National Congress in the state. In 1944, the party was renamed Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) by E. V. Ramasami (popularly known as 'Periyar'). The party was a non-political party that demanded the establishment of an independent state called Dravida Nadu. However, due to the differences between its two leaders Periyar and C. N. Annadurai, the party was split. Annadurai left the party to form the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The DMK decided to enter into politics in 1956. UTILTY SERVICES The city's water supply and sewage treatment are managed by the Chennai MetroWater Supply and Sewage Board. Water is drawn from Red Hills Lake and Chembarambakkam Lake, the primary water reservoirs of the city, and treated at water treatment plants located at Kilpauk, Puzhal, Chembarambakkam and supplied to the city through 27 water distribution stations. The city receives 530 mld of water from Krishna River through Telugu Ganga project, 180 mld of water from the Veeranam lake project and 100 mld of water from the Minjur desalination plant, the country's largest sea water desalination plant. However, Chennai is predicted to face a huge deficit of 713 million litres per day (MLD) in 2026 as the demand is projected at 2,248 MLD and supply estimated at only 1,535 MLD. The city's sewer system was designed in 1910, with some modifications in 1958. There are 714 public toilets in the city managed by the city corporation, and 2,000 more have been planned by the corporation. The corporation also owns 52 community halls across the city. The Corporation of Chennai provides civic services to the city. Garbage collection in some of the wards is contracted to Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited, a private company, while the Corporation looks after the removal and processing of solid waste in the others, with a superintendent engineer managing the channels. As of 2011, 8 transfer stations exist within the city for treating the waste. Garbage is dumped in two dump-yards in the city - One in Kodungaiyur and another in Perungudi, with a major portion of the latter covering the Pallikaranai marshland. In market areas, the conservancy work is done during the night. Electricity is distributed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. Fire services are handled by the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services. The city, along with the suburbs, has 33 operating fire stations. ARCHITECTURE With the history of many neighbourhoods of the city such as Mylapore and Triplicane antedating that of the city, the architecture of Chennai ranges in a wide chronology. The oldest buildings in the city dates from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, which include the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore and the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, built in the Dravidian architecture. This architecture includes various styles, such as those of the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagara empires. The associated Agraharam architecture, which consists of traditional row houses surrounding a temple, can still be seen in these areas. The heritage temples at Mamallapuram at the outskirts of the city are some of the examples of the Pallava architecture. Chennai ranks second to Kolkata of Indian heritage buildings. With the advent of the Mugals and the British, the city saw a rise in a blend of Hindu, Islamic and Gothic revival styles, resulting in the distinct Indo-Saracenic style. The architecture for several early institutions such as banking and commerce, railways, press and education, chiefly through the colonial rule, followed the earlier directions of the Neo-Classical and the Indo-Saracenic. The Chepauk Palace in the city, designed by Paul Benfield, is said to be the first Indo-Saracenic building in India. Since then, many of the colonial-era buildings in the city were designed in this style of architecture, which is most apparent around the Fort St. George built in 1640. Most of these were designed by English architects Robert Fellowes Chisholm and Henry Irwin. The best examples of this style include the Madras High Court (built in 1892), Southern Railway headquarters, Ripon Building, Government Museum, Senate House of the University of Madras, Amir Mahal, Bharat Insurance Building, Victoria Public Hall and the College of Engineering. The Triumph of Labour, also known as the Labour statue, is a statue at the Marina Beach, Chennai, India. Erected at the northern end of the beach at the Anna Square opposite University of Madras, it is an important landmark of Chennai. The statue shows four men toiling to move a rock, depicting the hard work of the labouring class.It was sculpted by Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhry. The construction of the National Art Gallery in Madras was completed in 1909. The new building, with a stunning façade, was built of pink sandstone brought from Sathyavedu, and formed part of the Madras Museum campus. It was opened, on 23 January 1909, by the Governor of Fort St. George, Sir Arthur Lawley, and called the Victoria Memorial Hall after the Queen-Empress Victoria. The residential architecture in the city was based on the bungalow or the continuous row house prototypes. Gothic revival style buildings include the Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations. The Santhome Church, which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1523 and is believed to house the remains of the apostle St. Thomas, was rebuilt in 1893 in neo-Gothic style. By the early 20th century, the art deco too made its entry upon the city's urban landscape. From the 1930s onwards, many buildings in George Town were built in this style, including the United India building (presently housing LIC) and the Burma Shell building (presently the Chennai House), both built in the 1930s, and the Dare House, built in 1940. Other examples include the Bombay Mutual building (presently housing LIC) and the South Indian Chamber of Commerce building. After Independence, the city witnessed a rise in the Modernism style of architecture. The completion of the LIC Building in 1959, the tallest building in the country at that time, marked the transition from lime-and-brick construction to concrete columns in the region. The presence of the weather radar at the Chennai Port, however, prohibited the construction of buildings taller than 60 m around a radius of 10 km. In addition, the floor-area ratio (FAR) in the central business district is also 1.5, much less than that of smaller cities of the country. This resulted in the city expanding horizontally, unlike other metropolitan cities where vertical growth is prominent. On the contrary, the peripheral regions, especially on the southern and south-western sides, are experiencing vertical growth with the construction of buildings up to 60 floors. DEMOGRAPHICS A resident of Chennai is called a Chennaite. Chennai has a population of 7,088,000. According to 2011 based on pre-expansion limits, the city had a population of 4,681,087, with a density of 26,903 per km² and the urban agglomeration had a population of 8,653,521. The city registered a growth rate of 7.77% during the period 2001–2011. In 2001, the population density in the city was 24,682 per km², while the population density of the metropolitan area was 5,922 per km², making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The Chennai metropolitan area is the fourth most populated agglomeration in India. The sex ratio is 986 females for every 1,000 males, higher than the national average of 940. The average literacy rate rose from 85.33% in 2001 to 90.18% in 2011, much higher than the national average of 74.04%. However, the city has the fourth highest population of slum dwellers among major cities in India, with about 820,000 people (18.6% of the city's population) living in slum conditions. According to 2011 census, the Chennai district has 11 lakh households, with 51% of them living in rented houses. The majority of the population in Chennai are Tamils. Tamil is the primary language spoken in Chennai. English is spoken largely by white-collar workers, often mixed into Tamil. In 2001, out of the 2,937,000 migrants (33.8% of its population) in the city, 61.5% were from other parts of the state, 33.8% were from rest of India and 3.7% were from outside the country. As per 2001 census, the number of speakers mother tongue wise are as follows, Tamil is spoken by 3,424,107 (78.83%), followed by Telugu by 419,209 (9.65%), Urdu by 180,245 (4.1%), Malayalam by 113,828 (2.6%), Hindi by 104,084 (2.39%), and Kannada by 22,250 (0.5%). Chennai, along with Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, is one of the few Indian cities that are home to a diverse population of ethno-religious communities. Minorities include Telugus, Marwaris, Gujaratis , Parsis, Sindhis, Odias, Goans, Kannadigas, Anglo-Indians, Bengalis, Punjabi, and Malayalees. As per the religious census of 2011, Chennai had 80.73% Hindus, 9.45% Muslims, 7.72% Christians, 0.06% Sikhs, 0.06% Buddhists, 1.11% Jains, 0.83% following other religions and 0.04% following no religion or did not indicate any religious preference. HOUSING In a 2013 survey titled 'Emerging trends in real estate in Asia Pacific 2014', Chennai emerged in the top 25 real estate destinations list in the Asia Pacific region. The city ranked 22nd in the list. There are about 1,240 slums in Chennai home to about 9 lakh people. Per 2011 census, there are 1.1 million households in the city and the residential housing stock available is 1,150,000 – a surplus of about 50,000 houses. About 43,700 of them are kept vacant. In the suburbs of Chennai located in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, the figures of vacant houses 56,000 and 71,000, respectively. Of the existing housing stock in the city, about 200,000 houses are not in good condition, necessitating either to rebuild or build new units. About 26,000 households live in houses without any room and another 427,000 families (with an average size of five members) live in small dwelling units with only one room. An earlier estimate shows that there is a need to generate about 420,000 units for low-income groups by 2016. As of 2012, an estimated population of 11,116 (0.16 percent) were homeless. Per Supreme Court guidelines, the city needs 65 shelters for the homeless. However, it has only 15, of which 8 are functioning and two are under renovation. ARTS AND CULTURE MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES Chennai is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions, many of which are free of admission charges and are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The city also has one of the oldest Museum and Art Gallery in the country- Government Museum, Chennai and The National Art Gallery (Chennai), established in the early 18th century. The city also hosts two art festivals annually. The "Fort Museum" inside the premises of Fort St. George is an important museum having a noteworthy collection of objects of the British era in its collection. The museum is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and has in its possession, the first Flag of India hoisted at Fort St George after the declaration of India's Independence on 15 August 1947. MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India. The city is known for its classical dance shows. In 1930, for the first time in India, Madras University introduced a course of music, as part of the Bachelor of Arts curriculum. The Madras Music Season, initiated by Madras Music Academy in 1927, is celebrated every year during the month of December. It features performances of traditional Carnatic music by many artists in and around the city. An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases not only various arts of Tamil Nadu but also from the neighbouring states, like kalari (from Kerala), which is a major attraction, is held in January every year. The Speciality of Chennai Sangamam is that the various programmes are held near or at the various famous landmarks in the city so that everyone in the city has access to the programmes and there is no fee charged for entry for any of the programmes. Pookolam, a form of art that uses coloured flour to create patterns and designs, comes from Kerala, but can be seen in abundance at the time of Onam. The city has a diverse theatre scene and is one of the important centres for Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu and is the oldest dance of India. An important cultural centre for Bharata Natyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city. In 2012, a group of five Bharatha Natyam dancers from Chennai performed at the India Campaign during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Chennai is also home to some choirs, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English. CITYSCAPE Madras is divided into four broad regions: North, Central, South and West. North Madras is primarily an industrial area. South Madras and West Madras, 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. Central Madras comprises residential elements, but is primarily home to the downtown area, and surrounding areas, the most visited by travellers to the city. The financial district is also located here. TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY With temples, beaches and centres of historical and cultural significance, including the UNESCO Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, Chennai is one of the most visited cities in India. The city serves as the gateway to the southern part of India with tourists landing in the city and starting their trip to the rest of the region. Chennai was the most visited Indian city by foreign tourists in 2009 and issued the third highest number of visas on arrival in 2014. In 2011, Chennai was ranked 41st in global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010. About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011. Top foreign nationals visiting the city include those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France and United States. As of 2012, the city had 21 luxury five-star hotels with over 4,500 rooms in the inventory. ENTERTAINMENT Chennai is the base for the Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood. Many film personalities have gone on to become politicians including C.N.Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa. Chennai hosts major film studios, including AVM Productions, the oldest surviving studio in India. As of 2012, there are 120 cinema screens and multiplexes. Major multiplexes include Sathyam Cinemas, Escape cinemas, Devi, Abirami complex and Mayajaal. Chennai's expansive theatre network stages many Tamil plays of many genres: political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama. English plays are popular in the city, along with the more common Tamil-language plays. RECREATION Zoo, beaches, and wildlife parks form the primary recreation areas of the city. Chennai has a total coast length of more than 19 km. Marina Beach runs for 6 km, spanning along the shoreline of the city between the deltas of Cooum and Adyar, and is the second longest urban beach in the world. Elliot's Beach lies south of the Adyar delta. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo located 40 kilometres south of the city covering an area of 3.4 ha and had over 450,000 visitors in 2007. The centre has one of the world's largest collections of reptiles and has bred 14 of the 23 existing species of crocodiles and alligators. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 20 lakh visitors per year. The city boasts two popular beaches, the Marina and Elliot's. Guindy National Park, a protected area of Tamil Nadu, has a children's park and a snake park, which gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority of India in 1995. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits. The city has an estimated 4.5 percent of its area under green cover. This enables Chennai residents to go birding. The seven zones of the old corporation limits has about 260 parks, many of which suffer poor maintenance. The city has a per capita park space of 0.41 sq m, which is the least among all metros in India. The eight zones in the newly added areas of the city have about 265 locations that have been identified for development of new parks. The largest among the parks is the 358-acre Tholkappia Poonga, developed to restore the fragile ecosystem of the Adyar estuary. The horticulture department-owned Semmozhi Poonga is a 20-acre botanical garden located in the downtown. Chennai houses several theme parks, namely MGM Dizzee World and Queens Land. The safety of several amusement parks has been questioned after several fatal accidents occurred. Wonderla is planning to open an amusement park in 2017. Other important recreation centres include Madras Boat Club, which is over 140 years old, and Gymkhana Club, which is famous for its 18-hole golf courses. Built in 1867, Madras Boat Club is the second oldest surviving Indian rowing club. ECONOMY Industrialisation in the city dates back to the 16th century, when textile mills manufactured goods which were exported to British during its war with France. According to Forbes magazine, Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is rated in the "Forbes-Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the World". It is ranked 4th in hosting the maximum number of Fortune 500 companies of India, next only to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. It also is home to 24 Indian companies having a net worth of more than US$1 billion. As of 2012, the city has about 34,260 identified companies in its 15 zones, of which 5,196 companies have a paid-up the capital of over ₹ 50 lakh.Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, health care and financial services industries. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Chennai is estimated to grow to a US$100–billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025. As of 2012, with ₹ 1 lakh crore investment in the pipeline over 5 years, the city is poised for major industrial investment. Chennai is classified as a global city by GaWC, with a ranking of Beta based on the extent of global reach and financial influence. The city is base to around 30 percent of India's automobile industry and 40 percent of auto components industry. A large number of automotive companies including Hyundai, Renault, Robert Bosch, Nissan Motors, Ashok Leyland, Daimler AG, Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu Limited, Ford, BMW and Mitsubishi have manufacturing plants in Chennai. 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. The Ambattur–Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and a special economic zone (SEZ) for apparel and footwear manufacturing has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai contributes more than 50 percent of India's leather exports. COMMUNICATION Chennai is one of four Indian cities connected to the rest of the world by undersea fibre-optic cables, the other three being Mumbai, Kochi, and Tuticorin. The city is the landing point of major submarine telecommunication cable networks such as SMW4 (connecting India with Western Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia), i2i (connecting India with Singapore), TIC (connecting India with Singapore), and BRICS (connecting India with Brasil, Russia, China and South Africa). The 3,175-km-long, 8-fiber-paired i2i has the world's largest design capacity of 8.4 terabits per second. As of 2013, eight mobile phone service companies operate seven GSM networks including Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Vodafone, Tata Docomo GSM, Idea, Reliance GSM and three CDMA networks including MTS, Relaince CDMA, Tata Docomo CDMA in the city. 2G Mobile internet connections are provided by all the operators and 4G, 3G mobile broadband are provided by few operators in the city. There are four land line companies providing Commercial and domestic broadband Internet services. Chennai was the first Indian city to deploy Wi-Fi internet access in a widespread manner. As of 2010, there were 9.8 million mobile phone users in Chennai. In 2010, Chennai had the fourth highest number of active Internet users in India, with 2.2 million users. WIKIPEDIA
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