Ancient temples, vibrant arts, natural wonders and a bustling culinary scene make  Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the southern fringes of the country. Located on the Coromandel Coast, this busy metropolis was formerly called Madras. From the resplendent classical dance form of bharatnatyam to the rich flavours of its iconic cuisine and from the lustrous silk sarees traded here to the gorgeous temples and churches, Chennai is the gatekeeper of South Indian art, culture and traditions. The city is also the perfect base from which trips to other locales in Tamil Nadu can take off. 

Alongside heritage, flourish natural and contemporary highlights: sprawling beaches with natural and man-made wonders, a bustling seaport, quirky cafes, a multi-transport system, theme parks, industrial hubs, hi-tech parks and universities. Its population is a heterogenous mix of locals, expats and people from the rest of India. Chennai is widely known as the “Detroit of India”, a moniker it earned because of the high concentration of automobile factories located in and around here.

There are several stories about the origin of the city’s name. Initially, during the Nayakars rule, its name was Madras, which was inspired by Madraspattinam. At that time, it was a fishing village that was situated to the north of the area that is now Fort St George. The king of Vijaynagar sold the piece of land to the British on which now stands Fort St George, which houses the Secretariat Complex of the Government of Tamil Nadu. It was the British officers who retained the name Madraspattinam. For local populace, it was more common to call the city Chennapattinam. According to another legend, the city was named Chennai in honour of Damal Chennappa Nayakkar, a Nayak ruler. In the year 1996, the government renamed it to Chennai officially and the name stands even today.

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