Introduction to Chennai

Chennai Facts and Figures

Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is the capital of Tamilnadu, the southernmost State of India spread over 181.06 km² (70 sq mi). The metropolis area of Chennai spreads over 1,180 km² (456 sq mi) comprising Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur District. Chennai is located in the Time Zone IST (UTC+5:30). As per 2001 census, the population of Chennai was 4.3 million with the urban agglomeration having an estimated population of more than 8million deeming the region one of the largest urban agglomeration in India. While the term ‘Madras’ was long thought of as a Portuguese name, the city was renamed as Chennai in 1996.

Located in the Coromandal coast, the Chennai city was first established by the British in the 17th Century to become a major urban centre and naval base under the British Empire. Eventually by 20th Century, Chennai became an important administrative centre and the capital of the Madras Presidency.

The varied dimensions of Chennai’s economy range over industries including technology, automobile, healthcare and hardware manufacturing. Chennai has the credit of being the second largest exporter of information technology products, software and information-technology-enabled services (ITES). A major segment of India’s automobile manufacturing industry is located in and around Chennai. The Chennai Zone contributes to 39 percent of the Tamilnadu state’s GDP. Called as the Detroit of India, Chennai is responsible for about 60 percent of the nation’s automotive exports.

One of the famous events of Chennai is the annual Madras Music Season, one of the most reputed cultural feasts, which features performances by hundreds of artists. The vibrant theatre scene of Chennai is known throughout the world with the city being a very important centre for the Bharatanatyam, a form of classical dance form. The film industry of the state called as Kollywood is based in Chennai, which is the second largest film industry in India.

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