About Chennai District

Chennai is the capital city of ancient Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Madras, Madrasapattinam, and ‘Detroit of India’. It is located on the Coast off the Bay of Bengal; it is the largest industrial and commercial centre in South India, and a most important cultural, economic and educational hub. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and sixth largest city in the country and 31st largest urban area in the globe. Chennai is third largest expatriate population in Bharath after Mumbai and Delhi, with 35,000 in the year 2009 and steadily hiking to 82,790 in 2011.


Chennai is the only city in South Asia and India to figure in the “52 places to go around the world” by The New York Times. Chennai has also been named in the ‘hottest’ cities to live in for 2015 by BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) among global cities with a combination of both modern and ancient value.

History of Chennai

The region around Chennai has served as a significant administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. In first century CE, a poet and weaver named Thiruvallurvar lived in the town of Mylapore, then 1st to 12th centuries the region of present Tamil Nadu and parts of south India was ruled by the Cholas.Stone Age tools have been found at near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment, and primitive communities resided at the settlement. Then the Pallavas of Kanchipuram built the areas of Mahabalipuram and Pallavarm during the period of Mahendravarman.They also overwhelmed several kingdoms including the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas (Muveyntharkal) who ruled over the area before their arrival. Sculpted caves and paintings also have been found which belongs to 500 BC.

Handover of the City of Madras in 1746 to de La Bourdonnais, by Jacques Francois Joseph Swebach
Clive House at Fort St. George, Madras said to be the first British settlement in India 1609.

A portion of these findings belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire.The important port city of Chennai is Thiruvotriyur. It is historically important port city, now which forms part of north Chennai. In this place there still exists an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Adhipuriswara, last renovated during the 13th century King Rajaraja Chola III. Here, there is a stone inscription which says that devotion of 5 ladies in hereditary to the Lord to do the work of husking (the removal of covering) of paddy by Tiruvekambamudaiyan, Senthamaraikannan alaias vayiratharayan of Virukanbakkam alias Chenninallur. This exhibits the evidence that the name Chenninallur was in existence even during 12th century.The Portuguese first inwards in Chennai 1522 and built a port called St. Thomas, who is believed that, they preached in the area between 52 and 70 CE. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, north of Chennai. On 22nd August 1639, celebrated to as Madras Day, the British East India Company under Francis Day got permission from ruler Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Nayaka of Vandavasi to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises at Coromandel Coast covering 3 miles. After that, the region was become fishing village known as “Madrasapattinam”.


A year later, the British built Fort St. George, the first major British settlement in India. Post independence the Tamil Nadu Assembly headquartered at St. George fort, until the new secretariat building was opened in 2010. But shortly it was again moved back to Fort St. George, due to a change in the government. In late 18th century, the British had occupied most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as the capital.Steadily, the city was grown into a major marine base and became the central administrative centre for the British in South India. With the introduction of railways in India in the 19th century, the booming urban centre was linked to other vital cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting improved communication and trade with the hinterland. Sir Arthur Lawley was Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911 and promoted modern agriculture, industry, education, railways, the arts and more democratic governance. Madras was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers through World War I.After getting independence in 1947, city became the capital of Madras State. This was renamed as Tamil Nadu (also called Tamilakam) in 1969. The violent against imposition of Hindi in the year 1965, the state marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and finally it had a big impact on the entire state of Tamil Nadu. On 26th December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the coast of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai.