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This metropolis is often called the 'Cultural Capital of India' for its deep-rooted traditions and age-old heritage. A city younger than its image, Chennai has blossomed into a charming city within a span of just over 350 years.
The city gained recognition when, in 1639, Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, agents of the English East India Company, acquired a strip of land, called Chennapatnam on lease from the Vijayanagar King. Fort St. George that serves as the Government Secretariat today was built to set up a factory serving as a nucleus for British settlements.
The city was known as Madras till 1996 and later renamed Chennai. Today this buoyant metropolis is a blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern. Spread over 200 sq km with the Bay of Bengal on the east, the city is the gateway to the rest of South India.
Summer: 36 - 27 C
Winter: 27 - 15 C
December and January
Chennai has two airports - international and domestic. Both terminals, Anna International Airport and Kamaraj Domestic Terminal, are located at Tirusulam, about 20 km from the city centre. Regular buses, pre-paid taxis, easy cabs, radio cabs and other car rentals can be easily availed at both tairport terminals.
Chennai Central and Egmore Station are the two major stations connecting Chennai to major parts of the country. While Chennai Central connects the city by broad gauge, Egmore is the starting point of both broad gauge and metre gauge. Several super fast, express and mail trains run regularly to different parts of the country. Tickets can be booked easily through the Indian Railways website (www.irctc.co.in) and reservation counters all over the city.
Chennai is connected by well maintained state roads and national highways with all the important places within the state and other parts of India. The newly opened Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Salai is the largest in Asia and operates most government bus services. You can also rent cars with private tour and cab operators. Pre-paid taxis and cars are available at airports, railway stations and private tour and cab operators.