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Chennai is Indias Fourth Largest Metropolitan City
by Douglas Scott

Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is Indias fourth largest metropolitan city. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7 million the 368 year old city is the 34th largest metropolitan area in the world.

While you are holidaying in Chennai, make sure to take some time off and visit the places around. There are ancient temple towns like Mahabalipuram and Tirupati, traditional townships and villages that specialise in crafts like Kanchipuram, and golden beaches like Covelong. You will also find beach resorts and amusement parks dotting the coastline beginning from Chennai.

There are several tourist attractions worth visiting in and around Chennai.

Stretched over an area of 13 km, Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the world.

The St George Fort, built in 1653, is currently used as the state governments secretariat. Santhome Cathedral was built around 14th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kapaleeshwar Temple is the oldest temple in Chennai. Another important temple in the city dedicated to Lord Krishna is Parthsarthy Temple.

The National Art Gallery, initially known as Victoria Memorial Hall, houses a good collection of old paintings and sculptures. The Snake Park has a large collection of snakes and many other reptiles.

The Theosophical Society is located in large and tranquil gardens with several shrines of different faiths and a Serene Garden of Remembrance. Nearby is the Kalakshetra, which was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale for the revival of Indian classical arts and crafts traditions.

Chennai lies on the thermal equator and is also coastal which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. For most of the year, the weather is hot and humid.

The average annual rainfall is about 1,300 mm. The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north east monsoon winds, from mid September to mid December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. Highest annual rainfall recorded is 2,570 mm in 2005. The most prevailing winds in Chennai are the South westerly between the end of May to end of September and the North easterly during the rest of the year.

Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing and financial services. Other important industries include petrochemicals, textiles and apparels. The city has a fully computerised stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange. Chennai has the fourth largest Gross Metropolitan Product in India.