• Chennai began as a British colony called Fort St. George when the English East India Company arrived to establish a factory. This area was home to many British colonials and workers. As the colony grew, it incorporated other European settlers and native towns. The colonists later named the settlement Madras, after one of the native towns, Madraspatnam.

 

  • In 1999, the name was changed once again by a ruling party to Chennai. The name came from another native village, Chennapattanam.

 

  • Today, the city of Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in the southeastern part of India, located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.

 

  • It is the fourth largest city in India with an area of about 60 square miles and over 4.5 million inhabitants. This sprawling metropolis is one of the major ports of India, often called the “Gateway to the South.”

 

  • Three of the 14 major languages of India are primarily spoken in Chennai: Hindi (the national language), Tamil (the local language), and English (used for business).

 

  • While there are large Muslim and Christian populations within the city, the primary religion is Hindu. The city is known for its ¬†architecturally remarkable Hindu temples.