(Last Updated on : 17/04/2010)
Chennai district is one of the most prominent districts in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Chennai, originally called `Madras Patnam`, was situated in the province of Tondaimandalam, an area between the Pennar River of Nellore and the Pennar River of Cuddalore. Chennai is an important district and at the same time it is also the capital city of Tamil Nadu state. It also forms one of the metro cities of India and serves as the gateway of the culture of South India. Here, the majority of the people are Tamil speaking. However, it has emerged gradually as a cosmopolitan city playing an important role in the cultural, historical and intellectual development of India as well. This district still represents the distinct components of the highest form of Dravidian civilization. The area also holds out an interesting fare of South Indian architecture, dance, drama, music, sculpture and other arts and crafts.
History of Chennai district
Chennai was previously known as Madras Patnam and it was situated in the Tondaimandalam province, which was between River Pennar of Nellore and the River Pennar of Cuddalore
. The capital of the province was Kanchipuram
. Tondaimandalam was ruled in the second century A.D. by Tondaiman Ilam Tiraiyan, who was a representative of the Chola family at Kanchipuram. It is believed that Ilam Tiraiyan must have subdued Kurumbas, the original inhabitants of the area and established his rule over Tondaimandalam. Chennai`s first Governor in the twentieth century was Lord Ampthill (1901-06). The famous landmarks in this period were the establishment of Chennai Electric Supply Corporation in the year 1906 and opening of Indian Bank in the year 1907. During 1934 and 1936 two Indians named Sir.M.D.Usman Sahib and Sir. K. Venkatareddy Naidu acted as Governors of Chennai. In the year 1937, the Ministry of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari
came to power for two years. The influence of the Governors on the administration diminished significantly. The British left India on fifteenth of August 1947 but Chennai remained as a standing monument of the influence of the British over India.
Geography of Chennai district
Geography of Chennai district is having very less forest area. The district has a low-lying area which is largely flat like a pancake. The even topography of the land makes sub-divisions into natural regions much difficult. It rises a little with the increase in distance from the sea-shore but the average elevation is not much above the mean seal-level, while a majority of the localities are just at sea-level and drainage in those areas are the major problem. This district is situated to the north-east end of Tamil Nadu state on the coast of Bay of Bengal and having its border as the Bay of Bengal
to the east and the remaining three sides by Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur Districts. From early times Chennai was known for its pleasant scenery and was said to be a town open to sky and full of garden of mangoes, coconuts, guavas, oranges, etc.
Administration of Chennai district
The district of Chennai spreads over an area of 178.20 square kilometers. The Chennai district covers the whole Chennai Corporation including nineteen villages added to it in 1979 from out of the Chengalpattu District. The district administration is headed by the Collector with the team of officers including District Revenue Officer, Deputy Commissioner (Excise) in the cadre of District Revenue Officer, Personal Assistant (General) to the Collector of Chennai, District Revenue Officer ( Stamps), Additional Personal Assistant to the Collector of Chennai, Personal Assistant (ULT) to the Collector of Chennai, Personal Assistant (Accounts) to the Collector of Chennai, Special Deputy Collector (Social Security Schemes), Special Deputy Collector (Colour TV Schemes), Special Deputy Collector (Relief and Rehabilitation), District Inspection Cell Officer, Manager TAHDCO in the cadre of Deputy Collector, District Adi Dravida and Tribal Welfare Officer, District Backward Classes & Minorities Welfare Officer and Personal Assistant (Survey) to the Collector of Chennai.
Festivals in Chennai district
Festivals in this district form a vital part in the life of the people living in the Chennai district. Several festivals are organized in various parts of the district throughout the year. The festivals linked to Hindu temples are more than five hundred in a year. Apart from the traditional fairs and festivals, modern fairs like exhibitions and national festivals like Independence Day and Republic day are also celebrated in a grand manner. All the festivals and fairs celebrated in this district are visited by thousands of devotees from different parts of the district and also from various other parts of the state.
Apart from the Hindu festivals, the Christian and Muslim festivals also attract crowds and give rise to fairs in the district. The Bakrid, Ramzan and Muharram
and many others form the most prominent festivals, which are celebrated by thousands of devout Muslims in several places of the district of Chennai. Easter, Christmas
and the New Year are marked by impressive festivities in the catholic and protestant churches of the district like St. Thomas and the Cathedral Church in Santhome.