Fort St. George of Chennai, Tamil Nadu:
This is an important historical landmark in Chennai of Tamil Nadu. Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, the founding fathers of Chennai and the officials of the British East India Company built this fort. It was said to be the first British settlement and was under French occupation for a brief period.
The Fort Museum was formally opened in 1948. The fine collections of original writings of the various personalities, who made Madras history for about a century, can be found here. In this one museum, the portraits of past governors, painting of the storming of Srirangapatna and scenes of earlier Chennai can be seen. There are also medieval weapons, collection of coins, silver wares, porcelain, manuscripts, engravings etc. available here for public display. These collections bring out a spectacular history of the past in the minds of the spectators. The marble statue of Cornwallis (1880) and Tipu handing over his children depicted on its pedestal bring the Carnatic wars before the eyes of the visitors.
St. Mary's Church:
This church is the oldest Anglican Church in the city, which was built inside St. George fort. It stands much the same as it was when built barring the spire and the tower which are later additions. This church is a good place to visit in Tamil Nadu. It is full of mementoes of men who made the history of early Madras. There are tombs of various ages with inscription in several languages. The outer walls of the church are four feet thick and bombproof. It is said to be the oldest Protestant church east of the Suez. One of the prized possessions of the church is the huge painting of the Last Supper in the Raphael style, which was brought from Pondicherry when it was plundered in 1761. The illustrious marriages of Elisa Yale with Catherine Hynmers and Robert Clive with Margaret Markeylyne can be seen in the marriage register of this church record.
Other things to see in the fort are Administrative House where Robert Clive lived, now occupied by the Pay and Accounts office, Wellesley House, King's Barracks and Cornwallis Cupola.
High Court of Tamil Nadu:
The High Court is an important landmark with its imposing Indo-Saracenic building. There are wonderful stained glass arches and minarets in the High Court of Tamil Nadu, which makes it a beautiful place to visit.
The Madras lighthouse was erected in 1894 on its tallest minaret rising 160 feet above sea level. It was a big gas mantled lighthouse with huge reflecting discs and is called Esplanade lighthouse. The Law College is another Indo-Saracenic building near the High Court on the western side and was established in 1892.
The Harbour of Tamil Nadu:
One of the major harbours of India is Chennai of Tamil Nadu. Earlier, the ships were anchored off the Fort and passengers used to land in a narrow sand bank. The second Lord Clive shifted the harbour to the present place and built a dock in 1789. It is one of the beautiful places of Tamil Nadu where visitors can go. This is a man made harbour of Tamil Nadu, which today stands first in India. It handles container carriages on an average about 2 lakhs container traffic a year. The Collector's Office, the General Post Office, the State Bank of India building etc standing opposite the harbour on the North Beach Road attract the visitors.
The Government Museum of Tamil Nadu:
The Government Museum of Tamil Nadu is situated on the Pantheon Road in Egmore. The National Art Gallery, Gallery of contemporary Arts, Children's Museum, the Museum Theatre and the Connemara Public Library are also situated in the Museum Complex. It was a gift to the government in 1851 by the Madras Literary Society which gave its valuable collections of geological specimens.
This is the first government-sponsored museum in India. There are the most beautiful bronze collection of international repute, numismatic and arms collection with various departments like Natural History, Comparative Anatomy, Systematic & Economic Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, Industrial Arts, Ethnology, Antiquities and Archaeology situated in this museum.
The museum theatre is a typical old English theatre with a pit and is a semi-circular amphitheatre. All these makes it a must visit place in Tamil Nadu.
Victoria Memorial of Tamil Nadu:
The National Art Gallery is situated in the Victoria Memorial of Tamil Nadu. It was built in the Mughal style of North India, which was adapted to Madras requirements. There is pink coloured sandstone in its front side, which is a characteristic of Mughal buildings. The fine gateways of the Memorial resemble that of Akbar's dream palace at Fatehpur Sikri. The large hall of the museum has a marble floor and a fine ceiling with relief ornaments in chunnam.
The things which can be seen in this museum include the fine collection of bronze images belonging to 10-13th centuries, 16-18th century Deccan paintings, 11-12th century splendour of handicrafts and superb Ravi Varma paintings. The visitors can also have a glance of the cannons captured in various battles by the British army and are now kept in the museum compound. There is also a sculpture park in the rear and a rare 18th century horse-coach which was common in the early colonial period.
The Marina Beach of Tamil Nadu:
The Marina beach of Tamil Nadu is a long stretch of sandy beach, which is the second longest beach in the world. One can enjoy a drive along the Marina, which is a fantastic ride. There are historic buildings on one side and on the other side there is a vast stretch of sand lashed by the Bay of Bengal. The visitors can enjoy the cool breezes of the beach along with lip smacking edibles and snacks available in the beach especially in the summer season.
The Samadhis of two charismatic former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu are the main attractions of the Marina beach of Tamil Nadu. Those chief ministers are Thiru C N Annadurai and Thiru M G Ramachandran also known as M.G.R. The Senate House, the Convocation Hall, the Library and the new centenary building of the first university of south India the Madras University, are situated opposite to the Anna Samadhi.
The Senate House represents a good example of Indo-Saracenic architecture with minarets, domes and stained glass windows. There is a modern swimming pool, the river Cooum in the north side. There is a row of beautiful buildings which house government offices could be seen on the southern side. 'Ezhilagam', 'the abode of beauty' is the first and foremost of them. But, the most beautiful one of them are the Khalsa Mahal and the tall tower adds grace to the Marina.
One can see stately statues of doyens of Tamil language and literature along Marina's park fringed promenade. The Triumph of Labour, Mahatma Gandhi and Kamaraj are the other statues adorning the Marina. The Marina is maintained as litter-free zone by Chennai Corporation.
Valluvar Kottam, a memorial of Tamil Nadu:
Valluvar Kottam is a decent memorial to the greatest poet-saint of Tamil Nadu. It is shaped like the old and one of the biggest temple chariots. It is, in fact a replica of the one at Thiruvarur. It is 33m tall with a life-size statue of Thiruvalluvar on its seat. The auditorium here is the largest in Asia and about 4000 people could be accommodated in it. This was built in the Dravidian and Pallavan style of architecture.
The Birla Planetarium of Tamil Nadu:
It is one of the most modern planetariums, which is located in Kotturpuram between Adyar and Guindy. It is regarded as a boon to research scholars of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science. A programme depicting the position of constellations, moon panorama, galaxies, comets and occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses, space travel etc are shown to the public on every day except Mondays. It is a modern visiting place in Tamil Nadu.
Kalakshetra of Tamil Nadu:
Kalakshetra of Tamil Nadu is a cultural institution of international repute. It is well known for Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu and 'Kuravanji', a dance drama of Tamil Nadu. Here the ancient Gurukulam system is followed, where students stay with the gurus or teachers and learn the art treating them as their foster parents. This is a very rare kind of library, which preserves the traditional literature on palm leaves.
Theosophical Society of Tamil Nadu:
The Theosophical Society was founded to help and encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science. It is situated on the southern bank of the river Adyar at its estuary. The serene place of this retreat is amidst 270 acres of gardens and estates. Here, the main tourist attractions are the shrine of all faiths, the Garden of Remembrance and a century-old library having invaluable collection of oriental palm-leaf manuscripts and parchments and the Big Banyan Tree, one of the largest in the world.
Elliot's Beach of Tamil Nadu:
The Elliot's Beach of Tamil Nadu is popular among the tourists because here former governors used to go for sea bathing and relaxation. There are some other attractive places also nearby like the multi storeyed 'Ashta Lakshmi' temple, dedicated to the goddess of wealth and the church is the Shrine Velankanni. This Beach is situated in Besant Nagar area.
Ripon Building of Tamil Nadu
This building is built in the British style and is fondly called the White House of Madras.It has been constructed with brick, chunnam and little stone and is surmounted by a graceful tower with a big clock resembling the Big Ben of London. Now, the Chennai Corporation, the City Council and the Mayor's Office function here. It is painted with white colour and during full moon days its charm increases and it looks like a dream palace.
Kovalam Beach of Tamil Nadu:
This beach near a small fishing village in Tamil Nadu attracts numerous visitors. It lies on the way to Mamallapuram. It is a calm spot for rest, relaxation and sea bathing. The ruins of a fort and a Muslim Durgah are also situated in nearby area, which are worth visiting.
It is situated about 36 km from Chennai on the Mamallapuram Road. It is a picturesque picnic spot and a centre for water sports by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. The backwaters of Muttukadu provide abundant scope for enjoying the water sports here.
(Last Updated on : 23-11-2010)
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