cabs booking Chennai
Chennai formerly known as Madras is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is one of the biggest cultural, economic and educational centres in South India. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the fifth-largest city and fourth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. The city together with the adjoining regions constitute the Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is the 36th-largest urban area by population in the world. Chennai is among the most visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked 43rd most visited city in the world for year 2015. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed “India’s health capital”. As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Chennai confronts substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems.
Chennai had the third-largest expatriate population in India at 35,000 in 2009, 82,790 in 2011 and estimated at over 100,000 by 2016. Tourism guide publisher Lonely Planet named Chennai as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit in 2015. Chennai is ranked as a beta-level city in the Global Cities Index and was ranked the best city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. In 2015 Chennai was named the “hottest” city (worth visiting, and worth living in for long term) by the BBC, citing the mixture of both modern and traditional values. National Geographic ranked Chennai’s food as second best in the world; it was the only Indian city to feature in the list. Chennai was also named the ninth-best cosmopolitan city in the world by Lonely Planet. In October 2017, Chennai was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list for its rich musical tradition.
The Chennai Metropolitan Area is one of the largest city economies of India. Chennai is nicknamed “The Detroit of India”, with more than one-third of India’s automobile industry being based in the city. In January 2015, it was ranked third in terms of per capita GDP. Chennai has been selected as one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi’s flagship Smart Cities Mission.
On 9 November 2017, Chennai has been included in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition.
The name Madras originated even before the British presence was established in India. The origin of the name is unclear; one suggestion of several is that it may have originated from a Portuguese phrase mãe de Deus, which means “mother of God”, due to Portuguese influence on the port city, specifically referring to a Church of St. Mary. According to some sources, Madras was derived from Madraspattinam, a fishing-village north of Fort St George. However, it is uncertain whether the name was in use before the arrival of Europeans. The British military mapmakers believed Madras was originally Mundir-raj or Mundiraj. A Vijayanagar-era inscription dated to the year 1367 that mentions the port of Mādarasanpattanam, along with other small ports on the east coast was discovered in 2015 and it was theorised that the aforementioned port is the fishing port of Royapuram.
In 1996, the Government of Tamil Nadu officially changed the name from Madras to Chennai. At that time many Indian cities underwent a change of name. However, the name Madras continues in occasional use for the city, as well as for places named after the city such as University of Madras, IIT Madras, Madras Institute of Technology, Madras Medical College, Madras Veterinary College, Madras Christian College.
St.Thomas Mount, Chennai
Stone age implements have been found near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment, and pre-historic communities resided in the settlement.
The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre for many centuries. During the 1st century CE, a poet and weaver named Thiruvalluvar lived in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of present Chennai). From the 1st–12th century the region of present Tamil Nadu and parts of South India was ruled by the Cholas.
The Pallavas of Kanchi built the areas of Mahabalipuram and Pallavaram during the reign of Mahendravarman I. They also defeated several kingdoms including the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas who ruled over the area before their arrival. Sculpted caves and paintings have been identified from that period. Ancient coins dating to around 500 BC have also been unearthed from the city and its surrounding areas. A portion of these findings belonged to the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled the region during the medieval period.
The Portuguese first arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St. Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 CE. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, north of Chennai.
On 20 August 1639 Francis Day of the East India Company along with the Nayak of Kalahasti Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, the Military administrator under Vijayanagar Emperor travelled to Chandragiri palace to meet the Vijayanagara King Peda Venkata Raya and to obtained grant for a small strip of land in the Coromandel Coast from in Chandragiri as a place to build a factory and warehouse for their trading activities. The region was then primarily a fishing village known as “Madraspatnam”. A year later, the English built Fort St. George, the first major English settlement in India, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city and urban Chennai, grew around this Fort. Post independence the fort housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010, but shortly afterwards it was again moved back to Fort St. George, due to a change in the Government.
In 1746, Fort St. George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages. The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and strengthened the town’s fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. They resisted a French siege attempt in 1759 under the leadership of Eyre Coote. In 1769 the city was threatened by Mysore and the British were defeated by Hyder Ali, after which the Treaty of Madras ended the war. By the 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern–day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as the capital.
Map of Madras, ca 1914
Gradually, the city grew into a major naval base and became the central administrative centre for the British in South India. With the advent of railways in India in the 19th century, the thriving urban centre was connected to other important cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting increased communication and trade with the hinterland. Sir Arthur Lawley was Governor of Madras from 1906 to 1911 and promoted modern agriculture, industry, railways, education, the arts and more democratic governance. The Governor lived in Government House, Fort St George, and had a country home at Guindy, with access to a golf course, hockey pitches, riding stables and the Guindy Horse Racing Track. In the First World War as Red Cross Commissioner in Mesopotamia, he looked after the welfare of Indian soldiers. Madras was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, when an oil depot was shelled by the German light cruiser SMS Emden on 22 September 1914, as it raided shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, causing disruption to shipping.
After India gained its independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the compulsory imposition of Hindi and in support of English in India in the state marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and eventually it had a big impact on the whole state. Because of Madras and its people, English now exists in India, otherwise Hindi might have been made the sole official language in India. On 17 July 1996, the city known as Madras was officially renamed Chennai, in line with what was then a nationwide trend to using less Anglicised names. On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing 206 people in Chennai and permanently altering the coastline. The 2015 Chennai Floods submerged major portions of the city, killing 269 people and resulting in damages of ₹86.4 billion (US$1 billion).
Chennai is located on the south–eastern coast of India in the north–eastern part of Tamil Nadu on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average elevation is around 6.7 metres (22 ft), and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft). Chennai is 2,184 kilometres (1,357 mi) south of Delhi, 1,337 kilometres (831 mi) southeast of Mumbai, and 345 kilometres (214 mi) east of Bangalore by road. Two major rivers flow through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, travels through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the Bay of Bengal, at Ennore. The estuary of this river is heavily polluted with effluents released by the industries in the region. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources, the Coumm being so heavily polluted it is regarded as the city’s eyesore. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals.The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (2.5 mi) inland, runs parallel to the coast, linking the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east–west stream, runs through north Chennai and meets the Buckingham Canal at Basin Bridge. Several lakes of varying size are located on the western fringes of the city. Some areas of the city have the problem of excess iron content in groundwater.
Satellite image of Chennai:
Chennai’s soil is mostly clay, shale and sandstone. Clay underlies most of the city, chiefly Manali, Kolathur, Maduravoyal, K. K. Nagar, Tambaram, Mudichur, Pallavaram Semmencherry, Alapakkam, Vyasarpadi and Anna Nagar. Sandy areas are found along the river banks and coasts, and include areas such as Tiruvottiyur, George Town, Madhavaram, New Washermanpet, Chepauk, Mylapore, Porur, Adyar, Besant Nagar and Uthandi. In these areas, rainwater runoff percolates quickly through the soil. Areas having hard rock surface include Guindy, Nanganallur, Pallikaranai, Alandur, Jaladampet, Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet and Perungudi. The ground water table in Chennai is at 4-5m below ground in most of the areas, which was considerably improved and maintained through the mandatory rain water harvesting system.
Chennai is classified as being in Seismic Zone III, indicating a moderate risk of damage from earthquakes. Owing to the geotectonic zone the city falls in, the city is considered a potential geothermal energy site. The crust has granite rocks indicating volcanic activities in the past. It is expected that temperatures of around 200 to 300 C° will be available if the ground were drilled 4 to 5 km deep. The region has the oldest rocks in the country dating back to nearly a billion years.
Flora and fauna:
The southern stretch of Chennai’s coast from Tiruvanmiyur to Neelangarai are favoured by the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles to lay eggs every winter. A large number of cattle egrets, pond herons and other waterbirds can be seen in the rivers of Cooum and Adyar. About 75,000 birds migrate to Chennai every year. Marshy wetlands such as Pallikaranai also play host to a number of migratory birds during the monsoon and winter. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the city and its neighbourhood by members of Madras Naturalists’ Society since its inception in 1978.
Guindy National Park is a protected area within the city limits. Wildlife conservation and research activities take place at Arignar Anna Zoological Park including Olive ridley sea turtle conservation. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a herpetology research station, located 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of Chennai. It is India’s leading institution for herpeto faunal conservation and the first crocodile breeding centre in Asia. The city’s tree cover is estimated to be around 26.6 sq km.
Chennai has three rivers and many lakes spread across the city. Urbanization has led to shrinkage of water bodies and wetlands. The quantity of wetlands in the city has decreased from 650 to only 27 currently. The Chennai River Restoration trust set up by the government is working on the restoration of Adyar river. Environmentalist Foundation of India is a volunteering group working towards wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.
The Ripon Building, commissioned in 1913, houses the Chennai Corporation
Chennai city is governed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (formerly “Corporation of Madras”), which was established in 1688. It is the oldest surviving municipal corporation in India and the second oldest surviving corporation in the world. In 2011, the jurisdiction of the Chennai Corporation was expanded from 174 km2 (67 sq mi) to an area of 426 km2 (164 sq mi), dividing into three regions—North, South and Central, which covers 200 wards. The corporation is headed by a mayor, an office presently occupied by Saidai Sa. Duraisamy. The Mayor and councillors of the city are elected through a popular vote by the residents. While the city limit was expanded in 2011, the revised population is yet to be officially announced.
The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is the nodal agency responsible for planning and development of Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is spread over an area of 1,189 km2 (459 sq mi), covering the Chennai district and parts of Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts. The larger suburbs are governed by town municipalities and the smaller ones are governed by town councils called panchayats. Under the gamut of the CMDA are 5 parliamentary and 28 assembly constituencies. The CMDA has drafted an additional Master Plan that aims to develop satellite townships around the city. The city’s contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram in the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar in the southwest, and Sriperumpudur, Arakkonam, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur to the west.
Chennai, as the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, houses the state executive and legislative headquarters primarily in the Secretariat Buildings in the Fort St George campus. The Madras High Court, is the highest judicial authority in the state, whose jurisdiction extends across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South—and elects 24 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature.
Parry’s Corner, one of the oldest business areas of Chennai, lined up with Art Deco buildings.
With the history of many neighbourhoods of the city such as Mylapore and Triplicane antedating that of the city, the architecture of Chennai ranges in a wide chronology. The oldest buildings in the city dates from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, which include the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore and the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, built in the Dravidian architecture. This architecture includes various styles, such as those of the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagara empires. The associated Agraharam architecture, which consists of traditional row houses surrounding a temple, can still be seen in these areas. The heritage temples at Mamallapuram at the outskirts of the city are some of the examples of the Pallava architecture. Chennai ranks second to Kolkata of Indian heritage buildings.
With the advent of the Mugals and the British, the city saw a rise in a blend of Hindu, Islamic and Gothic revival styles, resulting in the distinct Indo-Saracenic style. The architecture for several early institutions such as banking and commerce, railways, press and education, chiefly through the colonial rule, followed the earlier directions of the Neo-Classical and the Indo-Saracenic. The Chepauk Palace in the city, designed by Paul Benfield, is said to be the first Indo-Saracenic building in India. Since then, many of the colonial-era buildings in the city were designed in this style of architecture, which is most apparent around the Fort St. George built in 1640. Most of these were designed by English architects Robert Fellowes Chisholm and Henry Irwin. The best examples of this style include the Madras High Court (built in 1892), Southern Railway headquarters, Ripon Building, Government Museum, Senate House of the University of Madras, Amir Mahal, Bharat Insurance Building, Victoria Public Hall and the College of Engineering.
Triumph of Labour:
Southern Railway Headquarters, one of the fine examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the city
The Triumph of Labour, also known as the Labour statue, is a statue at the Marina Beach, Chennai, India. Erected at the northern end of the beach at the Anna Square opposite University of Madras, it is an important landmark of Chennai.The statue shows four men toiling to move a rock, depicting the hard work of the labouring class.It was sculpted by Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhry.
The construction of the National Art Gallery in Madras was completed in 1909. The new building, with a stunning façade, was built of pink sandstone brought from Sathyavedu, and formed part of the Madras Museum campus. It was opened, on 23 January 1909, by the Governor of Fort St. George, Sir Arthur Lawley, and called the Victoria Memorial Hall after the Queen-Empress Victoria. The residential architecture in the city was based on the bungalow or the continuous row house prototypes. Gothic revival style buildings include the Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations. The Santhome Church, which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1523 and is believed to house the remains of the apostle St. Thomas, was rebuilt in 1893 in neo-Gothic style.
By the early 20th century, the art deco too made its entry upon the city’s urban landscape. From the 1930s onwards, many buildings in George Town were built in this style, including the United India building (presently housing LIC) and the Burma Shell building (presently the Chennai House), both built in the 1930s, and the Dare House, built in 1940. Other examples include the Bombay Mutual building (presently housing LIC) and the South Indian Chamber of Commerce building. After Independence, the city witnessed a rise in the Modernism style of architecture. The completion of the LIC Building in 1959, the tallest building in the country at that time, marked the transition from lime-and-brick construction to concrete columns in the region. The presence of the weather radar at the Chennai Port, however, prohibited the construction of buildings taller than 60 m around a radius of 10 km. In addition, the floor-area ratio (FAR) in the central business district is also 1.5, much less than that of smaller cities of the country. This resulted in the city expanding horizontally, unlike other metropolitan cities where vertical growth is prominent. On the contrary, the peripheral regions, especially on the southern and south-western sides, are experiencing vertical growth with the construction of buildings up to 60 floors.
Arts and culture:
National Art Gallery (Chennai):
Chennai is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions, many of which are free of admission charges and are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The city also has one of the oldest Museum and Art Gallery in the country- Government Museum, Chennai and The National Art Gallery (Chennai), established in the early 18th century. The city also hosts two art festivals annually. The “Fort Museum” inside the premises of Fort St. George is an important museum having a noteworthy collection of objects of the British era in its collection. The museum is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India and has in its possession, the first Flag of India hoisted at Fort St George after the declaration of India’s Independence on 15 August 1947.
Music and performing arts:
Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India. The city is known for its classical dance shows. In 1930, for the first time in India, Madras University introduced a course of music, as part of the Bachelor of Arts curriculum. The Madras Music Season, initiated by Madras Music Academy in 1927, is celebrated every year during the month of December. It features performances of traditional Carnatic music by many artists in and around the city.
An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases not only various arts of Tamil Nadu but also from the neighbouring states, like kalari (from Kerala), which is a major attraction, is held in January every year. The Speciality of Chennai Sangamam is that the various programmes are held near or at the various famous landmarks in the city so that everyone in the city has access to the programmes and there is no fee charged for entry for any of the programmes. Pookolam, a form of art that uses coloured flour to create patterns and designs, comes from Kerala, but can be seen in abundance at the time of Onam.
The city has a diverse theatre scene and is one of the important centres for Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu and is the oldest dance of India. An important cultural centre for Bharata Natyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city. In 2012, a group of five Bharatha Natyam dancers from Chennai performed at the India Campaign during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Chennai has been featured in UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) list since October 2017 for its century-old musical tradition. Chennai is also home to some choirs, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English.
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Chennai:
Madras is divided into four broad regions: North, Central, South and West. North Madras is primarily an industrial area. South Madras and West Madras, previously mostly residential, are fast becoming commercial, home to a growing number of information technology firms, financial companies and call centres. The city is expanding quickly along the Old Mahabalipuram Road and the Grand Southern Trunk Road (GST Road) in the south and towards Ambattur, Koyambedu and Sriperumbdur in the west. Central Madras comprises residential elements, but is primarily home to the downtown area, and surrounding areas, the most visited by travellers to the city. The financial district is also located here.
Tourism and hospitality:
With temples, beaches and centres of historical and cultural significance, including the UNESCO Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, Chennai is one of the most visited cities in India. The city serves as the gateway to the southern part of India with tourists landing in the city and starting their trip to the rest of the region. Chennai was the most visited Indian city by foreign tourists in 2009 and issued the third highest number of visas on arrival in 2014. In 2011, Chennai was ranked 41st in global top 100 city destination ranking, with 3,174,500 tourists, a 14 percent increase from 2010. About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011. Top foreign nationals visiting the city include those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France and United States. In 2015, the city received 4,243,700 foreign tourists making it the 3rd most visited city in India after Delhi and Mumbai and 43rd most visited city in the world by foreign tourists. As of 2012, the city had 21 luxury hotels in the five-star category, with over 4,500 rooms in the inventory.
Marina Beach is a famous landmark. It is the second largest beach in the world
Chennai is the base for the Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood. Many film personalities have gone on to become politicians including C.N.Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa. Chennai hosts major film studios, including AVM Productions, the oldest surviving studio in India. As of 2012, there are 120 cinema screens and multiplexes. Major multiplexes include Sathyam Cinemas, Escape cinemas, Devi, Abirami complex and Mayajaal. Chennai’s expansive theatre network stages many Tamil plays of many genres: political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama English plays are popular in the city, along with the more common Tamil-language plays.
Zoo, beaches, and wildlife parks form the primary recreation areas of the city. Chennai has a total coast length of more than 19 km. Marina Beach runs for 6 km (3.7 mi), spanning along the shoreline of the city between the deltas of Cooum and Adyar, and is the second longest urban beach in the world. Elliot’s Beach lies south of the Adyar delta. Covelong beach lies along the coromandal coast.
Express Avenue shopping mall:
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo located 40 kilometres (25 mi) south of the city covering an area of 8.5 acres (3.4 ha) and had over 450,000 visitors in 2007. The center has one of the world’s largest collections of reptiles and has bred 14 of the 23 existing species of crocodiles and alligators. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 20 lakh visitors per year. The city boasts two popular beaches, the Marina and Elliot’s. Guindy National Park, a protected area of Tamil Nadu, has a children’s park and a snake park, which gained statutory recognition as a medium zoo from the Central Zoo Authority of India in 1995. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits. The city has an estimated 4.5 percent of its area under green cover. This enables Chennai residents to go birding. The seven zones of the old corporation limits has about 260 parks, many of which suffer poor maintenance. The city has a per capita park space of 0.41 sq m, which is the least among all metros in India. The eight zones in the newly added areas of the city have about 265 locations that have been identified for development of new parks. The largest among the parks is the 358-acre Tholkappia Poonga, developed to restore the fragile ecosystem of the Adyar estuary. The horticulture department-owned Semmozhi Poonga is a 20-acre botanical garden located in the downtown.
Chennai houses several theme parks, namely MGM Dizzee World and Queens Land. The safety of several amusement parks has been questioned after several fatal accidents occurred. Wonderla is planning to open an amusement park in 2017. Other important recreation centres include Madras Boat Club, which is over 140 years old, and Gymkhana Club, which is famous for its 18-hole golf courses. Built in 1867, Madras Boat Club is the second oldest surviving Indian rowing club.
Chennai is home to several malls, due to its status as an IT hub. Major ones include Express Avenue (EA), Citi Centre, Abirami mega mall, Spencer Plaza, Ampa Skywalk, Phoenix Market City and Forum Vijaya Mall. Chennai is an important gold market in India contributing to 45 percent of the 800-tonne annual national gold uptake. The city is also the base to the World Gold Council’s India operations. The city’s retail industry is majorly concentrated in T. Nagar which accounts for major share jewellery and clothes sold in Chennai. According to the 2012 report by property consultant Cushman & Wakefield, Main Streets Across the World, Khader Nawaz Khan Road at Nungambakkam ranked 10th position in the list of ‘Top 10 Global Highest Retail Rental Growth Markets 2012’, with 36.7 percent jump in rents.
Cognizant’s Delivery Center in Chennai:
Recent estimates of the economy of the entire Chennai Metropolitan Area range from $58.6 to $66 billion (PPP GDP), ranking it from fourth- to sixth-most productive metro area of India. Chennai has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare sectors. As of 2012, the city is India’s second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major part of India’s automobile industry is located in and around the city thus earning it the nickname “Detroit of India”. It is known as the Cultural Capital of South India and is the third most visited city in India by international tourists according to Euromonitor. The city also serves as the location of the Madras Stock Exchange, India’s fourth stock exchange, one of four permanently recognised by SEBI, and India’s third-largest by trading volume, ranked behind the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.
Industrialisation in the city dates back to the 16th century, when textile mills manufactured goods which were exported to British during its war with France. According to Forbes magazine, Chennai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is rated in the “Forbes-Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the World”. It is ranked 4th in hosting the maximum number of Fortune 500 companies of India, next only to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. It also is home to 24 Indian companies having a net worth of more than US$1 billion. As of 2012, the city has about 34,260 identified companies in its 15 zones, of which 5,196 companies have a paid-up the capital of over 50 lakh.
Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, health care and financial services industries. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry, Chennai is estimated to grow to a US$100–billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025. As of 2012, with 1 lakh crore investment in the pipeline over 5 years, the city is poised for major industrial investment. Chennai is classified as a global city by GaWC, with a ranking of Beta based on the extent of global reach and financial influence.
The city is base to around 40 percent of India’s automobile industry and 45 percent of auto components industry. A large number of automotive companies including Royal enfield, Hyundai, Renault, Robert Bosch, Nissan Motors, Ashok Leyland, Yamaha Motor, Daimler AG, Caterpillar Inc., Komatsu Limited, BharatBenz, Ford, BMW and Mitsubishi have manufacturing plants in Chennai. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi produces military vehicles, including India’s main battle tank: Arjun MBT. The Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways. The Ambattur–Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and a special economic zone (SEZ) for apparel and footwear manufacturing has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai contributes more than 50 percent of India’s leather exports.
Many software and software services companies have development centres in Chennai, which contributed 14 percent of India’s total software exports of ₹ 14,42,140 lakh during 2006–07, making it the second largest Indian city software exporter following Bangalore. The Tidel Park in Chennai was billed as Asia’s largest IT park when it was built. Major software companies have their offices set up here, with some of them making Chennai their largest base.
Prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, ABN AMRO, Bank of America, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, HSBC, ING Group, Allianz, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Asian Development Bank, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Fortis, Irevna, Deutsche Bank and Citibank have back office and development centre operations in the city. Chennai is home to the national level commercial banks Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank and many state level co–operative banks, finance and insurance companies. Telecom and Electronics manufacturers based in and around Chennai include Samsung, Nokia Siemens, Motorola, Lenovo, Dell, Force10, Wipro, Flextronics and Siemens among others. Chennai is currently the largest electronics hardware exporter in India, accounting for 45% of the total exports in 2010–11. Telecom giants Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and chemicals giant Dow Chemicals have research and development facilities in Chennai. The TICEL bio–tech park at Taramani and Golden Jubilee bio–tech park at Siruseri houses biotechnology companies and laboratories. Chennai has a stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange.
A study conducted by the National Housing Bank on the residential price index of Indian cities showed that Chennai experienced the highest growth after the 2008–2012 global financial crisis. Medical tourism is an important part of Chennai’s economy with 45 percent of total medical tourists to India making to Chennai. The Tamil film industry and the Tamil television industry are also significant parts of Chennai’s economy. The city also has a permanent exhibition complex in Nandambakkam called the Chennai Trade Centre. With 385 ultra-rich living in the city, Chennai is positioned in the sixth place among Indian cities that are home to the country’s super-rich. The city is the third largest market in India for luxury cars.
Chennai is one of four Indian cities connected to the rest of the world by undersea fibre-optic cables, the other three being Mumbai, Kochi, and Tuticorin. The city is the landing point of major submarine telecommunication cable networks such as SMW4 , i2i (connecting India with Singapore), TIC (connecting India with Singapore), and BRICS (connecting India with Brasil, Russia, China and South Africa). The 3,175-km-long, 8-fiber-paired i2i has the world’s largest design capacity of 8.4 terabits per second.
As of 2013, eight mobile phone service companies operate seven GSM networks including Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Vodafone, Tata Docomo GSM, Idea, Reliance GSM and three CDMA networks including MTS, Relaince CDMA, Tata Docomo CDMA in the city. 2G Mobile internet connections are provided by all the operators and 4G, 3G mobile broadband are provided by few operators in the city. There are four land line companies providing Commercial and domestic broadband Internet services. Chennai was the first Indian city to deploy Wi-Fi internet access in a widespread manner. As of 2010, there were 9.8 million mobile phone users in Chennai. In 2010, Chennai had the fourth highest number of active Internet users in India, with 2.2 million users.
Government General Hospital:
Chennai has world-class medical facilities, including both government-run and private hospitals. The government-aided hospitals include General Hospital, Adyar Cancer Institute, TB Sanatorium, and National Institute of Siddha. The National Institute of Siddha is one of the seven apex national-level educational institutions that promote excellence in Indian system of medicine and Ayurveda. Major hospitals in Chennai include Apollo Hospitals, Apollo Speciality Hospital, SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Chettinad Health City, MIOT Hospitals, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Fortis Malar Hospital, Lifeline Hospitals, Vasan Healthcare, Dr Mehta Hospitals, Global Hospitals & Health City, Sankara Nethralaya and Vijaya Medical & Educational Trust. Chennai attracts about 45 percent of health tourists from abroad and 30 percent to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. The city has been termed India’s health capital.
The city has more than 12,500 beds in its hospitals, including about 5,000 in multi-specialty hospitals in the private sector and over 6,000 beds in the public sector. This works to 2.1 beds per 1,000 population against the national average of less than 1 bed per 1,000 population and the World Health Organisation’s norms of 3 beds per 1,000 persons, higher than any other city in the country.
The city generates 4,500 tonnes of garbage every day of which 429 tonnes are plastic waste. The city has three dumpyards, one each at Perungudi, Kodungaiyur, and Pallikaranai. The corporation has planned to close these yards and create four new dumpyards at Malaipattu, Minjur, Vallur and Kuthambakkam villages, ranging in size from 20 acres (8 ha) to 100 acres (40 ha). The civic body also spends ₹ 400 crore a year on solid waste management.
The Chennai International Airport is the fourth busiest in India in terms of passenger traffic. It handled about 15.2 million passengers in 2013–2014; in terms of international passengers, Chennai is the third busiest airport behind Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, and Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. Chennai handles 400 flights a day, again placing it fourth among Indian airports. The city is connected to major hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers.
The existing airport is undergoing further modernisation and expansion with an addition of 1,069.99 acres (433.01 ha), while a new greenfield airport is to be constructed at an estimated cost of ₹ 2,000 crore in Sriperumbudur on 4,200 acres (17 km2) of land. The new airport is said to be likely to handle cargo spillover traffic from the existing one.
Chennai hosts the headquarters of the Southern Railway. The city has four main railway terminals. Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Chennai Beach and Tambaram. Chennai Central station, the city’s largest, provides access to other major cities as well as many other smaller towns across India, whereas Chennai Egmore provides access to destinations primarily within Tamil Nadu; however, it also handles a few inter–state trains. The Chennai suburban railway network, one of the oldest in the country, facilitates transportation within the city. It consists of four broad gauge sectors terminating at two locations in the city, namely Chennai Central and Chennai Beach. While three sectors are operated on-grade, the fourth sector is majorly an elevated corridor, which links Chennai Beach to Velachery and is interlinked with the remaining rail network.
Chennai Metro is a rapid transit system serving the city and was partially commenced on 29 June 2015. To improve the city’s public transportation system and prepare the city for the future commuting needs, the Chennai Metro was planned and approved by the state cabinet during 2007 for which construction began on 2009. The Phase I of the Chennai Metro network consists of 2 lines (Blue Line and Green Line) covering a length of 45.1 kilometres (28.0 mi) consisting of 40 stations with Alandur and Chennai Central serving as interchanges. 55% of the corridors in Phase-I are underground and the rest are elevated. The entire phase-I is scheduled to be operational by end of 2018. In December 2016, it was announced by Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) that Phase-2 of Chennai Metro is set to be for a length of 104 km consisting of 104 stations which is subject to approval from the state and central governments.
Chennai is one of the cities in India that is connected by the Golden Quadrilateral system of National Highways. It is connected to other Indian cities by four major National Highways (NH) that originate in the city. They are NH 4 to Mumbai (via Bangalore, Pune), NH 5 to Kolkata (linked via NH 6) (via Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar), NH 45 to Theni (via Villupuram, Tiruchirapalli, Dindigul) and NH 205 to Madanapalle (via Tirupati). Chennai is connected to other parts of the state and the Union Territory of Puducherry by state highways.
The government has constructed grade separators and flyovers at major intersections, and built Inner Ring Road and Outer Ring Road. The Gemini flyover, built in 1973 crosses over the arterial road, and eases the traffic movements towards Anna Salai and towards the Kathipara Flyover. As of 2011, according to the Transport Department, there were 25.8 lakh two–wheelers and 5.6 lakh four–wheelers in the city, and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus fleet were 3,421, which was 0.1% of the total vehicular population of the city.
When opened, the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) was the largest bus station in Asia. It is the main intercity bus station of Chennai, administered by 7 government-owned transport corporations, which operate intercity and interstate bus services. There are many private bus companies that provide similar transport services. The MTC provides an exclusive intracity bus service, consisting of 3,421 buses on 724 routes, which provides transportation to 55.2 lakh passengers daily. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates Volvo air-conditioned services from Chennai to nearby cities like Pondicherry, Vellore, Hosur and Trichy.
Chennai outer ring road is 62.3 km long connecting NH 45 (GST Road) at Perungalathur, NH 4 (GWT Road) at Nazarathpet, NH 205 (CTH Road) at Nemilicherry(Thiruninravur), NH 5 (GNT Road) at Nallur and TPP road at Minjur under the process by Chennai Metropolitan Area.
The city is served by two major ports, Chennai Port, one of the largest artificial ports in India, and Ennore Port. The Chennai port is the largest in Bay of Bengal, with an annual cargo tonnage of 6.146 crore (2010–2011), and second largest containerise hub in India, with an annual container volume of 15.23 lakh TEUs (2010–2011). The port handles transportation of automobiles, motorcycles and general industrial cargo. The Ennore Port with an annual cargo tonnage of 1.101 crore (2010–2011) handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk and rock mineral products. Royapuram fishing harbour is used by fishing boats and Kattupalli Shipyard near Ennore Port was inaugurated in January 2013.