The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre since the 1st century. Stone age implements were found in a pit near Pallavaram in Chennai. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, Pallavaram was a megalithic cultural establishment.Victoria Public Hall, an example of a colonial building in Chennai
The area was ruled by various South Indian rulers – the Pallava, the Chera, the Chola, the Pandya, and the Vijaynagar.The Portuguese 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 AD. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, just north of the city.
On 22 August 1639, Francis Day of the British East India Company bought a small strip of land on the Coromandel Coast. The region was ruled by Chennapa Nayak, the Nayaka of Vandavasi.He granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. A year later, the British built Fort St George, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city. Fort St. George housed the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the new Secretariat building was opened in 2010. 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 fortified the town’s fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and another looming threat, Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. British forces reisted a French siege attempt in 1759. In 1769 the city was threatened by Mysore before the Treaty of Madras ended the war. By the late 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. Under British rule, the city grew into a major urban centre and naval base.
With the advent of railways in India in the late 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.
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, renamed the state of Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the imposition of Hindi as the national language, marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and the whole state.
On 26 December 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing many and permanently altering the coastline.
DAY 01: Chennai
Today you arrive at Chennai, once a fishing village it is now a sprawling metropolis and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Upon arrival you are met with our local representatives and are transferred via air conditioned car to the hotel. Check into the hotel and rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 02: Chennai
In the morning after breakfast you are taken for tour of Chennai that includes St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica, Kapaleshwara Temple and the market. In the evening spend time on the Marina beach, the second largest beach in the world.
Day 03: Chennai – Mahabalipuram
After breakfast, drive to Mahabalipuram (approx 57 Kms / 1-2 hrs) enroute visit Kanchipuram-the ancient capital of the Pallava’s, famous as the city of 1000 Temples. Visit Shiva temple. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks. In the afternoon drive to Mahabalipuram. Breathtakingly real and artistic impressions of beauty and harmony, Mahabalipuram attracts tourists, due to its monumental splendour and sunny beaches. The visit is a spiritual refresher, with many artistic and period style temple displays representing various dynasties. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Later visit to the famous seven pagodas.