1 45 - Front W W Chennai is a palimpsest. A city of many layers, it records stories, told and retold. Each layer and every era, building on the older story and writing new ones. re are trails within trails within Chennai. Passages, traces marked by the people and the events that shaped the city. Traces that are waiting to be discovered, trails waiting to be walked and explored. We hope you will explore and retell these stories, and write new ones of your own. And to help you, guide you in finding these traces, is this section. Culture and art, dance and drama, music and literature, politics and cinema, we will help you find the best that Chennai has to offer. You can walk or drive these trails, or better yet, hop on to the local autos, and experience Chennai as she lives and breathes. If you would like us to make any special bookings or arrangements, please do ask. We re here to make it happen.
2 47 - Front Chennai That the city is where the old and the new walk hand in hand is an old cliché. Although founded as a city in 1639, the people and the places, the culture and a way of life, are as ancient as time. Henry Davidson Love, an engineer of the British Government in Madras, and a fellow of the Madras University, published a series of books in 1913 titled Vestiges of Old Madras. Old Madras was old in 1730, 1857 and A 100 years after, we still refer to Old Madras, and we will continue to do it, a further 100 years later. But, pause a while. Take a closer look. Every generation that referred to Old Madras built its New Madras. temples of the Pallavas gave way to the churches of the Portuguese, the houses and gardens of the Nawabs became the universities and forts and offices of the British, and we continue to use them today. While building newer offices, newer forts and newer universities. folksy, salt-of-the-earth songs and rhymes of the people were codified into Carnatic music in the 1500s, expanded upon and institutionalised in the 1600s, and (with generous helpings of Western classical modes) became the All India Music Congress in the 1920s. Today, the December Kutcheri Season as it is called, is one of the largest cultural events in the world. Every event and era, is here for you to discover. So come along, explore Chennai and unlock generations of stories.
3 49 - Front Architecture Tiruvotriyur Thyagaraja Swami temple Granite and wood, brick and mortar, cement, glass and steel and aluminium. For thousands of years, Chennai has welcomed every new material and technology, every architectural style. Take for instance, the 1200 year old Pallava temples of Tiruvotriyur and Triplicane. Classic Dravidian architecture, solid granite structures that even today sustain a tradition as old as time. Southern Railway Headquarters Tiruvallikeni Parthasarathy Temple Mylapore Kapaleeswarar Temple Or, come along to Fort St. George home of the St. Mary s Church the oldest Anglican church in the country. church and its yard could fit right into home anywhere on the English landscape, and yet it is an integral part of Chennai. Indo Saracenic style was pioneered in this city. Long corridors with fluted columns, intricately-patterned, large domes, tall-wide doorways. British architects in Chennai fused south-indian temple design aesthetics, with Turkish and Arabian style to build these lasting monuments to the Raj. Ripon Buildings This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges'. High Court of Madras Santhome Basilica Central Station Most monuments date to the 6th century AD, the reign of Narasimhavarman I Mamalla, while the famous architectural beauty - Shore temple - belongs to a period when the constructional style of the Pallavas was at its peak, towards the late 8th century AD. Madras University & Presidency College Egmore Railway Station Simpsons Building Hindu/ Kasturi Buildings Dare House
4 51 - Front Chennai loves movies. Of about 1200 films produced in India in a calendar year, a major share of it are films produced in the Tamil language, or shot in the city. This story begins in 1897, in the Neo Gothic splendour that is the Victoria Public House. A silent film screening, a vaudeville show and a play. This set the formula for the sensory Cinema experience that tamil cinema is. Music, dances, comedy, tugging the heartstrings. Everything to evoke a reaction from you, everything to make those two-three hours worth your while. atres and studios, producers, actors, stars and hopefuls; to people who make and consume films in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam and Kannada, Chennai is vital. Early experiments in film were made in Chennai, while it was called Madras. studio system was birthed here, and flourished well into the 90s, and gave tamil cinema its identity. AVM Studios, Vadapalani. Prasad Studios Vijaya Studios Meanwhile, the earliest film theatres and cinema houses were experimenting with simultaneous sound and picture projection, in Chennai. Gaiety. Casino. Lyric. Elphinstone. Wellington each name lives on long after the physical cinema house has gone. Majestic (Now an apartment complex) Shyamala Studios (now a shopping mall) In the move towards independent film production and corporatisation, the big studios have slowly transformed, and are now hospitals, or apartments or shopping malls. But the vestiges of the film world still live on in these transformed spaces, and with a little luck, you could spot them and retell that story. Gemini Studios (Now a hotel and apartment complex) Citadel (Now part of the Don Bosco convent) Napier Bridge Satyam Shanti Koyambedu Market Devi Escape Pilot Central Station Udhayam Melody Casino S2 Inox
5 53 - Front Music TTK Music Academy Museum atre In the 1920s, as the call for Home Rule, for Swaraj was taking hold in India, the Indian National Congress met at its founding home Madras. And decided to form the Indian Music Conference. Thus was born the Music Academy, and for 90 years, the Madras Music Season, also known as December Season or Kutcheri Season, has grown to be the largest music and cultural event in the world. YMCA Buck s atre Vani Mahal Nageswara Rao Park (concert in the park) Free Carnatic concerts, over a 100 concert venues, thousands of musicians and fans from all around the world come to Chennai in December to bring alive the city and its culture. And that s just Carnatic. Chennai is also known for its Jazz and Blues scene at a few independent clubs and bars, while Pop & Film music is heard everywhere. Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Hall UnWind Centre Govt Music and Performing Arts College Kalakshetra
6 55 - Front Music M. S. SUBBULAKSHMI: Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi, also known as M.S., was a renowned Carnatic vocalist, and the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. She is also the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia's Nobel Prize. MS gave her first public performance, at the age of eleven, in a career that spanned 70 years and many stages. M. BALAMURALIKRISHNA: Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna is an Indian Carnatic vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer and actor. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honour, for his contribution towards Indian Art. He was made Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in VIKKU VINAYAKRAM: takudi Harihara Vinayakram, also known as Vikku Vinayakram is a Grammy Award winning Indian percussionist. He plays Carnatic music with the ghatam, and is credited with popularizing the instrument. Vinayakram's tryst with the international music platform came in the early 1970s when he joined Shakti to play along with John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain. A. R. RAHMAN: A.R. Rahman, nicknamed "the Mozart of Madras", is a music producer and composer. Described as the world's most prolific film composer, Rahman's works are noted for integrating Eastern classical music with electronic music, world music and traditional orchestral arrangements. He has won two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards and a host of other awards. SIVAMANI: Anandan Sivamani (born 1 December 1959), popularly known as Sivamani, is a percussionist based in India. He plays many instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, and kanjira. Sivamani's earliest experiments with music were with Carnatic maestros. tabla player Zakir Hussain invited him to share the stage with himself and Trilok Gurtu at a fusion concert in Mumbai.
7 57 - Front Food Ratna Cafe, Triplicane Sambhar is a Maratha recipe, coming to Chennai via the Tanjavur Maratha rulers. Idli has Kerala, Vietnamese and Indonesian influences. Which is simply saying that Chennai, by being an Idli-Sambhar city, is actually more cosmopolitan than most people think it to be. Karapagambal Mess, Mylapore Buhari Restaurant Rayar s Cafe, Mylapore Udupi Welcome, Purasawalkam This is true of the city s food options. GRT Grand has Mediterranean, Pan Indian and Global cuisine, while other restaurants across the city specialise in South Indian, Keralite, Gujarati, Arabian, Western European and Global cuisines. Street food options go from Pav Bhajis and Pani Puris to Omelettes and Sandwiches. Bistros and cafes abound. Speciality teas, single-origin coffees, gourmet burgers, kebabs and doners, crepes and fritters, Tex-Mex, Spanish, British, Malaysian restaurants vie with one other for the chance to treat you, to excite you with all the flavours and textures in the world. Sangeetha Vasantha Bhavan Saravana Bhavan Flower Bazaar Arya Bhavan Adayar Ananda Bhavan Amethyst Lloyd s Tea House L Amandier Chamiers/Anokhi That Madras Place
8 59 - Front Pondy Bazaar Mylapore Tank & Mylapore s Thanni Thurai Market. Retail If Purasawalkam Flower Bazaar & George Town you haven t noticed already, just look out of your room. Chennai is retail heaven, shopping mecca, the ground-zero for bargains and the best place to get what you want. Chennai, or Madras, was founded on trade. European and Arabian traders believed that this land was where you got the best merchandise, and the best bargains. 400 years on, this is still true. Jewellery. Apparel. Silks. Leather. Chennai s stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets sell them all. And more. Take, for instance, GRT Jewellery. Our parent group has a 50 year tradition of providing the most auspicious gold and diamond jewellery, with happy customers across the world. GRT Jewellers are also renowned for exquisite temple jewellery, adding lustre and beauty to many deities. Vadaplani/ Kodambakkam Koyembedu Market Complex RMKV Madhar Sha Rangachari Cloth Store Citi Center Walk down Pondy Bazaar short for Soundarapandian Bazaar and you ll be sure to Pothys find bargains enough to delight you everyday. Pause, for a second, to consider the history of Pondy Bazaar. Till the early 1900s, this was a large water body called the Long Tank. But Chennai s old merchant quarters near Fort St. George were getting crowded and the Corporation helped plan and build the township of T. Nagar, moving the merchants here. Express Avenue GRT Jewellers Meanwhile, the old high street of British Madras Mount Road saw swanky malls and development. Truly, Chennai was made for shopping. Sundari Silks Nalli Silks Spencer s Plaza Phoenix Market City Forum Vijaya Mall
9 61 - Front Philosophy osophical Gardens, Besant Nagar Chennai asks questions. Reality. Existence. Reason. Language. city s minds have dwelled deep into each of these topics and more, often resulting in answers that change established norms, challenge perceptions. Krishnamurthi Foundation, Greenways Road Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott establish the osophical Society of Adyar. Since then, the society has been at the forefront of the city s philosophical pursuits, and played a major rule in the country s freedom struggle. It was from the gardens that housed the path-breaking movement that Annie Besant launched the Home Rule League, calling for India s self-determination. Ramakrishna Mission, Kutcheri Road It s 1897, and Swami Vivekanada returns to India after introducing India and her beliefs to western audiences. In Madras, the great man asked his friend, Swami Ramakrishnananda to lay foundation for the Ramakrishna Mutt. Initially based out of the Ice House where Vivekananda stayed during his sojourn in Madras, the mutt later shifted to a permanent mansion in Mylapore. Ice House/ Vivekanada House, Beach Back in the osophical Society, Jiddu Krishamurti, a leading light of the society, dubbed by many the Maitreya Buddha, was codifying his own interpretations of philosophy. Jiddu later broke away to form his own Krishnamurti Foundation, in an attempt to bring radical change into society. In a state ravaged by caste atrocities, E.V.Ramasamy sparked a revolution in the Madras Presidency with his Self-Respect Movement. Periyar, as he came to be famously known, sought to achieve a society fair for all. Almost all of the state s modern day political parties owe their origins to Periyar and his movement. It was the Dravidian movement which abolished caste markers in Tamil names, fuelled the city s and the state s race to education and industrialisation.
10 63 - Front Literature Connemara Library, Egmore A body of literature that is at least 3000 years old, Tamil language has one of the longest, unbroken literary record in the world. Little wonder then, that Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu has a particular thing for writers, thinkers and poets. U.V Swaminathan Research Library, Adayar osophical Society Library, Besant Nagar Madras Archives, Egmore From Sangam s Neythal poets to the Bhakti movements Alwars and Nayanmars, to the independence struggle s nationalist poets, writers and poets have called Chennai home. Thiruvalluvar, according to most accounts, was born in Chennai, in Mylapore couplets or Kurals he wrote shaped the imagination of Tamils for more than a millennia, and continues to do so. U.V Swaminatha Iyer, meanwhile, set out on a quest to find Tamil s classic literature and did. Secular, class-free and inordinately beautiful, the Sangam Poems became the new canon of Tamil Literature and Poetry, delighting native speakers and newcomers with its lyrics and its structure. Mylapore, Sanskrit College/ Tiruvalluvar state Triplicane Bharathiyar Home Higginbothams Purasawalkam Velalar Street: Home of R.K Narayan Not far away geographically from Tiruvalluvar, but a world away in terms of milieu and events, Subramania Bharati s fiery words sought justice, liberated ideas and inspired a nation to fight for its rights. Prolific writers of fiction and historicals, Mahadevan, Kalki Krishnamurti, Sujata Rangarajan, Sivasankari, R.K Narayanan and more have made Chennai the focal point of the literary movement in the state, and to a large extent, of India.