Chennai is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on theCoromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is a major commercial, cultural, economic and educational center in South India. It is also known as the "Cultural Capital of South India".
The area around Chennai had been part of successive South Indian kingdoms through centuries. The recorded history of the city began in the colonial times, specifically with the arrival of British East India Company and the establishment of Fort St. George in 1644. The British defended several attacks from the French colonial forces, and from the kingdom of Mysore, on Chennai's way to become a major naval port and presidency city by late eighteenth century. Following the independence of India, Chennai became the capital of Tamil Nadu and an important centre of regional politics that tended to bank on the Dravidian identity of the populace.
and its suburbs, was home to approximately 8.9 million, making it the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the country and 31st largest urban area in the world. Chennai's economy 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 based in and around the city thus earning it the nickname "Detroit of India". Chennai is an important centre for Carnatic music and hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a diverse theatre scene and is one of the important centres for Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry—colloquially known as Kollywood—is based in the city.
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. In 2007, Chennai was the third most visited city in India by foreigners ranked after Delhi and Mumbai, with about 650,000 foreign tourists visiting the city. In 2009, Chennai attracted the highest number of foreign tourists in the country. 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. Top foreign nationals visiting the city includes those from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore, followed by the United Kingdom, France and the United States. In 2010, the figure of foreign tourist arrival increased by 40 percent in the first half of the year. About 830,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011.
As of 2012, the city has 17 luxury hotels in the five-star and five-star deluxe categories with an inventory of 2,595 rooms, while five more with 1,550 rooms are under construction.
Zoo, beaches, and wildlife parks form the primary recreation areas of the city. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park, one of the largest zoological parks in the world, attracts nearly 2 million 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 houses several theme parks, namely MGM Dizzee World, VGP Golden beach and Queens Land. The safety of several amusement parks has been questioned after several fatal accidents occurred.
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 rowing club in India.
Chennai is home to several malls, due to its status as an IT hub.
Chennai houses quite a few big malls namely EA (one of the biggest in India), Citi Centre, and Spencer's Plaza. Chennai houses a lot of cinema screens in the form of multiplexes. Few of the famous multiplexes are Sathyam Cinemas, Escape, Devi and Abirami complex. Tamil, English, Hindi, and Telugu movies are released and have large number of fan following. With the increase in malls, the multiplexes have also doubled recently. Chennai encourages its Theatre artist's equally. The city is under a thick of activity across the year with a number of plays staged in Tamil and English, as well as with Koothu Patrai, a form of street play in unison with songs and dance.
Chennai retail industry is concentrated chiefly in T. Nagar. 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.