CHENNAI celebrated her 375th birthday last week. The celebrations ought to have been nationwide, highlighting all the wonderful dimensions of Chennai and her residents. Chennai rocks. Chennai has a heart. Chennai has culture, Chennai has a mind-blowing history. Chennai is cosmopolitan, Chennai has great food, a superb coastline, iconic historic buildings, space for thousands of techies —– Chennai has FILTER COFFEE.
On the Marina, there is a circular building known as the ICE HOUSE. Chennai, then Madras, imported ICE by sea all the way from the US, as far back as 1845, and stored it in the ICE HOUSE, where the ice remained, without melting, for months. The building still remains, but it does not store ice any longer. The building has been re-named VIVEKANANDAR ILLAM. Chennai is 50yrs older than Mumbai, and 35yrs older than Kolkata.
Chennai far pre-dated the British settlement at Fort St. George. The Kapaleeswarar Temple was built by the Tuluva Dynasty, between 1491-1570. The Santhome Basilica, was built in the 16th century. The Luz Church, the Armenian Church, in perfect harmony with Tidel Park proudly believed to be the largest park in Asia. Higginbothams, India’s oldest bookstore, Kalakshetra, the oldest dance school in India, the Theosophical Society all exist in Chennai.
One of India’s oldest Universities, is the Madras University —– established in 1857, India’s 1st newspaper began in Madras, India’s 1st bank —- Madras Bank was established in 1682. The Chennai Corporation is the second oldest civic body in the world, coming only after the London Corporation and the 6km long coastline, the Marina, the 2nd widest beach in the world.
The FILTER COFFEE is unparalleled. Cinema was patriotic, and that’s why the 1st film star Chief Minister was from Tamil Nadu. The city boasts of Nobel Laureates, chess grandmasters, music legends. VIVA CHENNAI.
—-Jayanthi Natarajan, Public Affairs.