Chennai (earlier known as Madras), the capital city of the state of Tamilnadu in the southern part of India. The city, known as the “Gateway to South India”, has a strategic location with airport and sea ports.
Chennai is a major health care destination in India and attracts a lot of foreign medical travellers. Cost is a major reason for this as the treatment rates are typically 20-25% lesser than Delhi or Mumbai. Proximity and cultural affinity is also is a factor for people coming in from South east Asian countries.
Some of the best hospitals in Chennai are
History of Chennai
While the region has a very long history, the city was as an English settlement known as Fort St.George. Ancient rulers of the region had strong ties and influences all around South East Asia. One can even now see the influence of this region in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand etc.
The city was a witness to conflicts between the Dutch, English and the French during the 16th and 17th centuries. The English finally established control over the city in the middle of the 17th century. Madras presidency, a territorry covering most of South India under British rule, had its head quarters in Madras.
Now, Chennai has one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country with a population of around 8 million. The city is a major manufacturing hub in the country especially for the automobile industry.
Things to do in Chennai
Chennai has a strong cultural history and is home to many renowned musicians. The Margazhi Festival of Dance and Music in Chennai is one of the largest cultural events in the world. The event also known as Madras Musical Season occurs every year in the month of December. The event will have over 5,000 concerts, expositions and deeply intellectual, knowledge-based discourses and debates.
The city is famous for its beaches, temples and historical centers. Some of the main places to visit are the Kapaleeshwar Temple, Marina Beach, Fort St. George. Mahabalipuram, around 60 Kms from the city, is a UNESCO heritage site.
Living in Chennai
Tamil is the local language, however English is also spoken and understood widely. Chennai International airport, opened in year 1910, is the fourth busiest airport in India. The airport now has many airlines operating non stop filghts to more than 45 destinations.
There are a good range of hotels available suiting all type of budget and requirements. The cost ranges from 15 USD for a 2 star hotel room to 250 USD for premium 5 star hotels.
Chennai is a vegetarian foodie’s delight with plenty of choices including the traditional Idli Sambar and Dosas. There is also the popular Chettinad cuisine serving variety of non-vegetarian dishes. The city thus ranks among the major global food destinations.
Chennai thus ranks amongst one of the most visited cities in India by foreign tourists.