The very name Chennai evokes an emotion like no other city does… and it will not be an exaggeration to say there’s no ‘religion’ related to a city as much as Chennai is! This darling-city of the masses celebrates its birthday today, and is 377 years young-as-ever!
After going through an unrecognized past as Chennapatnam and Madrasapattinam, and receiving a scintillating attention during the Colonial Era, Chennai today stands as a capital with a culture and a Metro with moments to be treasured.
Be it having been the only city to face the Central Powers in the First World War in the history, or be it the only city to have seen (well… the ending apart) a protest in complete peace for civics, and be it the only city to battle a great flood with its own people being so committed to awesomeness, Chennai is surely a class apart!
We all know how Chennai stands tall in various aspects:
All these apart, there are a few things that set Chennai apart:
Well… the header is kinda literal, considering that Sowcarpet lies in the North end of Mount Road. This road that connected the bustle of the Parry’s Corner and the Port to the barracks of Asarkhana is an integral part of Chennai’s navigation. This road – a very rare feature considering the colonial past – is a pride of Chennai, dotted with landmarks, malls and so many that are very Chennai!
Little would we have imagined that a quaint settlement of the East India Company would have connections with people of completely different roots! The Armenians came and settled in Chennai as early as the 1600s, and they began to flourish and blend with the locals. We all know the company ‘Binny’, but it’s also to be observed that Binny’s international headquarters was in the Armenian Street! The church in the Armenian Street is a must-visit that most people fail to see.
Chennai is the second oldest corporation after London, and it also shares another privilege. Just like London has the Thames, Chennai’s blessed with the Adyar and Coovum. These rivers, before they were damaged by reckless management, served as channels of transportation & water-runoff! Let’s hope that one day, these rivers will get revived to the days of their past glory!
The dilapidated ruins of buildings beside the Chennai Central’s suburban terminus hold a legacy like no other. When a lot of cities hadn’t even evolved to being ‘cities,’ Chennai had its own Shopping Mall, and we’re talking about 117 years ago, in 1900. This place, primarily built for the hawkers of Broadway, grew along with the bustle of the surroundings. The market lost its legacy to a fire in the 1980s, making way for another landmark to expand – the Madras Central. To this day, Moore Market is a great place to buy antiques, books, pets and… wait for it… vinyl gramophone records!
We could go on and on about the little things that make the city awesome – the 0 Km milestone, the Theosophical Society’s Global Headquarters, the portraits of the slaying Jesus’s disciples at the Basilica in St. Thomas’s Mount, and many more.
Every street in the old settlements of Chennai has a story to tell… and the new settlements, even older stories of the sages & kings! As and when the stories unfold, they will only rekindle the spirit of Chennai to burn brighter and bigger!