No untoward incident was reported as polling began at ten corporations including Chennai besides many other local bodies at 7 AM.
Arch-rivals AIADMK and DMK are locked in a battle in the polls while actor-politician Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and Left parties, AIADMK's allies in the April 13 assembly polls, have joined hands.
A total of around 80,000 police personnel have been posted for security with more than 10,000 engaged in Chennai.
In Chennai, DMK candidate and Mayor M Subramanian and AIADMK's S Duraisamy, who lost to DMK's MK Stalin in the April 13 Assembly elections, among others, are the important candidates.
Congress, DMK's ally, and PMK, another partner, will be going it alone in the elections for over 1.30 lakh civic posts in which more than four lakh candidates are in the fray.
The second and final phase is scheduled on October 19.
In the 2006 local body polls marred by allegations of violence and irregularities, DMK managed to win Chennai corporation among others. But the ruling AIADMK is keen to wrest control, seeking to repeat its assembly polls performance.