Chennai turns 375: Things you should know about 'Gateway to South India'

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Chennai
From one of the early settlements of the British East India Company in the 17th century, Chennai has grown into a vibrant metropolis as it celebrates its 375th birthday on Friday. Here are a few facts you should know about Chennai:

• Madras (now Chennai) was believed to have been founded on August 22, 1639. On August 22, 1639 British administrator Francis Day struck a deal with the local Nayak rulers to acquire a stretch of no-man's land where the Fort St George, the seat of power of the Tamil Nadu Government, stands today. This piece of land developed into what is known as Chennai (then Madras) today.

• Chennai is also known as the ‘Gateway to South India'.

• Madras was rechristened Chennai by the DMK Government in 1996.

• Before Chennai , it was known as Madras which is believed to be originated from Madrasapattinam, a fishing village located north of the St George Fort.

• The Tidel Park of the capital city is the largest IT Park in Asia; it also houses the head offices of leading software companies.

• In 1924, CV Krishnaswami Chetty founded the first radio broadcasting service in India which began in Chennai with the Presidency Radio Club.

• With the foundation of the Madras Cricket Club, cricket was started in Chennai and became very famous. The M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk (Chennai) was set up in 1916 and is among the oldest stadiums of India.

• Chennai is also known as the Detroit of India because of its automobile industry. It produces more than 40% of the auto parts and motor vehicles in India.

• Higginbothams library is India's oldest and well-known bookstore. Higginbothams has a chain of 22 outlets spread across the South India in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

• The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CBMT) at Koyambedu is the leading bus terminal in Asia.

• Buckingham Canal, first of its kind in India, was built in 1806 as a saltwater navigation canal by the British in Madras (now Chennai). At present, it lies in a sad state and has been reduced to a sewage drain.

• The Cancer Institute established in 1920 is one of the oldest cancer hospitals in India.

• The Anna Centenary Library in the capital city of Tamil Nadu is the largest library in Asia. It is built at a cost of 172 crores and is named after a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, C N Annadurai.

• The University of Madras is one of the oldest universities in India and was incorporated in 1857 by an act of the Legislative Council of India.

• This city is renowned for Bharatnatyam, the famous and one of the oldest classical dance forms in India, which originated in Tamil Nadu.

• Madras club or Adyar Club is the second-oldest surviving club which was founded in 1832 after Calcutta's Bengal club

• The Vandalur Zoo also known as Arignar Anna Zoological Park (abbreviated AAZP) in Chennai is the largest zoo in the country. It was set up in 1855 and was the first public zoo in India.

• Chennai is the second leading exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services in India.

• With more than 400 heritage buildings in the city, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed the Heritage Commission Act in 2012 Nadu to preserve old buildings and cultural heritage from becoming the thing of the past.

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