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Fort St George

It may be hard to believe, but Fort St George was the first piece of real estate owned by the British in India.

It houses the tallest flagstaff (150 Ft) in India. It is a veritable museum of memorabilia of early Madras. It underwent many alterations and today it is the sea of the State government of Tamil Nadu .It also houses the St Mary´s Church which is the oldest church in India. North of the Fort is the Fort Museum, having an astonishing collection of prints, paintings, pictures, weapons and armory form the olden days. The gallery has some old Louis XIV furniture and some antique clocks.

The War memorial is situated south of the Fort. It is a very graceful monument constructed in 1939 in memory of those who had died in the First world War,  The building was constructed in typical English architecture of the 17th and 18th century. The Area immediately to the south of Fort St George is the Island, the banqueting hall of the British built to commemorate the victory over Tippu Sultan.It is now known as Rajaji Hall. It is designed in the Greek Temple style and has a high flight of steps which takes you to the main hall.

Marina Beach

The area of Trilpicane and Chepauk has many 19th century buildings facing the Marina Beach. This is a fine sandy beach stretching about 13 kms It is second longest beach in the world .If you take a walk along the beach, you will find some very old beautiful buildings. The Madras University building built in 1857 in the Indo-Saracenic style, houses the Madras University, one of India´s oldest and best university .Near it is the Presidency College, a building in a blend of Italianate and Saracenic style. The Senate House, completed in 1879, founded by R F Chisholm, one of 19th century´s greatest architects, has a elaborately carved ceiling and stained glass windows. This is one of Chennai´s most impressive architectural marvels. This is again the Indo-Saracenic style .The central hall is supported by six massive pillars .The stone arches between the pillars with the four towers, soaring into the sky at the four corners of the building, surmounted by exquisitely shaped domes painted n different colours gives the building such a awe inspiring grandeur.

The Chepauk Palace on the Beach Road erected by the Nawab of Carnatic now houses the office of the PWD. It is one of the city´s early Mogul structures, whose Mogul style exterior still exudes Nawabi splendour. Near it is the Vivekananda House, also called the Ice House, constructed in 1842. It was used to store ice. In 1897 Swami Vivekananda stayed in this building and hence it is now called Viekananda House. The State Police Head Quarters is also situated on the Marina. It is a long, white graceful building constructed in 1839. There are also two memorials on the beach which attract lots of tourists. The Anna and MGR Memorials which are tributes paid to two very charismatic former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu. One of the striking features of the Marina is the statues along the beach. The best know are those of Mahatma Gandhi, Kannagi and the Labour Statue. The dreadful Tsunami of Dec 2004 struck Marina and more than 3000 people lost their lives. Another popular beach where the young hang out is the Elliots Beach at Besant Nagar. It it is not advisable to go swimming in the sea near Chennai. The currents are very unpredictable and there have been many cases of drowning.

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