In 2010 Chennai attracted it’s highest ever number of foreign tourists, both on its own merits and as the Gateway to the South, as visitors heading out in search of rolling grasslands, dense sholas, breath-taking waterfalls, picturesque tea plantations, spectacular mountains, fabulous trekking trails, ancient temples and heritage sites.
Chennai is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, and is the commercial, cultural, economic and educational capital of Southern India.
The city and its environs have been part of successive South Indian kingdoms through the centuries, with the recorded history of the modern city dating back to colonial times. Following the independence of India, Chennai became the capital of Tamil Nadu and an important centre of regional politics that tended to bank on the Dravidian identity of the populace.
According to the last official census, the city had 4.68 million residents making it the sixth most populous city in India, and the 31st largest urban area in the world. The blooming automobile industry earning the city the nickname “the Detroit of India”.
Chennai is also an important centre for Carnatic music and hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists, and a diverse theatrical tradition. Notably it is the home of Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form, and the Tamil film industry, affectionately known as Kollywood.