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Chennai is a large port city and a gateway to the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Most visitors to Chennai, formerly known as Madras, will arrive either by rail or air. Chennai International Airport a busy international travel hub that connects to major cities across Asia, Europe and America. Chennai Port on the Bay of Bengal was once a major travel post but is now used solely as a container terminal, one of the busiest in the world.

Chennai has many ostentatious holdovers of British colonial architecture, including those in Fort St George, south of Chennai Port. Fine examples of indo-saracenic architecture also abound. This mix of gothic and Indian designs was popular in the late 19th century with British architects. The Ripon Building and the Government Building are two of the most famous and impressive examples of this.

Visitor to Chennai can immerse themselves in many different aspects of Tamil culture.Kollywood, Tamil's answer to Bollywood is headquartered in Chennai and upwards of 150 films are made here every year. Tamil dance, music and art are also celebrated with concerts and festivals year-round, many of which take place in Chennai's beautiful Hindu temples for the complete cultural experience.

Chennai is one of the best places to indulge in southern Indian food. Vegetarian curries, lentils and rice dominate cuisine, while banana leaf platters offer an Indian-style tasting menu for minimal outlay. Coffee lovers must also try the local brew. The sweet, milky 'Filter Coffee' is flavored with chicory and famed throughout India.

One of city's most popular attractions with both tourists and locals is Marina Beach. A 12kilometer stretch of sand along the Bay of Bengal, swimming is banned here but food stalls, monuments and lookouts make it a popular place of convergence especially in the evenings.


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