Chennai-Chennai Railway Station

Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare industries. The city is India's second largest exporter of information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) services. A major chunk of India's automobile manufacturing industry is based in and around the city and hence it is called the Detroit of India. Chennai is an important centre for Carnatic music and hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a vibrant theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry is based in Chennai.

Chennai is divided into four broad regions: North, Central, South and West. North Chennai is primarily an industrial area. Central Chennai is the commercial heart of the city and includes an important business district, Parry's Corner. South Chennai and West Chennai, previously mostly residential, are fast becoming commercial, home to a growing number of IT firms, financial companies and call centres. Chennai can also boast of Marina Beach, one of the longest beaches in the world.

History of Chennai
Chennai formerly known as Madras, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is India's fourth largest city. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.60 million (2006), the 400-year-old city is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the world.

Chennai boasts of a long history from the English East India Company, through the British Raj to its evolution in the late 20th century as a services and manufacturing hub for India. Additionally, the pre-city area of Chennai has a long history within the records of South Indian Empires.

The famous historical facts actually serve the history of Madras, the modern city. The events of southern India, colonialism and the immense growth of Chennai during the 20th century reveal the history of the city. Though world's 36th largest metropolis existed in the Indian map from times immemorial but the official birth of the metropolis is counted from the time when two merchants named Andrew Cogan and Francis Day from the East India Company established a factory-cum-trading post in 1639. Chennai originally was a collection of villages, suspended in between paddy fields and enclosed by palm trees. Almost every south Indian dynasty like the Pallavas, the Pandyas, the Cholas and the Vijaynagar dynasty reigned over the city. A settlement was established so as to serve the control center which was concluded on St George`s Day on 23 Apr., 1640 and was named St. George`s Fort. The native town, officially recognized as the George Town, consisted of numerous populated lanes, each dealt in unique trade and served the British residents.

During Indian Independence in 1947, Chennai was declared to be the capital of Tamil Nadu. The city of Madras was renamed as Chennai by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1997. However, the thorough history of Chennai highlights the colonial rule to be responsible for the commercial expansion of the city. Even till date, the apex point of the State Government is housed in the St. George Fort while most of the significant business headquarters are operating from George Town.

The British rule has got a significant contribution in the history of Chennai since, during their rule, the city observed some prominent changes like improved naval base, introduction of railways which well-connected Chennai with other major Indian cities like Kolkata, Mumbai etc. in the later part of the 19th century. The simplified accessibility of the city donated to the advancement of trade and communication thus, linking it with the neighborhood. One of the most important events included in the history of Chennai is that this was the one and only Indian city which was hit in the World War.

The long history of Chennai starts from ancient South Indian empires through colonialism to its advancement in the 20th century as a services and manufacturing hub. The name Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, which was the location chosen by the British East India Company for an everlasting settlement in 1639. The region was often called by different names as madrapupatnam, madras kuppam, madraspatnam, and madirazpatnam by the locals. The first Grant of Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu makes the first mention of the village of Madraspatnam. In all records of the times, a difference is made between the original village of Madraspatnam and the growing town round the Fort. Thus it is probable that the village of Madraspatnam existed under that name, before the advancement of the English during the 1639-40. The intervening space between the northern Madraspatnam and the Southern Chennapatnam village came to be built over rapidly so that the two villages became almost one town. However, the alteration of the name from Madras to Chennai is quiet a recent event in August 1996.

The Geographic
Chennai, sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to South India", is located on the south-eastern coast of India in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average elevation is around 6.7 metres (22 ft), and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft). Two rivers meander through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, flows through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the sea at Ennore. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources. The state government periodically removes silt and pollution from the Adyar river, which is less polluted than the Cooum. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals. According to an ACNielsen survey, Chennai is regarded as the second cleanest city in India. The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (2.5 mi) inland, runs parallel to the coast, linking the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east-west stream, runs through north Chennai and meets the Buckingham Canal at Basin Bridge. Several lakes of varying size are located on the western fringes of the city. Some areas of the city have the problem of excess iron in groundwater.

A part of the Adyar river forms a tidal creek before joining the sea

Chennai's soil is mostly clay, shale and sandstone. Sandy areas are found along the river banks and coasts. Here rainwater runoff percolates quickly through the soil. Clay underlies most of the city. Areas of hard rock include Guindy, Perungudi, Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet.

Chennai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The weather is hot and humid for most of the year. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil, with maximum temperatures around 35-40 °C (95-104 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 15-22 °C (59-72 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 13.8 °C (56.8 °F) and the highest recorded temperature is 45 °C (113 °F) The average annual rainfall is about 140 cm (55 in). The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from mid-October to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. The highest annual rainfall recorded is 257 cm (101 in) in 2005. Prevailing winds in Chennai are usually southwesterly between April and October.

How to Reach:

By Air
OChennai serves as a major gateway to southern India, and the Chennai International Airport, comprising the Anna international terminal and the Kamaraj domestic terminal with a total passenger movements of 10.5 million and aircraft movements of 110,000 in 2009-2010, is the third busiest airport in India, and has the second busiest cargo terminus in the country. Chennai handles 316 flights a day, again making it at third spot among Indian Airports. The city is connected to major hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers.

The existing airport is undergoing further modernisation and expansion with an addition of 1069.99 acres, and a new greenfield airport is to be constructed at an estimated cost of 20,000 million in Sriperumbudur on 4,200 acres (17 km2) of land.

The city is served by two major ports, Chennai Port, one of the largest artificial ports, and Ennore Port. The Chennai port is the largest in Bay of Bengal with an annual cargo tonnage of 61.46 million (2010-2011) and is India's second busiest container hub with an annual container volume of 1.523 million TEUs (2010-2011), handling automobiles, motorcycles and general industrial cargo. The Ennore Port with an annual cargo tonnage of 11.01 million (2010-2011) handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk and rock mineral products.

Royapuram fishing harbour is used by fishing boats and trawlers. A mega shipyard project called the Kattupalli Shipyard cum Captive Port Complex is being built by L&T Shipbuilding at Kattupalli village near Ennore and is expected to be operational in 2012.

Chennai is the headquarters of the Southern Railway. The city has two main railway terminals. Chennai Central station, the city's largest, provides access to other major cities as well as many other smaller towns across India. Chennai Egmore is a terminus for trains to destinations primarily within Tamil Nadu; it also handles a few inter-state trains. The Chennai suburban railway network, one of the oldest in the country, consists of four broad gauge sectors terminating at two locations in the city, namely Chennai Central and Chennai Beach. The fourth sector is an elevated Mass Rapid Transit System which links Chennai Beach to Velachery and is interlinked with the remaining rail network. Construction is underway for an underground and elevated Chennai Metro rail.

Chennai is connected with Indian cities by four major National Highways (NH) that originates in the city. They are NH 4 to Mumbai (via Bangalore), NH 5 to Kolkata (via Bhubaneswar), NH 45 to Theni (via Tiruchirapalli) and NH 205 to Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh (via Tirupati). Most of the state highways are linked with the city that run up to Pondicherry and other districts in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states.

As of 2011, The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) located in the city, is among the largest bus station in Asia. It is the main intercity bus station of Chennai, administered by 7 government-owned transport corporations that operate inter-city and inter-state bus services. There are many privately owned bus companies which provide similar transport services. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) provides an exclusive inter-city bus service, consisting of 3,421 buses on 724 routes, that transport an 5.52 million passengers daily.

The other means of transport in the city are; Vans, (Known as Maxi Cabs) and auto rickshaws, on call Metered taxis and tourist taxis. The overall transport infrastructure in Chennai, provides coverage and connectivity within city and its suburbs, where as the growth in transport vehicles has increased traffic congestions, air and sound pollution. The government planned multiple actions to control these issues and constructed grade separators and flyovers at major intersections, Innerring roads (IRR) and Outer ring roads (ORR). The Gemini flyover, built in 1973 crosses over the arterial road, and eases the traffic movements towards Anna Salai and towards Kathipara Flyover. As of 2011, according to the Transport Department, there are 2.58 million two-wheelers, 0.56 million four-wheelers, and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus fleet were 3,421, which is 0.1% of the total vehicular population of the city.


Chennai has a mix of public and private (some of which also receive financial support from the government) schools. The public school system is managed by the Chennai Corporation with an enrollment of 142,387 students in over 330 schools. Tamil and English are the primary media of instruction, though several schools also use Telegu or Urdu. Public schools run by the Chennai Corporation are all affiliated with the Tamil Nadu State Board, while private schools may be affiliated with either of the Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). A few schools are affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, the National Institute of Open Schooling(NIOS) board or the Montessori system. Education in Chennai starts with two years of Kindergarten from age three onward and then follows the Indian 10+2+3 plan, ten years of school, two years of higher secondary education, and three years of undergraduate education.
 English is the medium of instruction in the majority of institutions for higher education. Colleges for science, arts and commerce degrees are typically affiliated with the University of Madras, which has three campuses in the city. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and the Anna University are two well known centers for engineering education in the city.
Our team at National Network of Education (NNE) has collected brief details of the universities in Chennai. For more details about these unique institutes of learning please click below over the name of your choice.

1. Anna University, Chennai
2. Bharath Institute of Higher Education & Research, Chennai
3. Dakshina Bharti Hindi Prachar Sabha, Chennai
4. Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai
5. Dr. M.G.R. Educational and Research Institute, Chennai
6. Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research, Chennai
7. Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai
8. Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai
9. Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai
10. Tamil Nadu Dr. M G R Medical University, Chennai
11. Tamil Nadu Open University
12. Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai
13. The Tamilnadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai
14. University of Madras, Chennai
15. SRM University, Chennai
The Indian Army's Officers Training Academyis also headquarted in the city. The Connemara Public Libraryis one of four National Depository Centres in India that receive a copy of all newspapers and books published in the country. The Anna Centenary Library is the largest library in India.

With its historic landmarks and buildings, long sandy beaches, cultural and art centers and parks, Chennai's tourism offers many interesting locations to visitors. One of the most important tourist attraction of Chennai is actually in the neighbouring town of Mahabalipuram with its ancient temples and rock carvings of the 7th century Pallava kingdom.

Chennai is the third most visited city in India by foreigners ranked after Delhi and Mumbai. About 650,000 tourists from USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore have visited the city in 2007. About 8,30,620 domestic tourists arrived in Chennai in March 2011, in addition to 29,558 tourists who visited Mamallapuram.


Marina Beach:
The famous Marina Beach the pride of Chennai is second longest beach in the world with a stretch of 4.5 kms (2.5 miles) and has a wide sandy foreshore. You can see the statues of heroes from Tamil culture to samadhis of great leaders like Anna and MGR here. Walk along the Marina in the evening to cool off and eat crispy sundal and murukku. An aquarium is also located on the Marina Beach. Watching sunset and sunrise from the beach is a fascinating experience.

Elliot's Beach
Elliot's Beach is spread along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beach for Chennai youth. This beach is comparatively quieter and an ideal place to go sea bathing. It is located near Besant Nagar. At the end of this beach are the Velankanni church and the Ashtalakshmi temple. Good roads, pavements, illuminated sands, makes a visit to this beach a real pleasure.

Covelong Beach
Now a luxury beach resort. This beach has a fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic. It was here that the French General Laboudonnais landed his troops in 1746. Later it was taken by Robert Clive in 1752 and destroyed. The Beach is separated from the mainland by the canal running from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. Taj Group of Hotels runs the Fisherman's Cove Resort with roo .

Tourist Spots
Tourist spots around Chennai will offer you a host of choices. It is advised that you have quality time at hand so that you can take out sufficient time in order to explore the places. Chennai is replete with ancient temple towns such as Tirupati and Mahabalipuram that would entice one and all. Other attractions include the sandy beaches of Covelong and intricate crafts of Kanchipuram. Let us have a look at the places that you visit on your vacation.

This is located at a distance of 55kms, and globally acclaimed for the town Mahabalipuram. The seaside view is unforgettable. If you move ahead 15kms further you would reach Tirukkalikundram, which is a well known pilgrim centre that houses a temple atop the hill dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva.

In addition to Mahabalipuram and Chennai, Kanchipuram too forms the popular Golden Triangle in the Coromandel Coast. The place is world famous for the artistic craftsmanship exhibited by the Kanchi weavers. They are the makers of what popularly known as best variety of silk fabric. The city also ranks as one amongst the seven sacred Indian sites. It is famous for kanchipuram sarees.

This is one place that allows the tourists to experience the intriguing history of Tamil Nadu in totality. Covelong is filled with churches, old forts, lavish beaches and mosques. The Fort in the recent times has been transformed into an opulent beach resort.

An island having a conch shape located at the Gulf of Mannar, Rameswaram is a sacred site for the Hindus. This is situated near to Madurai.

Known as India's "land's end", Kanyakumari offers stunning views of the sunset and sunrise along the horizon. The temples located here are the major points of interest.

This town is highly influenced by the French rule. It is also well known as Sri. Aurobindo once resided here. The various tourist attractions here include the museums and churches.

Crocodile Bank
Being situated close to Romulus Whittaker, Mamallapuram this famous crocodile research and breeding centre attracts one and all. You can spot numerous and various species of African and Indian alligators and crocodiles that are bred in custody

Anna Zoological Park is situated here and is considered to be the biggest in South Asia. You will find over here a rich variety of birds, mammals and reptiles

Pilgrimage in Chennai

Chennai has number of temples, Mosques and Churches for those who have religious bent of mind. Some of these temples and Churches are very old and equally beautiful.


St.Mary's Church:
The first English church built in India in the late 17th century. Highlights of the Church are the altarpiece and a huge painting of 'The Last Supper' done a la Raphael.

St.Thomas Mount:
A place of pilgrimage, St.Thomas Mount is located near Meenambakkam. The paintings of "The Holy Lady and The Child" in the church and "Our Lady of Expectations" are widely believed to have been painted by St.Thomas himself.

St.Andrew's Church:
This Church was completed in 1821 built in classical style. Popularly referred, as 'The Kirk' it is one of the finest specimens of Georgian architecture in Asia. Consecrated in 1821, it is part of the Church of South India and was erected for the Scottish Community in Chennai. The dome is fifty-one and half feet in diameter on the inside supported by sixteen fluted, Corinthian columns. This dome was constructed using the 'Syrian masonry' technique. It is believed to be one of the few in the world to be supported by columns of this height. The mahogany woodwork and the chequered black and white marble floor add to the elegance of this church.

Sri Guru Nanak Sat Sangh Sabha:
Sri Guru Nanak Sat Sangh Sabha at T.Nagar is a place of remarkable serenity and tranquility.

Jain Temple:
Located in T.Nagar. The two-tiered, 70' high temple is built of lime-and- soapstone and marble giving it a dazzling appearance.

Big Mosque:
Built in 1795 of gray granite, this mosque is surely one of the most attractive ones in South. The Wallajah family built it in 1795 in memory of the Nawab. Located at Walajah Road

Thousand Lights Mosque:
Built in mid-1800 in the land donated by Nawab Wallajah, this mosque last rebuilt in 1981, has two 64' tall minarets. The mosque also houses a library, a burial ground and guesthouses. It is called the Thousand Lights Mosque because of the legend that over one thousand lamps had to be used to light up the Assembly Hall that stood at this same spot.This multi-domed mosque, with sayings from the Holy Koran painted on its walls, comes alive during the annual Moharram

Temples of Chennai

Shri Parathasarathy Temple:
Located at Triplicane High Road is Sri Prthasarathy Temple. This Hindu Temple, devoted to Lord Krishna, was built in the 8th Century by Pallava King and has been ornately renovated since. It is one of the oldest surviving temples in Chennai.

Kapaleeswarar Temple:
This Lord Shiva temple is little more that 350 years old, is considered by Hindus to be one of the most sacred sites in Southern Part of India. It displays the architectural elements of gopurams, mandapams and a tank found in the famous temples.

Temples of Mamallapuram

Shore Temple:
This beautiful temple represents final phase of Pallava art.it was originally constructed in 7th century it was later rebuilt by Narsimha Burman 11 .The temple contains shrines for Lord Shiva.Facing east and west the original linga captured the sunrise andsunset. A third shrine is dedicated to the reclining Visnu.The temple is listed in World Heritage Sites.Ganesh Ratha is a rock-cut Dravidian temple resembling a chariot.It is a shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesh.Trimurti Cave Temple honors the Hindu Trinity -Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with a separate section dedicated to each deity.

Temples of Kanchipuram

Vaikunthaperumal Temple:
This important temple was built by the Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavalmalla in the 7th Century. Lord Vishnu is depicted in sitting reclining and standing poses.

Kamakshi Amman Temple:
Famous for ornate gold-plated gopuram, this temple was built by the Chola Kings in the 14th century. Dedicated to the goddess Parvati, it is one of the three holy places of worship in India.

Ekambareswarar Temple:
This ancient temple of Kancheepuram is surrounded by a huge stonewall built in the early 16th Century during the days of the Vijaynagar Empire. Dedicated to Lord Siva, the temple is the epitome of Dravidian temple architecture.

Kailasanatha Temple:
Constructed from sand stone in the 8th century by King Rajasimha and completed by his son, Mahendram, this temple is noted for its intricate and prolific sculptures. Fifty-eight smaller shrines surround the main shrine.

Also known as the Devarajaswamy Temple, this massive structure is noted for its shine tops a rock in the shape of an elephant. The temple has two high towers, one in the east and the other in the west. The 1000 pillared hall has interesting and highly detailed sculptures.

Chennai Foodie

Chennai is noted for its delectable South Indian cuisine, so distinct from North Indian cuisine but equally famous and much sought after everywhere. From the idli, vada, and idiyappam to uppuma and dosa, Chennai provides delicious variety for the taste buds. There are numerous vegetarian restaurants in Chennai serving simple meals where a thali lunch is served on a banana leaf to sumptuous spreads in the big hotels. One can also savour non-vegetarian Chettinad cuisine that is a specialty in Tamil Nadu and will be a delight for those who like hot and spicy non-vegetarian food. This type of food has several variations of fish, mutton, and chicken dishes of which the Chettinad Pepper Chicken is special.

Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, is famous for its filter coffee as most Tamils have a subtle contempt for instant coffee. The making of filter coffee is almost a ritual, for the coffee beans have to be first roasted and then ground. The powder is put into a filter set and boiling hot water is added to prepare the decoction and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. The decoction is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The final drink is poured from one container to another in rapid succession to make the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee.

As Chennai is still a city absorbed in Tamil culture & tradition, the tradition reflects in the food of the Chennaites. Rice being the major staple food of the South Indians, Chennai is no exception. Riceforms an important ingredient of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunch or meals consist of cooked rice served with an array of vegetable dishes, sambar, chutneys, rasam and curd (yogurt). For a non-vegetarian lunch, curries or dishes cooked with mutton, chicken or fish is included. The meals are incomplete without crisp papads or appalam. Breakfast or tiffin includes idly, dosai and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada (deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (a mish mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cummin seed), uppuma (cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry lentils.) There are several variations of the dishes mentioned above which are eaten with coconut chutney, sambar (seasoned lentil broth) and mulaga podi (a powdered mix of several dried lentils eaten with oil).
A typical Tamil meal consists of many spicy and non-spicy dishes.Except Brahmins and a couple of non-Brahmin castes Tamils eat more non-vegetarian. Many of these dishes are typically mixed and eaten with steamed rice, which is the staple food of the region.
Tamil cuisine groups dishes under five slightly overlapping categories. First are the dishes that necessarily are mixed with rice; various Kuzhambu, Sambhar, Paruppu, Rasam, Thayir, Kadaiyals and the likes belong to this category. The second are the side dishes that accompany such mixtures; Kootu, Kari, Poriyal,Pickles, Papads fall into this category. Third are the short snacks and their accompaniments; vadai, bonda, bajji, soups, various chutneys, thayir pachadi and the likes belong to this category. The fourth category is usually the rich, sweet dishes that serve as desserts;Payasam, Kheer, Kesari and a plethora of Indian sweets belong to this category. The fifth category includes "tiffin", or light meals. This include various types of idlis, various types of dosai, poori, types of pongal, types of uppma, idiyappam, aappam, adai, parotta, paniyaram etc.. Preparations from the fifth category are served for breakfast and dinner, usually not as midday meal. Tamil cuisine mainly offers light breakfast, lighter dinner, a heavy midday meal and evening snacks, often served with tea or coffee. Third to follow will be the Rasam again, mixed with rice, one usually eats this accompanied by crisps. The last of the courses will invariably be rice with curd or yoghurt; this is usually taken along with pickles. Throughout the meal, the side dishes are served and eaten with the courses, depending upon one's taste or choice; side dishes are constantly replenished during any meal. As a last course, the desserts are served. Finally guests retire to the living room and conclude the meal with banana and freshly made paan consisting of betel leaves, betel nuts and lime. paan is considered a digestive aid.
The situation is similar with Tamil non-vegetarian meals, except that the first and second courses are usually replaced by various Biryanis and non-vegetarian gravies.

In either case, a typical meal (Lunch or Dinner) will be served on a banana leaf. Meals are often accompanied by various pickles and appalams.
Food is generally classified into six tastes - sweet, sour, salt, bitter, pungent and astringent and traditional Tamil cuisine recommends that you include all of these six tastes in each main meal you eat. Each taste has a balancing ability and including some of each provides complete nutrition, minimizes cravings and balances the appetite and digestion.

  • Sweet (Milk, butter, sweet cream, wheat, ghee (clarified butter), rice, honey)
  • Sour (Limes and lemons, citrus fruits, yogurt, mango, tamarind)
  • Salty (Salt or pickles)
  • Bitter (Bitter gourd, greens of many kinds, turmeric, fenugreek)
  • Pungent (Chili peppers, ginger, black pepper, clove, mustard)
  • Astringent (Beans, lentils, turmeric, vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, cilantro)

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered an essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and mutton. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.
Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappams, adais and idlis. The Chettinad people through their mercantile contacts with Burma, learnt to prepare a type of rice pudding made with sticky red rice.
Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include idiyappam, paniyaram, vellai paniyaram, karuppatti paniyaram, paal paniyaram, kuzhi paniyaram, kozhakattai, masala paniyaram, adikoozh, kandharappam, seeyam, masala seeyam, kavuni arisi and athirasam.
Most famous food items
Vegetarian: kevar kalli, idli, sambar, vadai, rasam, dosa, thayir sadam (yogurt rice), thayir vadai (yogurt-soaked fritters), kootu (vegetables in wet style), poriyal/kari (vegetables in dry style), murukku, uthappam, idiappam, appalam(deep fried lentil-flour crisps) and papadum (baked lentil-flour crips), freshly made thayir pachidi (yogurt mixed with fresh vegetables).

Non-vegetarian: karuvattu kuzhambu (salted, dried fish in sauce), chettinad pepper chicken, fish fry, and Kanji with "old fish" gravy.

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