Nestled in southern most corner of the country, this capital city of Tamil Nadu is one metropolis that takes great pride in its heritage and culture. Therefore, it comes as a little surprise to see the city of Chennai dotted with many sparkling monuments. The city is vibrant and bustling with activity and is one of the most important metros in Southern India. Chennai’s is dotted with several tourist spots like St George’s Fort and Valluvar Kottam that reveals the rich heritage and past glory of the city. Apart from the city’s monuments, the place is a major hub for Carnatic music and classical form of dance known as ‘Bharatanatyam’, which further add up to the city’s sheer legacy and charm. For a first time traveler, a trip to Chennai can be quite a fascinating journey, with extreme temperatures, chaotic life and bustling streets leaving you in complete wonder. Read further to explore the best monuments in Chennai.
Monuments in Chennai
St. George Fort
Built by the East India Company in 1640 A.D with an aim to establish a permanent trading centre in India, today St. George Fort serves as an important base for the Indian army. This architectural wonder, located on the banks of the Bay of Bengal, is a magnificent monument that boasts of a sprawling museum that displays a wide spread variety of objects that belongs to the colonial officials. Among the things displayed in the museum, some of the most noted exhibits are coins, medals, letters and paintings. After the country declared its independence, the Archaeological Survey of India announced this fort as a valuable monument that needs to be conserved.
Located in the heart of the city in Egmore, this structure is an example of the colonial rule over the old city of Chennai. Freemasons Hall was first built in 1923 by the British to provide lodging facilities to the colonial officials. The building has huge white pillars, Italian marbles, tiles, and big glass windows that reflect the magnanimity of its sheer architecture. Built in the Greek style, this building can accommodate 200 people at a time while the smaller meeting rooms have a seating capacity of around 60 people. Another important room one should visit is the dining room, which is large enough to hold 150 people at a time and has extremely beautiful Masonic emblems to boast of. The Freemasons is a fascinating architectural structure that is not easy to forget.
This monument is a true representation of the city’s rich culture. It is devoted to the great poet, philosopher and saint known as Thiruvalluvar of Tamil Nadu for his contributions towards Tamil culture and literature. It was built in 1976 by V. Ganapati Sthapati and is a popular tourist destination in Chennai. The monument is constructed in a chariot shape, similar to the one found in the temple of Thiruvarur. Even today the great poet Thiruvalluvar is held in high esteem by people of Tamil Nadu. It is been said that all the 133 chapters of Thiruvalluvar has been emblazoned on the corridors of the hall. Situated on Kodambakkam High Road, this monument is must see in Chennai.
The Senate house, sited within the Chennai University campus and close to the famous Marina Beach, is the city’s architectural landmark. Built by Robert Fellowes Chisholm in 1873, this house was once the hub of educational centre and served as the office of the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar. This wide structure with four domes on each side has four different entrances towards the north, south, east and west. This Indo-Saracenic building is a majestic structure that once held great value to the city but its importance has withered over the years.
Kamaraj Memorial House
Opened on 1978, the memorial house was constructed to honor the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu. The house reflects the humble life led by Kamaraj and his struggle during independence. The house is stocked with a few personal belongs from his early childhood days to adolescence. Although he did not complete his education, Kamaraj was knowledgeable in the field of politics, as is reflected from the extensive collection of books in his library. Inside the house, you will get to see an interesting compilation of photographs, right from his youth to his days as a chief minister. This memorial house holds great historical significance to the people of this city and promises to be an educative experience for the tourists.
Located in Guindy close to Chennai airport, this place pays tribute to five different leaders of the country and martyrs. Each mandapam or pillars are dedicated to a particular leader and every structure is different from one another. The structure, honoring Mahatma Gandhi, is built in the form of a temple while the memorial for the late chief minister Kamaraj is symbolized in the form of a chakra. It has been said the monument dedicated to the former Governor General of India C. Rajagopalachari is the most marvelous structure of this monument. The remaining two memorials were built as tribute to Bhakavatsalam, the late chief minister of the country and as homage to other freedom strugglers. A visit to the Pancha Mandapams is a unique experience and a striking sight that one should not miss out.
Chennai is well-known for its rich culture and traditions. But what many of us are not aware of is that the city has taken great pride in honoring the country’s great leaders and heroic soldiers. The victory war memorial. located on Beach Road. is an ideal example of one such tribute paid to the brave people who lost their lives in World War I. Situated 40 km away from the city outskirts is the Rajiv Gandhi memorial. This monument was constructed as a tribute to the late Prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in 1991. A visit to these war memorials is the best way to learn more about India’s valiant soldiers and leaders who laid down their lives for their country.