Chennai, also known as Madras, is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.5 million (2007), it is the fourth largest metropolitan city in India and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world.
The city was established in the 17th century by the British, who developed it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had become an important administrative centre, as the capital of the Madras Presidency.
Chennai’s economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, technology, hardware manufacturing, and healthcare industries. The city is home to much of India’s automobile industry and is the country’s second-largest exporter of information technology (IT) and information-technology-enabled services (ITES), behind Bangalore. The city is served by an international airport and two major ports; it is connected to the rest of the country by five national highways and two railway terminals. Thirty-five countries have consulates in Chennai.
Chennai 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 Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood, is based in the city; the soundtracks of the movies dominate its music scene. Chennai is known for its sport venues and hosts an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) event, the Chennai Open. The city faces problems of water shortages, traffic congestion and air pollution. The state and local governments have undertaken initiatives such as the Veeranam project, Rainwater harvesting and the construction of mini-flyovers to address some of these problems.