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Chennai Monuments, Festivals and Dances

Classical Indian dance

Chennai is also known for the classical Indian dance, the Bharatanatyam, which is also the official dance of Tamil Nadu. An important cultural centre for Bharatanatyam is Kalakshetra (Sanskrit for “place of the arts”) located on theMonuments, Festivals and Dances beach in the south of the city.

Matmatah, a French rock group performing at Saarang 2005.

Chennai has a vibrant theatre scene, with a large number of Tamil plays being performed.

Political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama are some of the popular

genres of Tamil plays. Prominent theatre personalities include Pammal Sambanda

Mudaliar, K.S. Nagarajan, Cho Ramaswamy, Indira Parthasarathy, R.S. Manohar, N. Muthuswamy, Crazy Mohan, S. Ve. Sekhar and Y. Gee. Mahendran. English theatre is also popular in Chennai.

Evam Entertainment

A popular english theatre company among the theatre lovers in India (especially young people) is based in Chennai.This group of energetic youngsters leave the audience with a great smile at the end of their show.They also organise an exclusive EVAM-Metroplus Theatre festival in collabration with the leading newspaper of the city,THE HINDU every year around the months of July and August.A number of other english theatre companies like ASAP productions,Still Water Productions,Boardwalkers,Masquerade,Theatre Nisha,Stagefright Productions and last but not the least,India's oldest english theatre company,Madras Players stage plays throughout the year.Over the last 4 years,Chennai has become active in theatre activities.School and college cultural festivals (locally called culgests) play an important role by providing platforms for the city's youth to indulge in art and culture. These culfests attract Monuments, Festivals and Dancesparticipants from around India. Some of the larger culfests in the city are Saarang (IITM), Techofes (College of Engineering, Guindy), Deep Woods (MCC) and Down Sterling (Loyola).

Also present is an established and growing culture of bands in western and other styles. Predominantly these are 'student bands', although there are professional bands such as The LBG. While the student bands are most visible in culfests and other competitions, pro-events like the June Rock Out are dominated by established bands.


Chennai has played a vital role inthe evolution of traditional and contemporary art in india.

Lalit Kala Akademi, at Greams Road conducts regualr exhibitions of works by established and emerging artists.

The Cholamandal Artists’ Village is a unique centre of art and craft where artists and sculptors work in their own studios to supplement their income from the sale of paintings or sculptures. A permanent gallery attracts visitors throughout the year.

Chennai has produced some of the finest artists in India like KCS Panicker, K.M.Adimoolam, A.V.Ilango, R.B.Bhaskaran, R.M.Palaniappan.

There are also couple of emerging artists like Aparajith, Benita Perciyal, Sivabalan, cheenu pillai, Sheela Maradi, Ramasuresh who have made a mark for themselves.

Music, Dance and Drama

The city is known for its classical music shows. Every December, Chennai holds a five week-long Music Season, which has been described as one of the world's largest cultural events. The Music Season encompasses performances (kutcheries) of traditional Carnatic music by hundreds of artists in and around the city. This happens during the TamilMonuments, Festivals and Dances season of Margazhi and this period is a festive and joyous time in chennai. The mercury lies in the low twenties and the music rendered by the great musicians is soul-stirring and sensational. Carnatic music makes the December season a must-experience for visitors to Chennai.


Chennai is the base for the large Tamil movie industry, dubbed Kollywood after the locality of Kodambakkam where most of the movie studios are located. The industry makes about 300 Tamil movies a year, and its film soundtracks dominate the music scene in the city.

Festivals and events in Chennai offer insightful perspectives into the rich culture and tradition of South India. The city is home to a diverse population in terms of socio-cultural backgrounds. The festivals embody the popular faith of the people. The popular festivals of Chennai as celebrated across the whole of India with equal zeal are Deepavali, Dusshera, Durga Puja, Navratri. Chennai also celebrates state and local festivals, besides national festivals.

The Arubathimoovar festival in Chennai reveres the life and times of the 63 Nayanmars who exalted Lord Shiva with enchanting hymns and lived in devotion and penance. The festival is characterized by a colorful procession moving across the town of Mylapore.

Chitirai festival is observed to venerate the marriage between Pandiyan Princess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar. This festive occasion brings to life the colorful event.

Mammalapuram plays host to the famous dance festival. The festivities include traditional dance performances like Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi and Odisi. The festival aims at preserving the tradition of folk dances.

The Kanthri festival is observed to pay homage to saint Quadirwali. During the ten day festivities devotees visit the tomb of the saint. Offerings are made. On the last day of the festival the tomb is decorated with sandalwood and the paste which is believed to be endowed with healing powers is distributed later.

The Kavadi festival dedicated to deities like Lord Muruga is celebrated all across the city. The festival is characterized Monuments, Festivals and Dancesby a procession taking an embellished stage to the Palani Hills. The procession is marked by beating of drums.

Tayagaraja festival is observed to commemorate the activities of the South Indian saint and artist of the 18th century. The festival is characterized by musical performances by both seasoned as well as upcoming artists.

Vellankani festival is one of the most popular festivals of the city. The festival celebrates a historic event when Portuguese sailors were saved from a terrible storm by a divine force. The festival is celebrated at the site where the shrine was built by the sailors.

Chennai Monuments

Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu. It boasts of a glorious past and has a rich cultural heritage. This is quite visible from the number of monuments in the city. Earlier known as Madras, the city has a plethora of monuments which significantly reveal the ancient history of the place. These monuments are a huge hit amongst the tourists and visitors to the state. The ancient city of Chennai is in fact, enlivened with the splendor of the structures, which remind you of the bygone era. So, on your trip to Chennai don't forget to visit thee historical and architectural marvels.

Fort St: St. George Fort is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal. It was built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. It is a military architecture marvel, which was erected as a trading post.

Freemasons Hall: Freemasons Hall is situated in the Egmore area of Chennai. It is the living example of the cultural and traditional heritage of the people who inhabited the ancient city of Madras. The construction of this building was completed in the year 1923.

Government Museum: The Government Museum of Chennai is one of the most popular sightseeing pots in the city. It is deemed to be one of the oldest museums of India, as its inception dates back to the Colonial rule. There is a historical tale behind the origin of this Museum.Monuments, Festivals and Dances

Kamaraj Memorial House: Kamaraj Memorial House is built in the memory of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri Kamaraj. He was an ideal for all the Indians, as he rose out of poverty and became the Chief Minster thrice. The Memorial House was inaugurated in 1978 by the then Chief Minister, M. G. Ramchandaran.

Mgr Memorial: Mgr Memorial is a yet another memorial in Chennai. It is dedicated to the former actor cum politician of Tamil Nadu, MGR Ramachandran. The monument is situated at T. Nagar and is easily accessible from all parts of the city. MGR Memorial was inaugurated by Mrs. Janaki MGR in 1990.

Senate House: Senate House of Chennai is definitely a worth watching monument in Tamil Nadu. It is located at the campus of University of Madras, near the Marina Beach. It is truly an architectural marvel and was constructed under the supervision of one of the greatest architects of the 19th century.

Thousand Lights Mosque: Thousand Lights Mosque is a well-known worship place for the Muslims in the Chennai city of Tamil Nadu. It is situated at the Anna Salai Road in the city. The mosque is popular for a number of reasons, such as its name, its architecture and its historical and religious importance.

Valluvar Kottam: Valluvar Kottam is a monument built to pay homage to Tamil Poet Saint Thiruvalluvar. The site where it is situated once housed an unused lake. The monument is in the shape of a temple chariot and contains a lively and splendid statue of the poet.

War Memorials: A visit to the War Memorials of Chennai is the best way to discover the heroic past of India. The memorials are dedicated to those soldiers who laid their lives for the welfare of the nation as well as those who died as martyrs, serving their nation.