Once a British settlement, Chennai was named Madras till 1996 and then renamed. The capital of state of Tamil Nadu in South India, Chennai, the fourth-largest city of India, is known as its electronics capital. The city is also viewed as a cultural capital, and Chennai event venues offer groups opportunities to experience music, dance and art.
Chennai International Airport, also known as Anna International Airport, is located at Tirusulam, seven kilometers south of Chennai. The airport will soon be the second in the country after Delhi to be connected to a five-level metro station, spanning 17,300 square meters.
Chennai event venues begin with the Chennai Trade Center. Close to the international airport, with many full-service hotels in its vicinity, the center is spread across more than 25 acres and is one of the premier Chennai event venues for conferences, seminars and exhibitions. It is a joint property of India Trade Promotion Organization, Govt. of India and the state Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation. The main convention center comprises 6,224 square meters of space, with one 4,400-square-meter hall and one that is 1, 760 square meters. Another convention center, the Rajalakshmi Hall, can accommodate over 500 persons.
Hotel venues in Chennai include the 600-room ITC Grand Chola, which has 50,000 square feet of space; the 326-room Leela Palace Chennai with 30,000 square feet of space; and the 90-room Vijay Park, also with 30,000 square feet. Other high-end luxury hotels, geared to host meetings and conventions, include Park Chennai, Chola Sheraton, Fisherman's Cove, Hotel Radisson and Taj Connemara.
City tours can range from the Marina beach to the ancient Parathasarathy temple and the Santhome Basilica Cathedral; the shore temple at Mahabalipuram and the Snake Park are other options.
It is not difficult to lose oneself among yards of sensuous Kanchipuram silk and handicrafts, a specialty of the region. A interesting trip would be to Kanchipuram, known as the "The City of Thousand Temples" (72 kilometers from Chennai), where one can see artisans hand-weaving the famous silk. Another option is the short flight to Madurai, which has the 2,500-year-old Meenakshi Temple, around which that city has evolved. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple.