About Chennai

Chennai city is governed by the Chennai Corporation (formerly "Corporation of Madras"), which was established in 1688. It is the oldest surviving municipal corporation in India and the second oldest surviving corporation in the world. In 2011, the jurisdiction of the Chennai Corporation was expanded from 174 km2 (67 sq mi) to an area of 426 km2 (164 sq mi), dividing into three regions North, South and Central, which covers 200 wards. The corporation is headed by an Indian Administrative Service officer. The Mayor and councillors of the city are elected through a popular vote by the residents. While the city limit was expanded to 426 km2in 2011, the revised population is yet to be officially announced.

With the history of many neighbourhoods of the city such as Mylapore and Triplicane antedating that of the city, the architecture of Chennai ranges in a wide chronology. The oldest buildings in the city dates from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, which include the Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore and the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, built in the Dravidian architecture. This architecture includes various styles, such as those of the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagara empires. The associated Agraharam architecture, which consists of traditional row houses surrounding a temple, can still be seen in these areas. The heritage temples at Mamallapuram at the outskirts of the city are some of the examples of the Pallava architecture. Chennai ranks second to Kolkata of Indian heritage buildings.

With the advent of the Mugals and the British, the city saw a rise in a blend of Hindu, Islamic and Gothic revival styles, resulting in the distinct Indo-Saracenic style. The architecture for several early institutions such as banking and commerce, railways, press and education, chiefly through the colonial rule, followed the earlier directions of the Neo-Classical and the Indo-Saracenic.The Chepauk Palace in the city, designed by Paul Benfield, is said to be the first Indo-Saracenic building in India. Since then, many of the colonial-era buildings in the city were designed in this style of architecture, which is most apparent around the Fort St. George built in 1640. Most of these were designed by English architects Robert Fellowes Chisholm and Henry Irwin. The best examples of this style include the Madras High Court (built in 1892), Southern Railway headquarters, Ripon Building, Government Museum, Senate House of the University of Madras, Amir Mahal, Bharat Insurance Building, Victoria Public Hall and the College of Engineering.

The Triumph of Labour, also known as the Labour statue, is a statue at the Marina Beach, Chennai, India. Erected at the northern end of the beach at the Anna Square opposite University of Madras, it is an important landmark of Chennai.The statue shows four men toiling to move a rock, depicting the hard work of the labouring class.It was sculpted by Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhry. The construction of the National Art Gallery in Madras was completed in 1909. The new building, with a stunning facade, was built of pink sandstone brought from Sathyavedu, and formed part of the Madras Museum campus. It was opened, on 23 January 1909, by the Governor of Fort St. George, Sir Arthur Lawley, and called the Victoria Memorial Hall after the Queen-Empress Victoria. The residential architecture in the city was based on the bungalow or the continuous row house prototypes. Gothic revival style buildings include the Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations. The Santhome Church, which was originally built by the Portuguese in 1523 and is believed to house the remains of the apostle St. Thomas, was rebuilt in 1893 in neo-Gothic style.

By the early 20th century, the art deco too made its entry upon the city's urban landscape. From 1930s onwards, many buildings in George Town were built in this style, including the United India building (presently housing LIC) and the Burma Shell building (presently the Chennai House), both built in the 1930s, and the Dare House, built in 1940. Other examples include the Bombay Mutual building (presently housing LIC) and the South Indian Chamber of Commerce building.

Southern Railway Headquarters, one of the fine examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the city. After Independence, the city witnessed a rise in the Modernism style of architecture. The completion of the LIC Building in 1959, the tallest building in the country at that time, marked the transition from lime-and-brick construction to concrete columns in the region. The presence of the weather radar at the Chennai Port, however, prohibited the construction of buildings taller than 60 m around a radius of 10 km. In addition, the floor-area ratio (FAR) in the central business district is also 1.5, much less than that of smaller cities of the country. This resulted in the city expanding horizontally, unlike other metropolitan cities where vertical growth is prominent. On the contrary, the peripheral regions, especially on the southern and south-western sides, are experiencing vertical growth with the construction of buildings up to 50 floors.