Chennai, (pronounced Chenna with long a and not Chennai (chenn-long i) as we have been calling it, is a spaghetti plate of winding streets without a hint of a grind plan! The history of the city formed from a cluster of fishing villages that grew together to become the 4th largest metropolis in India with a population of 10,000,000. The traffic was compounded by the construction of an above ground metro that was under construction along the complete route from the airport through town. We were amazed because construction in America on such a huge project would have been done in sections not in totality, but there is lots of manpower available in India.
Our bus driver was from Kerala and didn’t know the complicated route to the hotel, so the travel agent sent a local person to help navigate. But in the long run, Dbell had to use his I Phone to get us to the hotel through the maze of one-way streets. It took two hours to get from the airport to the hotel, the same amount of time that the flight from Amdavad had taken.
Don’t be put off by this traffic as it is a challenge all over India. Chennai is a beautiful garden city with lots of trees and greenery, a change from the desert region of Amdavad. It boasts of the second longest beach in the world after Rio. Families take picnic suppers in the evening to enjoy the beach. There is a huge international presence with lots of companies whose names you would recognize. It is also known as ” Little Detroit” because there are 4 automobile companies manufacturing cars in the area. Sadly, to our point of view, they were all European or Japanese companies.
This is the huge government building built with much graft and corruption resulting in convictions and jail time for some people involved. But this building will now be a specialized hospital for the poor which a great idea!
One of the most seen pieces of art is the Dancing Shiva of the Hindu creation myth. There is a whole section of these bronze statures covering many years that were buried to protect them from being taken to London by the English. After independence they were unearthed and proudly displayed.
Here is a video of the traffic in Chennai with the consturction site visible. Pretty amazing.
This is my post during the last trip about Chennai .