Madras was the site of the East India Company’s first settlement, founded in 1639 on land given by the Raja of Chandragiri. A small fort was built on the settlement in 1644, and a town which subsequently became known as George Town, in the area of Fort St. George was built north of it. The settlement became independent of Banten, Java in 1683 and was granted its first municipal charter in 1688 by James II. It is therefore the oldest municipal corporation in India. View more
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This morning, set off for a majestic tour of Madras, the city that was established by the British as the seat of power and boasts of the "Splendours of the Raj". Some of the sites seen on this half day tour of Madras are:
Fort St. George
Visit the British stronghold built in 1653. Its 20-foot (6-metre) walls still stand, looming over the centre of Chennai. Today, it houses the Tamil Nadu Government Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly.
St. Mary’s Church
Encircled by Fort St. George, this was the first English church and is the oldest surviving British construction in India. There are reminders in the church of Elihu Yale, the early governor of Madras who went on to found Yale University.
High Court Building
Drive past this magnificent building, reputed to be the finest example of Indo-Sarcenic architecture in India and is said to be the largest judicial building in the world after the Courts of London.
National Art Gallery
After driving along the Marina, the shore drive which every Chennai citizen claims as the second longest beach in the world, you will come to the National Art Gallery. Of special interest in this gallery rare the Moghul, Rajput and South Indian-style paintings. The Bronze Gallery is also a short walk away.
This ancient Siva temple has a typical Dravidian gopuram, a soaring pyramidal gateway tower.
San Thome Cathedral
Said to have housed the remains of St. Thomas, the Apostle. He was believed to have been martyred, on what is now known as St. Thomas Mount.
Following your tour rejoin your coach to return to the ship.
Moderate walking involved with some stairs, inclines and distances, however it is not particularly strenuous. Proper attire is required to visit the sacred sites. Shorts and short skirts are not allowed, and women must have their shoulders covered. Shoes must be removed prior to entering the temples. We recommend bringing along a pair of thick socks, as the pavement may be hot. Photography is not permitted inside the temples. Camera fees at the Bronze Gallery are $5 per person and $12 per person for the video camera. This is subject to change. Tour sequence may vary.