Built in 1640 AD, the Fort St. George once served as the very first bastion of the East India Company. Now, it houses the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The 46 metre – high flagstaff, that adorns the front of the structure, is actually a mast salvaged from a 17th century shipwreck. The Fort Museum has a remarkable collection of memorabilia, dating back to the days of the Raj. Within the Fort complex, is also the oldest Anglican Church in India , St Mary’s Church , built in 1678-1680. It also happens to be the oldest surviving British construction.
Another ancient landmark in the city, is the Madras Harbour , one of the finest in India , and entirely artificial, which has been around for almost a century. Mylapore in the south is the site of the famous Kapaleeswarar Temple , which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has a typical Dravidian gopuram . Near the temple, is the San Thome Cathedral , which is said to contain the remains of St Thomas the Apostle (Doubting Thomas). Located on Triplicane High Road is the Parathasarathy Temple , dedicated to Lord Krishna. Built in the 8th century during the Pallava reign, it was later renovated by the Vijayanagar kings in the 16th century.
The Government Museum and Art Gallery on Pantheon Road , near Egmore station, has an interesting archaeological section, and a bronze gallery. The archaeological section has an excellent collection of items from all the major South Indian periods, including the Chola, Vijayanagar, Hoysala and Chalukya periods. The bronze gallery has some impressive examples of Chola bronze art. The Theosophical Society located on the banks of the Adayar river, and Kalakshetra , an internationally renowned institution for Indian classical dance and music, at Thiruvanmiyoor, are outstanding examples of the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu.
The National Deer Park is the only place in the world, where one can still find a sizeable number of the endangered species of Indian antelope (the black buck). The Deer Park , alongwith the Madras Snake Park , which is supported by the World Wildlife Fund, are located in the Raj Bhavan premises, at Guindy.
Just like the other Indian places, Chennai also celebrates a number of festivals. The festivals are mainly based on the agricultural activities and according to the position of the stars and planets. Pongal, celebrated in the month of January, is the most important festival of Chennai. Being a cosmopolitan city, almost all the religious festivals are celebrated here.