History of Chennai City


Chennai is a mega city or metro city. Capital of TamilNadu, India. Houses major port and an important city both politically, historically, culturally. I want to go backward in time and find when history of Chennai starts. Let you join my journey of findings. I am from this city’s suburb. I was trying to see what I could see Chennai from historical perspective. During british rule, it has been center for many important historic events. Willing to write about at some point in time. So, lets get going.

Where it all begins.

Road workers in Pallavaram, (a suburb of Chennai ) stumble upon a megalithic stone while working. This dates back to around 3000 BC - 300 BC. Interesting thing about name Chennai ,comes from a Telugu ruler’s name - Damarla Chennapa Nayaka

Ancient History of Chennai

Tondaimandalam, a region between two rivers originating from Nandi Hills. Penna and Ponnaiyar River, former flows through present day Andra and latter flows to present TamilNadu. Both drains into Bay of Bengal. History starts around 300 B.C.

A side note, Sangam Period & Sangam literature is dated around 5th century BCE to 3rd century CE. Hero-stones were served as sources of history. Tamil People worship these stones, they showed heroic activities.

Tondaimandalam was ruled by Cholas ( neolithic burial urn was found ) around 1st century CE. Ilandiraiyan then ruled this region around 3rd century CE. He is identified as Pallava Prince. He is considered to be the founder of Pallava Dynasty. He was Hero in Pathupaatu songs. He ascended throne as feudatory for King Karikala Cholan.

After Chola rule, Pallavas ruled this region from 4th-9th century CE , with Kanchipuram as headquarters. This region is present day northern Tamilnadu , Chitoor, Nellore.

Visit of Hiuen-Tsang to Kanchi in 640 AD was historic importance and took lot of text back to China then.

Vijayanagara Rule

After Cholas and Pallavas, Vijayanagar Kings ruled this region. An Interesting history is Vidyaranya was 12th jagadguru of Sringeri Peetam was king maker and inspiration for Hairhara 1 king to defeat muslim region in north and helped to form Viyanagara Dynasty.

With the destruction of the short lived Madurai Sultanate in 1377-78, most of the present-day Tamil Nadu, eventually, came under the rule of the Vijayanagar Empire

Vijayanagara kings then appointed Nayaks to rule the region they controlled with almost independence. Then finally during British rule this region came into their control from Nayaks.

As mentioned, British rule and its influence to Chennai city is enormous in terms of Chennai getting its own artifical port and many present structures and influence in modern world is huge.

Glimpse into Pre-history for the region

Based on wiki links and other reads I also want to write about pre historic origins for Chennai. See how far I go.

Further Reading & References

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