Chennai, known worldwide as Madras until 1996, is the fourth largest metropolis of India, and is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Marina beach on the east coast of the city is 12-kilometer long and welcomes every morning the rising sun. In a period spanning four long centuries, though its history goes beyond that too, the place has grown from a fishing village called Madraspatnam to a city of around 7.6 million people (2006), and is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is considered the cultural center of the modern Tamil society. The city is famed for many ancient temples and modern industrial facilities including well developed Information Technology related activities. One commentator has described the metropolis of Chennai in these words: "With its seventh century temples and 21st century malls, Chennai is a happy mix of the old and new."

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