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(chĕn`nī), formerly


(mədrăs`, mədräs`), city (1991 pop. 5,421,985), capital of Tamil NaduTamil Nadu
, formerly Madras
, state (2001 provisional pop. 62,110,839), 50,180 sq mi (129,966 sq km), SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. The capital is Chennai (formerly Madras).
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 state, SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. A commercial, railway, and manufacturing center, Chennai has large textile mills, chemical plants, and tanneries and is the main center of India's automobile industry. Providing offshore and back-office services to foreign corporations is also an important industry. Together with docks and warehouses, its harbor provides modern transportation linkages to peninsular India. A cultural center, the city is the seat of the Univ. of Madras (1857), institutes of dance and music, and a number of museums. There are many large public buildings; a famous shore drive, the Marina; and Guindy National Park. Near Chennai is Mt. St. Thomas, the traditional site of the martyrdom (A.D. 68) of St. ThomasThomas, Saint,
one of the Twelve Apostles, called Didymus. According to John, he refused to believe in the resurrection until he saw Jesus' wounds; hence the expression "doubting Thomas." John 11.16; 14.5; 20.24–29; 21.2.
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, the apostle. He is said to be buried in Chennai at the Cathedral of St. Thomé.

The city, as Madras, became an important British trading center, growing largely around Fort St. George, a British outpost (1645) at the site of an earlier British settlement (1639) that became the seat of the British East India Company until 1773 and the capital of the Madras presidency (1653). The French captured Madras in 1746, but the British recovered it two years later. The presidency became a province (1937) and, with Indian independence, a state (1950), renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. In 1996 the city was renamed Chennai, after Chennapatnam, a precolonial village near the original British outpost. Coastal areas of the city were hit by the Dec., 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The company operates a product design centre in Chennai, India under an ISO 13485 medical design registration, allowing it to design medical instruments for its customers, close to its manufacturing facility.
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Sundar Rajan, CEO of DFMC said: "We are proud to announce the opening of our Serta showroom in Chennai, India, which is currently booming with commercial and residential projects.
Predictions of incessant rainfall by the weather office meant that the army had to work on a war footing to rescue survivors trapped in inundated parts of Chennai, India's fourth most populous city.
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