Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has a population of about 7 million people. Almost 10% of all of the people in the state live in Chennai. The city is the fourth largest city of India. It was founded in 1661 by the British East India Company. The city is on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the automobile capital of India. It is also referred as the Detroit of South Asia. The 12 km (7 mi) long Marina Beach in Chennai, is one of the longest beaches in the world. The city is separated into three parts by two rivers. The Cooum River divides the city into almost half and the Adyar River divides the southern half of the city into two parts. The historic Buckingham Canal runs through the city. It is almost parallel to the coast. The 350 year old city still has much of its old charm. Today, it is a big commercial and industrial centre. The city has much cultural heritage. The temples, shrines, forts and palaces of the city combine its past with the present.
The city is home to Fort St. George, built in 1644 and now a museum showcasing the city’s roots as a British military garrison and East India Company trading outpost, when it was called Madras. Religious sites include Kapaleeshwarar Temple, adorned with carved and painted gods, and St. Mary’s, a 17th-century Anglican church.
The Chennai Metropolitan Area is one of the largest municipal economies of India. Chennai is nicknamed "The Detroit of India", with more than one-third of India's automobile industry being based in the city. Home to the Tamil film industry, Chennai is also known as a major film production centre. Chennai is one of the 100 Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under the Smart Cities Mission.