Tamil Nadu sevärdheter
The British East India Company constructed their first fortress in India in 1640 along a strip of sand on lease from the Raja, allowing them a foothold for expansion in India. The 20-foot (6-meter) thick outer walls surround a complex of white colonial structures, known historically as ‘White City,’ including St Mary’s, the oldest Anglican church in Asia.
Until recently, Fort St George housed the Tamil Nadu Secretariat & Legislative Assembly, and the Fort Museum remains open to the public and is now housed within an old East India Company exchange. The museum’s collection displays portraits, paintings, photographs, British governmental uniforms and East India Company porcelain, among other Raj relics.
Pay attention to the signage when visiting the compound, as several areas and buildings are closed to the public. If you want to avoid crowds at the security check, set aside a few hours on a Sunday morning for your visit.
Near the San Thome Cathedral in the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai sits the Kapaleeshwar Temple (spelled Kapaleeshwarar or Kapaleshwar too). The most impressive temple in the city by far, Kapaleeshwar honors the god Shiva with shrines dedicated to many other deities in the South Indian pantheon.
The working temple offers a good example of classical Dravidian architecture, with a stepped pyramid design blanketed in colorful statues of gods, demons, warriors and royalty. The detailing makes the temple exterior busy to the point where you don't quite know where to rest your eyes, but the structure is quite photogenic.
You're likely to see many more devotees than tourists at the temple, so you'll get a realistic insight into what modern temple worship looks like, particularly during the weekly Friday worship services. To avoid the crowds, show up at 6 am when the temple first opens.
Saint Thomas the Apostle, or ‘Doubting Thomas,’ as he was later called, came to India in 52 AD where he purportedly lived out the remainder of his days. The 16th century Sao Thome Cathedral, built by the Roman Catholic Portuguese and later rebuilt by the British, is said to house the bodily remains of St Thomas in a tomb below the white neo-Gothic structure.
A series of stained glass windows inside the basilica depict scenes from St Thomas’s life and carved wooden panels recount the last days of Jesus’s life from his last temptation to the crucifixion. As a working cathedral, visitors are welcome to stop in for mass (in both English and Tamil), though the church draws larger crowds for mass.
After visiting the main cathedral, view the tomb of St Thomas in the underground Tomb Chapel, accessible from outside the main church structure. Another structure on the grounds houses a small museum containing artifacts related to St Thomas and a theatre.
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