South India's thriving industrial port

The port of Chennai with a thriving global trade in silks, spices and jewels, was a capital over centuries of empires and colonies, and the region around it grew rapidly from a tiny town to the bustling metropolis it is today. Formerly known as Madras, Chennai’s location along the coast offered great opportunities for industries, and like other ports in India, some of the first few industries were set up for textiles. The streets of Chennai evoke a sense of history that is intermingled with its political identity today, the older structures fulfil modern-day administrative roles, and the effect of the port is evident in the industrial and urban development. On the streets of Chennai, it is difficult to tell the difference between the political hoardings and the movie posters – essential elements of the city’s life, as is the variety of rice-based preparations of its rich cuisine.

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