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Chennai (Madras), offers pre-colonial highlights including the Kapaleeswarar Temple and the 9-12th century Chola bronzes displayed in the Government Museum as well as a number of churches, cathedrals and chapels. From Chennai one can also visit the huge bas reliefs and stunning shore temples of Mahabalipuram, some 60km away. Chennai was founded in 1639, when Francis Day and Andrew Cogan of the British East India Company built a small fort on the banks of the Cooum River and called it Fort St George. Today, a stroll along the great sweep of Marina Beach reveals a city dotted with churches and temples amid the trappings of a modern city. St Mary’s Church within the Fort is the oldest Anglican church in Asia and people of all faiths flock to the San Thome Cathedral. It is said to have been built on the site of a chapel built by St Thomas the Apostle, the first Christian missionary in India.


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