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Mylapore is one of the oldest and culturally enriched neighbourhoods, located in the southern part of Chennai. However, the area precedes the birth of Chennai or Madras, as the British named it, by at least some 1500 years. The city had already seen a lot of eventful history pass by even before the British stepped on this land. Mylapore is also very much traditionalist to its core and boasts of many temples, churches and historical monuments. At the same time, it is also stepping up to match the modern world with shopping malls, tree-lined beautified avenues and other attractions to meet the expectations of the urban tourists.
Mylapore has a native name as well. It is called Thirumayilai by the locals, which is taken from a Tamil word meaning "the land of the peacock's scream". It is an undeniable ode to a large number of peacocks which once roamed the land of Mylapore before commercialisation took over. The presence of peacocks is evident from the architectural designs of the Kapaleeswarar Temple or the San Thome Church - two ancient sites of the neighbourhood. Mylapore has its mention in several accounts by writers, poets, explorers and folklores that have roots in the ancient time. From European colonising groups to explorers like Marco Polo to Tamil Saivite poets, there are praises of this old city and its splendour everywhere. A visit to the important sites in Mylapore as well as a look around the neighbourhood itself should be on every traveller's list who is visiting Chennai. In one word, Mylapore can be called the nerve centre of the city.
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