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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 16, p. 364.


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364 HA D:RAS CITY
Madras City.-The capital of the Madras Presidency, and the
third largest town in the Indian empire, is built in a straggling fashion
Description. on a strip of land g miles long, from a to 4 miles '`
wide, and zq square miles in extent, on the shore of- .
the Bay of Bengal, in 130 4' N. and 8o' 15,* E.
The site is low-lying and almost dead level, its highest point being,
only az feet above the sea; and it is intersected by two languid
streams, the Cooum and the Adyar, of which the former enters
the sea.immediately south mof Fort St, George, in the centre of he
. ' city, and the latter near the southern boundary. Neither of them
carries enough water. to maintain a clear channel, and except in the
rains they hot, h form 'salt lagoons separated, from the sea by narrow
ridges of sand.
Strangers to the city find it difficult to realize, that they are in a place
as populous as Manchester. Approached from the sea, little oŁ Madras
is visible except the first row of its houses ; the railways naturally enter
by way of the least crowded parts; and the European quarter is any.,
thing but typically urban in appearance. Most of the roads in this part 1
run between avenues, and are flanked by frequent groves of palms and'
other trees; the shops in the principal thoroughfare, the wide Mount
Road, though many of them are imposing erections, often stand back
from the street with gardens in front of them; the better European
residences are built in the midst of compounds which almost attains the
dignity of parks; and- rice-fields frequently wind in and out between '
these in almost rural fashion. Even in the most thickly peopled native
quarters, such as Black Town and Triplicane,. there' is little of the
crowding found in many other Indian towns, and houses of more than
one storey are the, exception rather than' the rule,
The reason for all this dies in the fact that in Madras, if we except
the sea on the east; there are none of the natural obstacles to lateral
extension such as hem in Calcutta and Bombay. Land is consequently
cheap and though the. population -of the city is only two-thirds of that
of Bombay and only three-fifths of that of Calcutta, it has spread itself
over an area 5 square miles larger than' that occupied by the former
and only 3 square miles less xhan,that covered by the latter. Though
large parts are strictly urban in their characteristics, the city as a, while
is, in faci, rather a fortuitous collection of villages, separated fmm the
surrounding country by an arbitrary boundary line, than a town in the
usual sense of the word,
municipal and statistical purposes Madras is divided into twenty
divisions, but in popular usage the different quarters of the city are
referred to by. the names of the villages within the original limits of
which they stand. Sr e of these villages (Nangambaukam is an
instance) are rural harillets to this day,. showing no sign; of urban
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