August 17, 2009

Ice House aka Vivekananda House, Chennai

Site Name: Vivekananda House
Site Type: Memorial
Location:  Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
A unique attraction in Chennai
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road 
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

Ice House a.k.a. Vivekananda House a.k.a. Vivekanandar Illam in Tamil, is a landmark in Chennai. In 1833 CE, an ice merchant named Fredric Tudor from Boston, USA, brought ice to India. That was the first time ice was brought to India. He built three houses in three different cities of India - Chennai, Calcutta, and Mumbai, to keep ice under proper insulation. Ice House was the house he built in Victorian architectural style in Chennai for the purpose of storing ice, and hence the building got the name 'Ice House'. Later, a Chennai based lawyer named Biligiri Iyengar bought this house.

"Arise, awake; and stop not till the goal is reached" - the inspirational quote is from one of the most powerful persons of India in the 19th century, Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda was considered as the one who spread Hinduism, Vendanta and Yoga to European countries and USA. A lot of national leaders of India in the 20th century got inspired by Vivekananda's speech. He was the major force in modern India for the revival of Hinduism religion. In 1893 CE, he addressed the audience gathered at Parliament of World's Religions in Chicago, USA, as "brothers and sisters", and introduced Hinduism to the international community. His speech brought his a great fame.

After the successful tour of the West, Swami Vivekanda returned to India via Chennai in 1897 CE. He stayed in Ice House between February 6, 1897 and February 15, 1897, and delivered seven inspirational powerful speeches. In February 1997, a hundred years after Swami's visit to Chennai, the government gave the building to Ramakrishna Math on lease. The building now houses a gallery of around 150 rare photographs on the life of Vivekanda. It also houses a section on India's cultural heritage and on the history of the building itself.

Vivekananda house (Ice house) is open on all days, except Wednesdays. When you go to Marina beach next time, visit Vivekananda house also, as this is located in the beach road.

The place is a must visit for Vivekananda's devotees and those who are interested in heritage and history. As this is a famous landmark in Chennai, you can reach this place easily either through public transport or by taxi/auto/your own vehicle. This is located right opposite to Marina beach on the beach road in Chennai.

Happy travelling.

Click here to access Ice House Google map.

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  1. A first class blog. I enjoyed. I am returning the favor for you commenting on my blog. You are a class act. All the best.

  2. No doubt, Swami Vivekanand stayed in Ice House in Chennai, but he melted the ice collected on our feelings towards Hindu religion and nationality. I am grateful to you to explore this unique place in Chennai. I have noted this for my visit in future.
    Mangesh Nabar

  3. I lived in this area for 19 years. Your blog brought back unforgotten and pleasant memories.