Built by Frederic Tudor, Vivekananda Illam was originally called Ice House. It is located on Marina Beach
. The house was used by the Tudor Ice Company for the storage and sale of ice.
After the ice business failed, it was sold to Mr Biligiri Iyengar, a famous advocate of the Madras High Court. He made changes and renamed the house Castle Kernan, in memory of the famous Justice of the Madras High Court. The house came to be a shelter for poor and educationally backward students. In 1930, Castle Kernan came under the control of Government.
In 1963, it was re-christened Vivekananda Illam in memory of Swami Vivekananda's brief sojourn here. Today, Vivekananda Illam holds a rare collection of photographs on the life of Swami Vivekananda. Inside the premises there is a high statue of Swami Vivekananda. It functions from 9:00 to 12:30 hrs and from 16:00 to 18:30 hrs on all days except Wednesdays.