It is recognized as an Institute of National Importance by the Government of India. Founded in 1959 with technical and financial assistance from the government of the former West Germany, it was the third Indian Institutes of Technology that was established by the Government of India through an Act of Parliament, to provide education and research facilities in engineering and technology.
IIT Madras is a residential institute that occupies a 2.5 km² (620 acres) campus that was formerly part of the adjoining Guindy National Park. The institute has nearly 550 faculties, 8,000 students and 1,250 administrative and supporting staff. Growing ever since it obtained its charter from the Indian Parliament in 1961, Much of the campus is a protected forest, carved out of the Guindy National Park, home to chital (spotted deer), black buck, and other wildlife. A natural lake, deepened in 1988 and 2003, drains most of its rainwater.