Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chennai Marina Beach

Marina Beach is among the longest beaches in the world and it comprises of sun, sand and surf. Counted among one of the longest beaches in Asia, it is stretched across a 12-km long area. This beach was given a makeover by Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff in the early 1880's, and is Chennai's major tourist attraction today.

Adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, Chennai has one of the loveliest beaches in India. A walk along the Marina, whether in the morning or evening, re-energizes one. The old buildings dotting the other side of Kamarajar Salai, a main road along the Marina, bring back memories of good old British Raj. The Senate House of the University of Madras and the old buildings now housing government offices, such as Ezhilagam and the Director General of Police office. They wear a mysterious look in the morning when the Sun rises.

Marina Beach, Chennai Walk along the beach bordered with a green lawn will entice you to go on a leisurely stroll. At the intersections of this promenade stand beautiful statues of Tamil scholars, patriots, and noted personalities. The Statue of Labour is a beautiful sculpture depicting the efforts of a team of laborers who are at strenuous, manual work.

The beach begins near Fort St. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south, a distance of about 12km.

A famous characteristic of the beach is the set of stone statues that adorn the roadside area of the beach. Most statues are of Indian/local legends like Mahatma Gandhi, Kannagi, Thiruvalluvar, while others have symbolic significance like the Statue of Labour. Also memorials for M. G. Ramachandran and C. N. Annadurai, former Chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Periyar are present on the beach. Recently, a statue of actor Sivaji Ganesan was installed.

The Marina used to be famed for its pristine beauty, jolly ambiance, and rich ecosystems. However, since the middle of the 20th century, the beach and water has become polluted. A proliferation of plastic bags, human waste and other pollutants have rendered many parts of the beach unusable. In recent years, many voluntary organizations have taken up the task of cleaning up the Marina and protecting the ecosystem. Particular efforts include protection of Olive Ridley turtle nests along the Neelangarai section of the beach. Despite these problems however, a visit to the Marina is a sine qua non for any tourist coming to Chennai.

Activities At Marina Beach

Located on the eastern side of Chennai, adjoining the Bay of Bengal is the mesmerizing Marina beach. Watching the sun set and rise from the beach is a fascinating experience. Bathing and swimming can be dangerous here, as the undercurrent is very strong. But still people come for swimming here. The beach also offers a lot of water sports opportunities, like, para-sailing, gliding, windsurfing, cruising, etc.

In the evenings, the beach turns into a fair ground with various kinds of entertainment and food stalls lining the beach. One can even shop around the beach, buying shell and glass baubles to kites and fruit juices. The Marina, is also the venue for important state functions, accommodate a good number of visitors. There are also facilities of pony rides at the beach site, which attract the children's interest the most.


Aquarium is located close to the Marina beach, which has some of the most exotic collection of tropical sea fishes and fresh water fishes. The aquarium offers a chance to have a closer look at the aquatic life. The Ice House, which was used to store ice brought from Great Lakes in North America, is south to the Aquarium.

Attractions Around Marina Beach

Beautiful buildings in Chennai such as the University of Madras, Senate-House, Chepauk Palace, Presidency College, P.W.D office and Ice House are located on the beach drive. At the other end of the beach is the new lighthouse. In between, sentinels on the promenade, are several statues of Tamil scholars and two splendid bits of sculpture- the Victory of Labour and the Mahatma Gandhi.

Although many locals claim the Marina to be the world's longest (or second longest) beach, there exist in fact several longer beaches, including Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, Ninety Mile Beach in Australia and Ninety Mile Beach in New Zealand and Praia do Cassino in Brazil, which is 240km long. However, unlike the other beaches, it is an urban beach similar to the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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