World’s second largest urban beach and the country’s largest, Marina Beach is a popular hangout of humans and sea-animals alike in Chennai. While swimming or taking a dip in the sea is not possible at Marina beach, it is legally prohibited, there are a range of activities to indulge in at the beach if the distant horizon with huge waves crashing around don’t have you spellbound for hours on end. An endless sandy expanse stretching from Fort George to Besant Nagar, while Marina beach is possibly one of the cleanest you will come across in India, it has lost much of its glory, beauty, and natural heritage over the years to pollution. It has been the focus of much conservation efforts and cleanliness drives in recent years.
Distance: 3 km away from Chennai
Main Attraction: Water Sports
There are a number of food stalls and different sorts of shops crowding the beach with the Triumph of Labor and Gandhiji’s march to Dandi statue towering in the skyline along with statues of many notable figures of Tamil literature and the MGR Samadhi. While there are a number of joyrides run on the beach, kite flying and pony rides are popular activities out here. Beach cricket was banned out here some years back as it was quite an inconvenience strolling the beach with cricket balls flying at you from all directions. There’s a 34 ft artificial waterfall on one part of the beach. Yet another attraction at the beach is the Marina Beach Aquarium, country’s first aquarium built in 1909, that houses rare species of tropical and freshwater fishes.
History of Marina Beach
History of Marina beach, situated in Chennai city of the Indian state Tamil Nadu along the Bay of Bengal, dates back to 16th century when there were frequent floods near the coast owing to the rising sea level. After the withdrawal of the sea water, a number of lagoons and ridges emerged. One of the sand ridges continuing from the mouth of the Cooum to the present site of the Presidency College lived on the southern part of the Fort St. George. A huge depression was located at the rare side of the ridge over which the college grounds has been developed. This ridge forms the site of the present day Marina beach.
In the year 1640, Fort St. George was constructed during which the sea was very near to the fort. Near the fort, a harbor was built which resulted in the accumulation of sand towards the south of the harbor and the fort. The sea washed the ramparts of the fort and gradually created a wide beach between the land and the sea. Prior to the construction of Madras harbor, the beach comprised just a strip of mud along with mudskippers. Till the building of the harbor in 1881, the beach was washed up for a long time till the present day road. Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff who served as the governor from 1881 to 1886 was enthralled by the beach during one of his earlier visits to the city in the 1870s and decided to build a promenade along the beach. The construction was done in the year 1884 by extensive layering and thus modifying the soft land.
Numerous public buildings began to be erected in front of the beach since early 19th century. Post harbor construction the region towards the south of the port began developing prominently and gradually formed the present day beach. Its accretion occurred mainly owing to the presence of wave breakers which were laid for building the harbor. However, the northern coast has suffered severe erosion. The beach widened to its present extent eventually due to the north drifting current. The accumulation of littoral drift by the port’s breakwater is also responsible for the formation of the beach. It has been observed that every year the beach area increases 40 square meters due to progradation.
After the promenade was built in the year 1884, many additions were made along the beach. In 1909 India’s first aquarium was established. Post independence the beach hosted the Gandhi statue in ‘march to Dandi’ stride and the Triumph of Labour statue, both of which were sculpted by Debi Roy Chowdhury who was the first Indian Principal of the Madras School of Arts and Crafts at the age of 30. Later in 1968, several other statues and icons associated with Tamil literature were erected including Bharathidasan, Subramania Bharathi, Kambar, Tiruvalluvar, Avvaiyar, G.U. Pope, Fr. Beschi and Europeans Bishop Caldwell. The event marked the first World Tamil Conference. Anna Samadhi and the MGR Samadhi were built in 1970 and 1988 which reduced the stretch of beach at the northern end. Later the statues of Kamaraj and Shivaji Ganesan were also added.
Best time to Visit Marina Beach
Chennai experiences a warm climate all through the year, however, the month of October to March are comparatively pleasant, making it a good time to visit the famous Marina Beach.
How To Reach
The destination Chennai is equipped with the major Anna International airport and Kamaraj Domestic Terminal adjacent to it, facilitating both domestic and international flights, landing and taking off all the 24 hours, with frequent schedules from all the major airports of the Country as well as the Globe.
Chennai is the Headquarters of Southern Railways, with two mammoth Railway terminals, Madras Central and Chennai Egmore, one for the trains from the North and the other for the trains from the South, both facilitating Superfast trains, such as Shadapti, Rajadhani etc, a train called Duranto taking Passengers from Chennai to New Delhi without any stopping in between.
The Chennai City is equipped with a versatile bus Stand called Koyambedu, which accommodates both State Transport Buses plying long distances in the State and various omnibus services running all the 24 hours of the day to different destinations, which include Bengaluru, Karnataka’s State Capital, Hyderabad, the Capital of Andhra Pradesh, and Thiruvanthapuram, Capital of Kerala State.
Temperature And Weather
The City of Chennai maintains a humid weather throughout the year since it is situated along the coastline, Summers taking the barometer readings to 40 degree Celsius range, Monsoons having regular rainfalls, Winters giving the residents a pleasant stay with a comfortable climatic condition.
Facts about Marina Beach
Facts reveal that Marina Beach in Chennai is the longest beach in India. Stretched about 12 km along the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal it is among the longest urban beaches in the world! It is impressive, the sunrise and sunset views are endearing and prove to be a tranquil escape from the summer heat and chaotic routine.
The beach is usually crowded and hence, polluted. If you can ignore this factor and still enjoy your experience there, it will surely help you unwind and relax. Walking through endless stretches of sand, gazing at the blue sea, and the non-stop breeze caressing your face; it is indeed a feast for one’s soul!
You can even go for exciting water sports, beach volleyball and horse riding. Swimming and bathing are strictly prohibited at the Marina beach, as it is risky. Shop at the local markets or feast upon varieties of cuisines for a complete experience.
Marina Beach is indeed a treasured destination of Chennai!
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