Marina Beach is an urban beach in the city of Chennai, India, along the Bay of Bengal, part of the Indian Ocean. The beach runs from near Fort St. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south, a distance of 13 km (8.1 mt), making it the longest natural urban beach in the country and the World's second longest. The Marina is primarily sandy, unlike the short, rocky formations that make up the Juhu Beach in Mumbai. The average width of the beach is 300 m (980 ft) and the width at the widest stretch is 437 m (1,434 ft).
It is the most crowded beach in the country and attracts about 30,000 visitors a day during weekdays and 50,000 visitors a day during the weekends and on holidays. During summer months, about 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the beach daily. In 2010, 72 percent of the 5,000 respondents interviewed by the Tripadvisor Survey panned the beach as being clean.
Structures Along The Beach:
Being the city's primary area for recreation, the entire stretch features numerous statues and monuments that have come up over the years along the beach promenade, called Kamarajar Salai. While the beach stretches along the eastern side of the road, the western side is dotted with various governmental institutions and historic and stately buildings from the British rule all along its length. Victory War Memorial, a memorial for the warriors who lost their lives in the World Wars, marks the northern end of the beach. Memorials for C N Annadurai and M G Ramachandran, former Chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, are present on the northern end of the promenade known as the Anna Square.
All along the length of the promenade, stone statues adorn the roadside area of the beach starting from the Triumph of Labour statue, the first statue erected in the beach, near the memorials at the Anna Square to Mahatma Gandhi statue near the lighthouse. Most statues are of national or local legends while others have symbolic significance like the Triumph of Labour statue.
Other Structures Along The Beach Include:
Attractions And Activities:
- Anna Swimming Pool
- Marina Swimming Pool
- Marina Cricket Ground
- Dr. Annie Besant Park
Marina beach is a major tourist attraction of the city. People visiting Chennai make a point to visit the beach. It is also the main place for the local people to escape from the summer heat. The beach is popular for its shops and food stalls run by about 500 shops run by about 1,212 vendors. The memorials and statues, morning walk, joggers' track, lovers' spot, aquarium, and the like make it a hangout for people of all ages. Kite flying and beach cricket are common sports at the beach, and there are also facilities for pony rides. Beach cricket at the Marina dates back several decades.
There are two swimming pools along the stretch—the Marina swimming pool and the Anna swimming pool. The Marina swimming pool was built in 1947 and is located opposite the Presidency College. The pool is 100 m long and 30 m wide, bigger than the standard Olympic pool size of 50 m × 25 m and is 3 ft to 5.5 ft deep. The Anna swimming pool is located opposite the clock tower building of the University of Madras and virtually remains hidden behind the Anna Square bus terminus. The pool is said to be the first Olympic size pool to be built in Tamil Nadu. The pool is 4 ft to 11 ft deep. It also has a toddler pool that is 2.5 ft. Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) conducts regular coaching camps at the pool.
Being the most prominent open space in the city, the Marina Beach hosts several events throughout the year. The annual Independence Day and the Republic Day ceremonial parades and airshows are held along the promenade along with the unfurling of the national flag in the Marina. The annual idol-immersion event following the Hindu festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi takes place at the beach where most of the idols of Lord Ganesh kept on display during the festival in the city is immersed into the sea. The event occurs in the month of August–September. The beach is also the venue for several marathon and walkathon campaigns throughout the year conducted for various cause.
The annual Chennai Marathon is held in the beach starting from the Anna Square to Annai Velankanni
Church on the Elliot's Beach in Besant Nagar. It is India's biggest city marathon and is also said to be South India's richest marathon, in which over 1,000 athletes and more than a million people participate. In 2008, the beach played host to India's first International Beach Volleyball Championship, BSNL FIVB Chennai Challenger:2008, from July 15 to 20 to popularize beach volleyball. The event was organized by the Beach Volleyball Club and was sponsored by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. Eleven Indian teams along with 60 teams from 21 countries participated in the 6-day-long tournament offering a total prize money of US$40,000 in the men's and US$6,400 in the women's events.
Kamarajar Salai, a six-lane road and one of the arterial roads of Chennai City, runs alongside the beach providing a sea view starting from the Victoria War Memorial near the Cooum River delta till the lighthouse to the south. The road extends further south beyond the lighthouse where it is known as the 'Santhome High Road', running away from the sea but parallel to the beach till Santhome. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation has a terminus called the 'Anna Square' terminus at the northern end of the beach, Triplicane Terminus near Kannagi statue/Pycrofts Road, Vivekananda House (Ice House) Terminus and Foreshore Estate terminus.
Railway stations alongside the beach include the Chepauk
, the Tiruvallikeni and the Lighthouse MRTS railway stations. There was a plan to build a 9.7-km elevated road along the beach connecting the lighthouse with the East Coast Road in the south at a cost of INR 10,000 million. However, the plan was dropped due to opposition from the public such as the 'Save Chennai Beaches' campaign.