Coordinates: 13°03′15″N 80°17′01″E / 13.05418°N
80.28368°E / 13.05418; 80.28368
Marina Beach as seen from Light house.
Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu, India
Coromandel, Bay of Bengal
Urban, natural sandy beach
13 km (8.1 mi)
Length of promenade
6 km (3.7 mi)
437 m (1,434 ft)
Lighthouse, Anna Memorial, MGR Memorial, Jayalalithaa Memorial, Napier
Corporation of Chennai
Marina Beach is a natural urban beach in the city of
India, along the Bay of Bengal. The beach runs from near Fort St.
George in the north to
Foreshore Estate in the south, a distance of
6.0 km (3.7 mi), making it the longest natural urban
beach in the country and one of the world's longest beach ranking with
1. 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). Bathing and swimming at the
Marina Beach are legally prohibited because of the dangers, as the
undercurrent is very turbulent. It is one of the most crowded beaches
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 1,50,000 to 2,00,000
people visit the beach daily.
2.2 Flora and fauna
3 Dimensions and characteristics
4 Infrastructure and activities
5 Structures along the beach
7 Safety measures and policing
13 Future developments
14 In popular culture
15 See also
17 External links
The beach promenade in 1913
Before the 16th century, there were frequent incident of inundation of
land near the coast due to rise in sea level. When the sea withdrew,
several ridges and lagoons were left behind. On the southern side of
Fort St. George, one such sand ridge ran from the mouth of the Cooum
to the present site of the Presidency College. On the rear side of the
ridge was a huge depression on which the college grounds were later
developed. The ridge is the site of the present-day beach. When
Fort St. George
Fort St. George was built in 1640, the sea was too close to the fort.
The building of the harbour near the fort resulted in sand accretion
to the south of the fort and the harbour and the sea, which was
washing the ramparts of the fort, moved afar at about 2.5 km away
from the fort creating a wide beach between the land and the sea.
Before the Madras harbour was built, the beach was just a strip of
mud, teeming with mudskippers. The beach washed up close to the
present day road for a long time until the harbour was built in 1881.
Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, the governor of Madras from 1881
to 1886, who was captivated by the beach on an earlier visit to the
city in the late 1870s, conceived and built the promenade
along the beach in 1884 by extensively modifying and layering with
soft sand. He also gave it the name Madras Marina in the same
year. Since the early 19th century, a number of public
buildings were constructed fronting the beach.
Ever since the harbour was built, the area south of the port has
accreted significantly, forming the present day's beach mainly due to
the presence of wave breakers laid for the construction of the
harbour, although the coast in the northern region has undergone
severe erosion. Eventually, the north-drifting current widened the
beach to its present extent. The beach was formed as a result of
arresting the littoral drift by the port's breakwater. The
area of the beach is increasing 40 sq m every year due to
C. N. Annadurai's Memorial
Since the creation of the promenade in 1884, there were several
additions along the stretch. The country's first aquarium was
established as one of the first additions in 1909. Shortly after the
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour statue and the Gandhi statue in
'march to Dandi' stride, which has been duplicated on the lawns of the
Parliament House, were erected on the beach. In 1968, a number of
statues of icons of
Tamil literature was erected to mark the first
World Tamil Conference, including Avvaiyar, Tiruvalluvar, Kambar,
Bharathidasan and the Europeans Bishop
Caldwell, G.U. Pope and Veeramunivar. Anna memorial was built in 1970
and the MGR memorial in 1988, shortening the stretch at its northern
end. More recent additions include the statues of Kamaraj and Shivaji
Ganesan. In December 2016, then CM
J. Jayalalithaa was also
laid to rest here, very close to M.G.R. Memorial and a memorial for
her is expected to be constructed within a year.
Magnetite and other heavy minerals (dark) in the beach's quartz sand
The Marina beach was famed for its pristine beauty, jolly ambiance,
and rich ecosystems. However, since the middle of the 20th
century, the beach and water have become polluted. Proliferation
of plastic bags, human waste, and other pollutants have rendered many
parts of the beach unusable. In recent years, many voluntary
organisations 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
Neelankarai section of the
Flora and fauna
Marina Beach lies on the stretch of coast where olive ridley sea
turtles, a species classified as Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife
Protection Act of 1972 (critically endangered), nest during mating
season, chiefly between late October and April peaking from
mid-January to mid-February. The Ennore–Mamallapuram zone,
on which the beach lies, is one of the three major nesting grounds on
the Indian coast. However, with the expansion of the shrimp
trawling fishery in the eastern coast of
India in the mid-1970s,
several individuals of the species are washed ashore dead every
year. The eggs laid by the females along the beach are
also sold in the local market by the fishermen and traders. In
1977, a recovery programme was started by the Central Marine Fisheries
Research Institute. Many volunteer organisations in the city, such
as the Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network and the Sea Turtle
Protection Force of the TREE Foundation, get involved in conservation
of the species along the coast.
Meiofaunal composition at the
Marina Beach chiefly includes
turbellarians, nematodes, polychaetes, oligochaetes, and
harpacticoids. Species of gastrotrichs are also found in the
Common fishes found along the beach in the
Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal include
mullets, sharks, silver bellies, rays, ribbon fish, skates, white
bait, dussumeria, Jew fish, horse mackerel, crabs, seer, pellona,
pomfret, perches, lactarius, lethrius, flying fish, engraylis,
sardines, lobsters, sabre fish, barracuda, hilsa, tunny, Indian
salmon, leather jackets, cookup, breams, catfish, snappers, synagris,
bonito, soles, polynemus, and prawns, among others.
Dimensions and characteristics
The Marina is a natural urban sandy beach along the Coramandel coast
on the Bay of Bengal. Primarily sandy, the beach spans about
13 km (8.1 mi), running from near
Fort St. George
Fort St. George in the
Besant Nagar in the south and is the longest natural urban
beach in India. The average width of the beach is 300 m
(980 ft) and the width at the widest stretch is 437 m
Infrastructure and activities
The Rock Fountain
Marina beach is a major tourist attraction of the city. People
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.
Chennai City Police has banned it at different points due to
its interference with traffic and beach walkers. The sea is
generally rough and waves are strong. There are fishermen colonies
present at both ends of the beach. There are also joyrides,
merry-go-rounds and mini giant wheels along the stretch, although they
are installed without permission from any government agency.
Fishing nets on the beach
Sunrise at Marina beach
A night view of the beach promenade
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 on a 1.5-acre compound opposite the Presidency
College. The pool is 100 m long and 34 m wide, bigger than
the standard Olympic pool size of 50 m × 25 m and is 3 to
5.5 feet (0.91 to 1.68 m) deep. The shallow end is 3.5 feet
deep. It is maintained by Corporation of Chennai. It underwent
renovation in 1994 and 2004. On an average, the swimming pool receives
1,500 people. During the summer months of April and May, the footfall
is goes up to 2,500 people. As of 2018, there were 30 staff in the
pool and six surveillance cameras. 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. It was constructed in 1976 with a diving board. However, the
diving board was removed later during a renovation. The pool is 4 to
11 feet (1.2 to 3.4 m) deep. It also has a toddler pool that is
2.5 feet (0.76 m). Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu
(SDAT) conducts regular coaching camps at the pool.
The oval-shaped skating arena at the beach has an outer railing and
standing area for people to watch from.
As part of the '
Chennai Forever' initiative by the Tamil Nadu
government, a 34-foot (10 m) tall, artificial waterfall was
installed in September 2005 at a cost of ₹ 1.5 million. A
visitor centre near the
Cooum River mouth on the Marina, similar to
Marina Barrage Visitor Centre in
San Antonio Visitor
Center in the United States, has been planned as part of an initiative
to create awareness of the need for clean waterways.
In 2008, two floating fountains with spray height of 100 feet with
colour lights for night view were planned to be installed in sea
waters off the beach. In 2010, the
Chennai Corporation procured
new cleaning equipments to clean the beach at a cost of ₹ 8.011
million. These included a sand-cleaning machine capable of cleaning
15,000 m2 area in an hour procured at a cost of ₹ 3.267
million, three skid steer loaders to clean narrow lanes commissioned
at a cost of ₹ 2.652 million, imported lawn mower, ride-on
mechanical sweeper, tree pruner and hedge trimmer. An automatic
ticket-vending machine at a cost of ₹ 170,000 was also commissioned
at the Marina swimming pool for managing the crowd. The corporation
also planned to construct two more public conveniences at the
beach. About 150 corporation staff, including a junior engineer,
maintains the lawns and service lanes on the beach.
As of 2013, the 3.1-km stretch of the beach from the Triumph of Labour
statue to the lighthouse has 31 high-mast lamps.
Structures along the beach
Madras University as seen from Marina 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.
M. G. Ramachandran
M. G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa, 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
Triumph of Labour
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. The statues along the promenade are (from north to
Robert Caldwell (erected on 2 January 1968)
Kambar (erected on 2 January 1968)
Ilango Adigal (erected on 7 November 1971)
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour (erected on 25 January 1959)
Bharathiar (erected on 2 January 1968)
Kannagi (erected on 2 January 1968/re-erected on 3 June 2006)
Subhas Chandra Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose (erected on 15 December 1997)
Thiruvalluvar (erected on 2 January 1968)
G.U.Pope (erected on 2 January 1968)
Bharathidasan (erected on 2 January 1968)
Swami Vivekananda (erected on 12 July 1964)
Avvaiyar (erected on 2 January 1968)
Mahatma Gandhi (erected on 14 April 1959)
Veerama Munivar (erected on 2 January 1968)
Sivaji Ganesan (erected on 21 July 2006)
Annie Besant statue
Fishermen at the
Buckingham Canal statue
George Uglow Pope
George Uglow Pope statue
Mahatma Gandhi statue
Subash Chandra Bose statue
Robert Caldwell statue
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour statue
Thilagar Thidal plaque
Golden Jubilee of Independence memorial pillar
Sivaji Ganesan Statue
Waves of Marina beach, Chennai
Marina Swimming Pool
The other side of the road houses several historical buildings and
M.A.Chidambaram Cricket Stadium,
University of Madras
Queen Mary's College
Inspector General of Police Headquarters
India Radio, Chennai
Annie Besant Park
Promenade leading to the lighthouse
One of the several decorative installations at the beach
The beach has 14 landscaped galleries
In February 2008, the
Chennai Corporation, previously known as The
Madras Corporation, took up the Marina Renovation Project with
improved landscaping, seating arrangements, walkways, and lighting
along the promenade, and architectural elements such as plazas,
gazeboes, and pergolas were installed all along the stretch including
4 m-wide non-slippery granite footpaths near the service lane,
another 5 m-wide footpath, and 15 m-wide lawns. The
blueprint of the renovation project included ornamental fountains,
exclusive parking lots for two- and four-wheelers, a children's play
area, bus shelters, ramps for physically challenged, and food
courts. The whole length of the stretch from Triumph of Labour
Statue to the Lighthouse measuring 3.1 km has been divided into
14 harmonious landscaped galleries dotting its span, each with an
element of drama attached to the design in the form of small
theatre-type galleries where visitors can sit.
All the 14 sections vary significantly from one another and were
designed in such a way as to the differentiation of sections not
leading to any break in the walkway, which is a continuous walking
stretch from the
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour Statue to the Kamaraj Statue.
One of these galleries is flanked by two semi-circular stainless-steel
pergolas resting on wire-cut brick columns. The galleries can
accommodate over 1,000 people. The choice of natural stones and
pillars used in each section of the promenade was based on the type of
the buildings on the other side of the road. The walkway was designed
as low-lying as is necessary to have a clear view of the beach from
the road. A total of 428 octagonal poles with seagull-shaped light
fittings and additional high-mast lamps have been erected.
Ten modern stainless steel bus shelters have been erected near the
beach. There is a skating rink behind the Gandhi Statue which has
been improved with hand rails and tiles on the periphery under the
project. A total of 14 galleries with seating arrangements and a 4-m
internal walkway along the sands and fountains have been created on
the 3.1-kilometre (1.9 mi) stretch from the Anna Square to the
Lighthouse. This stretch has uninterrupted pavement and a sub-road
parallel to the main road. Five reverse osmosis plants capable of
providing 30,000 litres of drinking water an hour free of cost to
visitors is under construction. As part of the beautification
project, the decade-old 250-watt lamps were replaced with 690
anti-corrosive lamps along Kamaraj Salai and the service road. The
renovation was completed in December 2009 at a cost of ₹ 259.2
million. Although initially the corporation planned to outsource
security personnel to protect the renovated structures, the plan
was dropped and about 50 corporation staff were employed to man the
In 2009, a 4.5-km-long stretch along the beach was announced
plastic-free zone, prohibiting the sale and use of plastic. In
November 2010, the corporation imposed a fine of ₹ 100 on the usage
of plastic items that are less than 20 µm thick on the entire
stretch. Within a couple of years since the ban, the use of plastics
on the beach was reduced by 70 percent.
In 2012, the government allotted ₹ 89 million for the renovation of
the memorials of Anna and MGR. This include ₹ 12 million and ₹ 43
million towards renovation of
Anna Memorial and MGR Memorial,
respectively, ₹ 34 million towards additional construction at the
In 2012, the corporation allotted ₹ 48.4 million for installing two
high-mast lamps, a police watchtower, and a giant chess board and an
interactive fountain in the children's play area. This also includes
relocation of the shops to specific locations on the sand at a cost of
₹ 41.2 million.
In 2017, plans to revamp the beach under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of
the Indian government at a cost of ₹500 million have been drawn.
Panoramic view stretch of the sandy Marina beach
Safety measures and policing
View of the beach from the lighthouse
Bathing and swimming are illegal at Marina beach since the
undercurrent in the region is very strong, and there are no
lifeguards stationed here. As many people throng the beach, quite
often there are drowning mishaps. An estimated five sea-bathers are
drowned every month at the beach, and most of the swimmers are dragged
by the tides into the debris of a tramp ship SS Damatis that sank off
the beach during a cyclone in 1966. Police personnel and
lifeguards constantly patrol the whole area, which is divided into
seventy-two sections, by means of horses and all-terrain vehicles
(known as beach buggies). Five spots off the beach, including near
the Anna Square,
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour Statue and behind
Vivekananda House, have been identified by the police as extremely
unsafe due to the presence of whirlpools and rock projections in the
seabed. In 2010, 75 people drowned in the sea along the 5-km stretch
of the beach. Of this, the 1-km stretch from Anna Square to the
Anna swimming pool is considered the most dangerous with as many as 29
persons drowning in the sea in 2010. The deep sea in this stretch is
considered to still hold parts of the smacked ship. In 2011, in
addition to the tie-up with Coast Guard security personnel, the city
police planned for a tie-up with the fire and rescue services
department to provide a stand-by rescue team at the beach to save
people from drowning. The rescue team, equipped with a rubber boat and
a motor-fitted boat, was planned to be stationed at the Anna Square
police station or the Marina police station.
A catamaran on the beach
The law-enforcing agencies is planning to bring the beach under close
watch by means of two watchtowers and at least a dozen surveillance
Chennai Corporation has agreed in principle to create the
security infrastructure based on a proposal sent by the Greater
Chennai Police. The watchtowers are proposed to be erected behind the
Triumph of Labour
Triumph of Labour statue and the Gandhi statue. In August 2012,
the government sanctioned six more all-terrain vehicles for patrolling
In December 2012, in a measure to regulate parking and to control the
entry of vehicles into the beach, the
Chennai Corporation decided to
install drop gates at seven entry points on the beach's service lane,
including near the PWD Building, Subash Chandra Bose statue, Dr. Annie
Besant statue, Vivekanandar Illam,
Avvaiyar statue, Veeramamunivar
statue and the lighthouse.
Despite intensive patrolling, illegal bike races and night races are
also held along the stretch, resulting in public nuisances and, at
times, death of the racers.
Crowd at the beach in the evening
With a length of 13 km, including a 6 km promenade, the
Marina is considered the world's second longest urban beach,
although there exist in fact several longer beaches, including Praia
do Cassino (254 km) in Brazil,
Cox's Bazar (120 km) in
Padre Island on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Ninety Mile Beach in
Australia and Ninety Mile Beach (88 km) in New Zealand. However,
unlike most beaches, Marina is a natural sandy urban beach
similar to the
Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, helping it earn the
In December 2001, the
Kannagi statue, which was erected in 1968 on the
occasion of a World Tamil Conference held in Chennai, was removed for
traffic maintenance reason as part of modernisation of the beach,
which led to a huge protest and demonstration by the opposition
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party. When the DMK later came to
power, the statue was installed in the same place on 3 June 2006 by
the DMK party chief M. Karunanidhi.
On 9 August 2003, an open-air stage located 350 ft from the
sea on the sands of the Marina called Seerani Arangam, constructed
in 1970, which was used by religious groups and political parties
to address gatherings, was demolished by the state government in order
to modernise the beach. This spot was a place where rallies were held
for the freedom movement during the British Raj, and the stage was
considered a symbol of the historical events that had taken place in
the Marina. This created a great controversy.
In 1966, a tramp ship SS Damatis sank near the Marina due to a cyclone
in the region.
Marina Beach after the tsunami
The beachfront was severely damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The tsunami waves, caused due to an M 9.2 magnitude earthquake at
about 257 km south-southeast of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia,
on the Indian Ocean floor on 26 December 2004 at 6.20 am IST,
struck the beach, which is about 2028 km North West from the
epicentre, at 8.40 am IST. The reported height of the tsunami
waves at the beach was 6 m which washed away about 206
persons on the beach, most of whom were morning joggers
and children playing cricket on the beach, including a few
tourists. With the assistance of the World Bank, the government
built 2,000 temporary Marina beach shelters each measuring about
250 sq.ft. to house families affected by the tsunami at a cost of
₹ 172.3 million. However, in 2012, new houses for residents of
tenements on the
Marina Beach was planned to be taken up under a
Disaster Preparedness Project of the state government.
Rescue operations at the beach after the tsunami
As a visible change in the beach immediately after the tsunami, the
intertidal area was much flatter on 27 December 2004, which usually
featured a gentle slope. However, the usual slope started to appear 4
days after the tsunami and normal profile was restored in about 15
days. The receding wave after the tsunami lasted for more than
24 h. Post tsunami, there was a distinct variation in the
distribution of sand grains in the beach until the 4th day. However,
from the 5th day after the tsunami, normal composition of sand grains
appeared to have been restored at different depths. The tsunami
also resulted in various geomorphological changes in the region such
as those in the contour of the 2,000 km-long Burma Plate, which
sits atop the
India plate, resulting in a rise in the land level of
Chennai, ranging between 0.5 cm and 3 cm.
Following the tsunami, there was a distinct increase in the meiofaunal
density in the beach. Various meiofauna found in the beach after
tsunami include foraminiferans (Elphidium sp.), cnidarians
(Halammohydra sp., Psammohydra sp.), turbellarians (Otoplana sp.,
Macrostomum sp.), nemertines, nematodes (Halalaimus setosus, Desmodora
sp., Chromadora sp., Sabatieria sp., Steineria sp., Metapselionema
sp.), gastrotrichs (Chaetonotus sp., Thaumastoderma sp.), rotifers,
kinorhynchs (Cateria sp.), polychaetes (Hesionides sp.), archiannelids
(Polygordius madrasensis, Saccocirrus minor), oligochaetes (Marionina
sp.), harpacticiod copepods (Arenosetella indica, Psammastacus
acuticaudatus, Leptastacus euryhalinus, Emertonia minuta, Sewellina
reductus), ostracods (Polycope sp.), isopods (Angeliera phreaticola),
halacarids (Halacarus sp.), insects, and various other species.
Marina Beach was also the venue of the 2017 pro-
The mass gathering of more than a million people in protest of the ban
on the traditional bull-embracing sport
Jallikattu at the Marina beach
Chennai for 10 consecutive days turned several eyes on the city's
beach from across the nation. The leader-less movement grew much
bigger as protests began in other cities across the country and later
Tamils in 15 countries including
United States of America, UK,
Japan and Singapore. The protest came to end only after the
ban was revoked after the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
was amended by the state government to allow the sport.
Immersion of Ganesh idols on the Marina at Foreshore Estate
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
Vinayaka Chathurthi takes place at the beach where most of the
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
The beach receives the maximum number of visitors on the Kannum Pongal
day, a day in the festival season of
Pongal in mid-January, when about
150,000 people come to the beach.
Marathon managed by
Chennai Runners 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 20,000 people participate, which includes
various categories such as a 21-km run for professional athletes, a
city run for everybody, a junior run for children, a master's run for
senior citizens and a wheelchair run for the disabled.
From 2016, the Marina Runnerz
Marathon managed by Marina Runnerz
Running Group is held every year in the last weekend of February, this
event prides itself on promoting running along Marina Beach, the
Urban beach in the world.
In 2008, the beach played host to India's first International Beach
Volleyball Championship, BSNL FIVB
Chennai Challenger:2008, from 15 to
20 July to popularise beach volleyball. The event was organised 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.
In March 2016, "My leader" campaign was launched in this historical
place. The main focus of this event was to attract youngsters to take
Kamarajar Salai running along the beach
Kamarajar Salai night view
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
Vivekananda House (Ice House) Terminus and
Foreshore Estate terminus. Railway stations alongside the beach
include the Chepauk, the Tiruvallikeni and the Lighthouse MRTS railway
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 ₹ 10,000 million. However, the plan was dropped due to
opposition from the public such as the 'Save
A typical morning at the Marina
Although the beach promenade was created in 1884, the sandy shore has
been mentioned in the literature much earlier. The beach shore has a
mentioning in the verse no. 2297 of the 4000 Divya Prabandham written
by Peyalwar. The verse, dating back to 7th century AD, was written in
Tamil, and it says that the sea was so rich with white waves bringing
to the shore very precious gems like red corals and white pearls and
that the light of the dusk (moonlight) falls on these gems at the
shore and makes the area brightened with beautiful colours.
Grant Duff, the governor of Madras who developed the beach promenade,
recalls in his memoirs:
Our way lay first along the shore and made me think of the very
sensible answer made to me when I was talking about going to India.
'Go', he said, 'For God's sake go. If you spend only twelve hours on
the beach at Madras, it will be a great deal better than nothing'.
Grant Duff christened it the Madras Marina in 1884, the same year when
the beach promenade was created, on which he explains in a letter:
We have greatly benefited Madras by turning the rather dismal beach of
five years ago into one of the most beautiful promenades in the world.
From old Sicilian recollections, I gave in 1884 to our new creation
the name of Marina; and I was not a little amused when walking there
last winter with the Italian General Saletta, he suddenly said to me
'On se dirai a Palerme'.
In New India, the newspaper that was run by Annie Besant, the Irish
theosophist and Home Rule advocate, the beauty of
Marina Beach was
described back in 1914. On 6 October 1914, Anne Besant wrote,
One of the chief attractions of Madras is undeniably its Marina. There
is nothing in all of
India to match this long and pleasantest of
promenades that runs by the side of the foam-crested surf from the
southern extremity of the Fort to Santhome. The Marina is certainly a
cap of this 'city of magnificent distances'. An old promenade,
popularly known as 'Cupid's Bow' south of the fort, now hides her head
in shame besides her statelier and more favoured sister.
She also added that Madras
... in keeping with her dignity as a progressive city with a
population of over half a million souls, (its) delectable evening
Marina Beach will be converted into being 'a thing of beauty
and joy forever'.
In January 2014, the corporation announced a makeover of the 2.8-km
stretch on the southern part of the beach from Lighthouse to Foreshore
Estate, including development of walkways, benches, a gallery, bicycle
tracks, concrete roads, service trenches, rainwater trenches and
streetlight fittings at an estimated cost of ₹ 400 million. The
development would provide alternative accommodation to vendors of the
existing market on the Marina Loop Road by commissioning of a modern
fish market on the stretch. The loop road connecting the Lighthouse
and Foreshore Estate, which is currently a 20-metre-wide road, will be
converted to a four-lane concrete road barricaded on both sides with
stainless steel pillared railings and will pass all along the Santhome
coast of the Marina Beach. A 2.4-metre-wide bicycle track, a
3.3-metre-wide walkway and a 2.5-metre-wide gallery will be developed
on the eastern side of the road. The western side of the road will
have a fish market with cold storage facilities as well as a
The Corporation also plans to develop more than 300 heritage pillars,
each 1.2 metres tall, on the western side of
Kamarajar Salai opposite
the beach. The uniformly designed heritage pillars will be made of
granite and iron on the stretch from All
India Radio to Swami
Sivananda Salai. The pillars would replace the existing walls of
various institutions to improve aesthetics around the beach.
In popular culture
Marina Beach has been featured in numerous Tamil movies, including the
2012 Tamil movie Marina that is entirely based upon the lives of child
workers in the beach.
List of beaches in India
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marina Beach.
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