Friday, July 2, 2010

Marina Beach, Chennai

Marina Beach, a typical morning view

Marina Beach is a primarily sandy beach along the Bay of Bengal, dotting the city of Chennai, India. With an uninterrupted stretch of 13 km, Marina Beach is said to be the second longest beach in the world. The entire stretch of the Marina Beach is famous for a number of beautiful statues and historical monuments, including various government institutions and historical buildings of the British Raj era.

Located on the Marina Beach front is the Ice House, where Swami Vivekananda stayed during his visit in 1897, now known as Vivekananda House that houses art exhibits and memorabilia related to the life and mission of Swami Vivekananda.

The roadside area of the beach is dotted with stone statues of legendary personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar and Kannagi. Memorials for M. G. Ramachandran and C. N. Annadurai, the former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, are also present on the beach, along with a recent addition of the statue of the actor Sivaji Ganesan.

Marina Beach is famous for its pristine beauty and rich ecosystems, though, since the middle of the twentieth century, the beach and seawater have become polluted. Efforts are being made to clean up the pollutants, with special emphasis on the protection of Olive Ridley turtle nests along the Neelangarai section of the beach.

The crowd at Marina Beach in the evening

In 2008 the Chennai Corporation started the ambitious Marina Renovation Project which aims at improving landscaping, seating arrangements, walkways and lighting along the promenade. A total of 14 galleries with seating arrangements have been built on nearly 3 km stretch between Triumph of Labour Statue and the Light House. Another 3 km segment from Anna Square to the Light House has uninterrupted pavement and a sub-road parallel to the main road. As part of ‘Chennai Forever’ campaign by the Tamil Nadu state government, a 34-feet tall artificial Marina Waterfall was created in September 2005.

A parked catamaran on Marina Beach

Marina Beach is a major tourist attraction with its memorials and statues, morning walk, joggers' track, lovers' spot, aquarium, etc. and is a popular hangout zone for people of all ages. The sea is rough and the waves are strong, with the possibility of forceful undercurrents near the shore. For this reason, swimming, bathing, etc. are prohibited in the sea.

There are several colonies of fishermen at both the ends of the beach. Though the picture above shows a lone catamaran parked on the sands, a typical fishing colony area on the beach will have several catamarans, fishing boats, fishing nets, and people engaged in fishing working on their daily routines.

No comments: