Madras Marina Beach- Historical moments, Memorials, Jallikattu protest, Restaurants, Accommodations
- Marina Beach is a natural urban beach in the city of Chennai (Madras), 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 promenade (3.7 miles) and the total length of the beach is 13 km, making it the longest natural urban beach in the country and one of the world’s longest beach ranking with 1.
- 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 the summer months, about 1,50,000 to 2,00,000 people visit the beach daily.
Structures on the promenade:
- In 19th-century several landmarks being built along the promenade, facing the sea. Some of the most significant ones are the University of Madras, Lady Willingdon Institute, Queen Mary’s College and the All India Radio.
- Most of the city’s Indo-Saracenic architectural masterpieces can be found along this stretch, making a ride along this road incredible.
- The country’s first aquarium, built in October 1909, is currently being renovated from its old interiors to accommodate a state-of-the-art facility.
- One significant building close to the beach is the Ice House – erected in 1842 to store large blocks of ice imported from America. Following the construction of local ice factories, it was later converted into a home for Brahmin widows.
- The Icehouse was renamed as Vivekananda House in 1863 and now hosts several art displays and religious events.
The statues and memorials on the promenade
- After the Indian Independence, in the 1950s, two significant art installations were made by Debi Roy Chowdhury, an artist and the first Indian principal of the College of Arts and Crafts (earlier known as the Madras School of Arts and Crafts).
- The Triumph of Labour statue and the Gandhi statue became landmarks on the promenade of Madras marina.
- Statues of Tamil famous poets like Avvaiyar, Thiruvalluvar, Kambar, Mahakavi Subramania Bharatiyar were installed on the beach marking the first World Tamil Conference in 1968.
- The statue of Kannagi, the protagonist of the epic Silappadikaram, once removed in December 2001 and later re-installed in 2006 following controversial debates .
- The latest addition to this assortment was the statue of Sivaji Ganesan, a veteran Tamil actor, in 2006 which is removed recently because of traffic issues and re-installed in a separate memorial of his own build by Tamil Nadu government in 2017.
- The beach, on its northern end, has memorials built to leaders and former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu like Arignar Anna (1978), Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran(MGR) (1988) and J Jayalalithaa (2016).
Facts about Madras marina:
- From 1960s several movies being shot on the Marina which becomes one of the characters of the film in addition to marking it one of India’s remarkable landmarks.
- The films gave rise to people visiting the beach which eventually became the famous tourist spot and common man’s space for recreation.
- The city did not have so much natural meeting spots for home entertainment, the Madras Marina was the only the place to go in the evenings, and public holidays, and witnessed many people moving in large numbers to its shores.
- Still, every year, the sands are filled with enthusiastic people coming from a far distance to celebrate Kaanum Pongal, a Tamil festival of harvest in the month of January.
- Afternoon scenes of marina see couples in search of privacy huddle close in the shade of fishing boats, the evening scene is a complete contrast.
- Street food carts, hawkers selling beach delicious eatables like the Pattani sundal, merry-go-rounds for children and horses riding, the sand arts and the photography sessions with celebrities’ cutouts were the kind of entertainment available on the Marina.
- In February 2008, the Marina underwent a major face-lift with landscaping, architectural installations, seating areas, skating areas and marble laid pathways.
- The stretch also has two swimming pools, the Anna swimming pool, and the Marina swimming pool. Recently the Marina has also opened its shore up to parasailing and parachutes.
Events and public gathering in Madras marina:
- The Marina’s long stretch has invariably become the place for public gatherings and rallies. It was also the venue for public meetings during the Indian Freedom struggle (1857 to1947).
- In an interview with The Times of India historian Sangoli Thirunavukkarasu says that in February 1956, to discuss the creation of the southern states, an all-party meeting was held on the beach. And in January 1958, as part of the anti-Hindi agitation, a protest was held at the Marina.
- In August 2003, Seerani Arangam- an open-air stage that hosted rallies – was demolished by the government and a Madras High Court order was issued to stop public meetings on the Marina.
- In January 2017, mass gathering of people from all over the state for six days protesting against a ban that was imposed on an old bull-taming, a cultural sport called #Jallikattu. In a bid to stop further congregation on Marina Beach, a prohibitory order under Section 144 had to be imposed.
- Many cultural events like the dance events by Swingers (famous dance school in Chennai) and music events are held in the weekends for free and sports’ events are being frequently conducted in the sandy shore of the marina.
Disastrous faced by Madras marina:
- In 1966, a cyclone in the area near the Marina, the remains are still said to be found underwater, near the coast.
- The beachfront was altered badly when gigantic waves from the Indian Ocean, Tsunami hit its shore in December 2004. Huge loss of lives marked a black phase in Marina’s history.
- In November 2012, an oil tanker, stranded due to the cyclone Nilam , ran aground. Several people thronged the shores to watch the mysterious ship.
- There was also an oil spill in January 2017 from the collision of two ships near the Ennore Port, north of Chennai, which resulted in serious ecological, biological and environmental damage to the coast-line.
Restaurants nearby marina:
- Marina Treat sea Marina beach road Timing- 4 PM to 9 PM Menu- Seafood, fast food
- Titanic Fast food Marina beach road Timing- 4 PM to 9 PM Menu- Seafood, fast food
- Mobile Restaurant of TamilNadu Fisheries development Marina beach road Timing: 24 hours Menu: a Special variety of seafood
- Domino’s Pizza Marina beach road Timing: 11 AM to 11 PM Menu: Delivery/carryout chain of a wide range of pizza plus chicken and other sides.
- Beach Castle Marina beach road Timing: 11 AM to 11 PM Menu: Fast food and snacks
- RS Sandwich Marina beach road Timing: 4 PM to 11 PM Menu: Snacks
- Mani Lassi shop Bharathi Salai, Triplicane Timing: 11 AM to 11 PM Menu: Fruit Juices and lassi
- Madbean cafe and roastery Leith Castle Centre street, Santhome. Timing: 10 AM to 10 PM Menu: Coffee, Hot drinks and snacks
- Cafe Coffee Day Santhome high road, Pattinapakkam Timing: 10 AM to 11 PM Menu: Coffee, Hot drinks and snacks
- Ghazi shawarma Near Gandhi statue, Marina beach road Timing: Full hours Menu: Snacks, Chinese, Tandoori, fast food, and seafood
- Hotel Dindugal Thalapakatti NSC Bose Road, George Town Timing: 11 AM to 11 PM Menu: Non-Vegetarian, Indian, Chinese, Tandoori, and Chettinad
- Hotel Thalapathi Triplicane high road, Triplicane Timing: 11 AM to 12 AM Menu: South Indian Chettinad food
- Nair Mess Mohd.Hussain Sahib Street, Chepauk, Near Bus stop Timing: 11.30 AM to 3 PM, 7 PM to 10 PM Menu: South Indian Non-Veg
- Ratna Cafe Triplicane high road Timing: 6 AM to 11 PM Menu: South Indian (Veg)
- Palmstore Restaurant Santhome high road, Foreshore estate Timing: 11.30 AM to 11.30 PM Menu: Indian, Chinese, Tandoori
- Rajdhani Punjabi Dhaba Mount Round, Opp.Thousand light Mosque Timing: 10.30 AM to 11 PM Menu: North Indian
- Hotel Saravana Bhavan Muthu Pandian avenue, Near santhome church Timing: 6 AM to 11 PM Menu: High-Class Veg- Indian
- Adyar Anandha Bhavan (A2B) Bharathi Salai, Triplicane Timing: 7 AM to 10.30 PM Menu: Indian (Veg)
- Sangeetha Veg Restaurant B.V.Naicken street, Santhome road, Pattinapakkam Timing: 6 AM to 11 PM Menu: Indian (Veg)
Accommodation nearby marina:
- Hotel Manhattan, 3 stars, Rs.1889 Dr.Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai.
- Clarion Hotel President, 4 stars, Rs.2,422 Dr.Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai.
- The Park Chennai, 5 stars, Rs.6,060 Anna Salai (Mount Road), Chennai. Regenta Central Deccan, 4 stars, Rs.2,323 Royapettah high road, Jagadambal colony, sripuram, teachers colony, Royapettah, Chennai.
- Peace INN, 3 stars, Rs.549 Big street, Triplicane, Chennai.
- Hotel New Park, 4 stars, Rs.2,384 Bells Road, Chepauk, Chennai.
- Fab Hotel Santhome Inn, 3 stars, Rs.2314 Santhome high road, Opp.Russian consulate, Basha garden, Mylapore,Chennai.
- Hotel New Regency, 2 stars, Rs.342 CN Krishnaswamy salai, Chepauk, Triplicane, Chennai.
- Hotel Himalaya Residency, 2 stars, Rs.468 Triplicane high road, Police quarters, Triplicane, Chennai.
- Hotel Thalapathi, 3 stars, Rs.1,440 Budget hotel, Triplicane high road, Triplicane, Chennai.
- The King’s Park, 2 stars, Rs.1,724 Triplicane high road, Triplicane, Chennai.
The lifestyle of fishermen near the marina:
- The Marina beach is sandy and is home to many fishermen communities. Fishing is abundant. This fishermen community was the worst hit during the Tsunami of 2006. They were totally destroyed and devastated.
- There are many fishing villages in Chennai which are of substantial size other than small communities. These include ten villages from Kottivakkam in the southern part of the city to Nochikuppam in the Marina; Perianeelankarai, Pattipulam, and Chemmencheri.
- The villages have electricity thanks to the government, but due to lack of maintenance most of the street lamps do not work and very few houses use electricity for lighting.
- Another problem these people face is the saline water. Summer months bring an acute shortage of drinking water which is obtained from ponds and bore wells in the other months.
- The village constitutes of houses which are constructed very close to each other. Each house is built on a plot of land measuring around 0.05 acres.
- The land is owned by the government but the fishermen have been issued “patta” which gives them the right to reside in a plot within the village.
- The fishing villages have health visitors and inspectors at frequent intervals who distribute anti-malarial drugs and other drugs that might be needed.
- Hospitals are situated about fifteen to thirty kilometers away but are well connected by bus routes. The children go to schools nearby though educational opportunities are poor.
- There are schools within walking distance but only a few opt for them since most of them work along with their parents to earn their livelihood.
- Most of the people here are Hindus. They belong to the Chettiar caste and Periapettinathavar sub-caste. Each village maintains a temple of their own for their favorite deity.
- There have been conversions into Christianity recently and thus small Christian communities are also prevalent among the fishermen of Chennai. Small churches can be seen in areas where the Christian population resides.
- The fishermen have no side income. Their work includes fishing in the sea and bringing the catch of the day to the shore. The marketing of the fish is mainly done by the womenfolk who wait with baskets on shore.
- Some women set shop in markets. There are also bicycle vendors or traders in a village who goes fishing as well as sell the fishes using their bicycles.
- Fishermen have seen to remain in their villages and rarely migrate. Sons carry on with their father’s profession and this seems to continue for generations.
- There are two types of boats used, masula boat for beaches and kattumaram. The boats are owned by a single person, but joint ownership is also occasionally seen. Each village owns around four to five masula.
- The number of kattumaram differs from village to village. The nets used for fishing are made of nylon and cotton. The nylon nets are of three types, kavalaivalai, araivalai, and thatakavalai.
- The catch is divided in such a manner that half of a share is given to the kattumaram owner, a half to the net owner and the rest are distributed among the crew.
- Fishing with large nets like madhavalai, edavalai and paindavali require four kattumarams and ten to twenty fishermen. The sharing here differs from community to community.
- The village judicial system is unique. There is a traditional village council. The number of members differs in each village.
- The members are selected on the basis of heredity. The village headman is selected by the villagers from among themselves.
- Both village and private affairs are discussed and settled at village meetings. These include a variety of problems, like activities of outsiders, deprived, financial concerns of the village, conflicts between individuals etc.
- Women are not allowed to become council members. They are also not allowed to attend meetings or participate in selecting a head man. The male dominance is very high in the community.
- The fishermen community lives under financial troubles and thus government along with the Confederation of Indian Industry are working on programs that would redefine fishing practices and lead to the introduction of international standards and practices in fishing.
- For all these new ideas to be implemented, the fishermen and their mindset have to be transformed so that they adopt sea farming technologies and make use of processing technologies leaving their outdated methods.
- This would make them financially sustainable and would lead to their children and families enjoying a higher standard of life.
Things to do near Marina beach:
- The popular Malls and Multiplex nearby Marina includes Express Avenue and Escape cinemas which is 1.3 miles away from Marina. Sathiyam cinemas at 1.6 miles and the shopping mall in Anna Salai (Mount road) is Spencer Plaza at 1.5 miles near LIC building.
- Hameedia shopping mall in Triplicane high road at 0.5 miles from Marina and Parry corner bazaar trailing in George Town market is a shop by walk market where you can find many goods at low prices but you have to make sure with the quality of the product before purchase.
- The stadiums nearby Marina beach is M.A.Chidambaram stadium also called as chepauk is a famous cricket ground that hosted many international, national and domestic cricket matches.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is a multipurpose stadium and has a capacity of 40,000 is opposite to Chennai park station at kannappar thidal, periyamet. It hosts football matches and athletic competitions and sometimes music concerts, dance shows, and cultural events during the festival seasons.
- Mylapore: A famous and historical town near the beach at 1.5 miles distance, where you find the oldest temple structures (kapaleshwar temple) and tasty filter coffees. Chennai city center, the shoppers’ favorite destination is located in Mylapore at Dr.Radhakrishanan road, 1.5 miles away from Marina.
- Santhome cathedral rebuilt in 1896 in santhome high road which is 1.5 miles away towards the south of marina and Thousand lights mosque build in the 1800s located in Anna Salai at 1.3 miles towards west are some of the holy places nearby Marina beach.
- Lighthouse: 2.9 miles from the north end of the beach is a concrete lighthouse opened in 1977, standing at 46 m and with a viewing gallery open to the public for sighting the beauty of marina during the day hours.
- TTDC- Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation for guiding the tourist during the day hours is located in wallajah road, Tourism complex at 1.1 miles from marina beach shore.
- Chennai Museum in Egmore located in pantheon road, 2 km from Marina beach. A very old and famous library Connemara Public Library at Egmore, Chennai is one of the four National Depository Libraries which receive a copy of all books, newspapers and periodicals published in India.
How to reach Marina, Chennai:
- By Air: Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA) is the main airport serving people taking flights to Chennai or from Chennai. Located in Meenambakkam, the airport is 21 km away from Marina, which you can reach by Local Call Taxies. Major domestic carriers operate direct flights to Chennai and from the city, while all major international carriers fly from and to the city.
- By Rail: Chennai houses the headquarters of Southern Railway, one of the 17 zones of the Indian Railways. Three of the major railway stations in the city are Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore (2 km away from Marina) and Tambaram (Which lies in the suburban, southern end of Chennai corporation). Most Super fast, Express and Passengers’ trains travel to Chennai on a daily basis, with direct connectivity to top metropolitan cities in India.
- By Road: The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal (CMBT) connects the major cities in and around TamilNadu which is the second largest bus terminus in Asia. The Start and end point of Chennai Metropolitan City buses that connects all the four directions of the city which is located 8.1 miles away from Marina. The popular bus number 27B from CMBT to Anna square connects the marina beach.
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**This article taken from own knowledge and variant sources