|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Chennai Airport
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight / Train.|
MINIMUM 3 NIGHT PACKAGE IS SUGGESTED FOR COMFORTABLE SIGHTSEEING OF MARINA BEACH.
Before the 16th century, there was a frequent incident of inundation of land near the coast due to the 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 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 progradation. 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 Independence, the Triumph of Labour statue and the Gandhi statue in ‘march to Dandi’ stride, which has been duplicated on the lawns of the Parliament House, was erected on the beach. In 1968, a number of statues of icons of Tamil literature were erected to mark the first World Tamil Conference, including Avvaiyar, Tiruvalluvar, Kambar, Subramania Bharathiyar, 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. Later an addition was a statue for Kamaraj. In December 2016, then CM J. Jayalalithaa was also laid to rest here, inside the M.G.R. Memorial campus and a foundation stone for construction of a memorial for her there has been laid. On 8 August 2018, former CM M. Karunanidhi was laid to rest beside his mentor Annadurai at the Marina Beach.
The Marina beach was famed for its pristine beauty, jolly ambience, and rich ecosystems. However, since the middle of the 20th century, the beach and water have become polluted. The 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 beach.
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 Kamaraj 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, M. G. Ramachandran, J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi, former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, are present on the northern end of the promenade known as the Anna Square. As of May 2018, a Lilliputian Children’s Traffic Park was under construction near the Anna Memorial adjacent to the Anna Swimming Pool at a cost of ₹20.7 million. The traffic park measures 4,140 square meters, with facilities such as a viewing gallery, walking track, children’s play area, traffic signboards, and a riding track. 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. The statues along the promenade are (from north to south)