Chennai India    

Elliots Beach

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Edward Elliots Beach

Lord Edward Elliot was the British Governor of Madras Presidency in the early 1800. He was one of the many English Administrators - who were held in esteem and respect by the local population. Lord Ripon who was the Viceroy of India was instrumental in establishing forest conservation effort in a systematic manner in India amongst other reforms. This earned him the sobriquet - 'Lord Ripon Engal Appan' from the Madras people. The Madras Corporation's H.Q. still bears his name as 'Ripon Building'. Same way Edward Elliot's name graces the beach of Besant Nagar.

Earlier Elliots Beach was clean and frequented by the locals from Adyar and nearby area. Commercialization began after 2004. What was once famous as a clean neighborhood for a morning or evening stroll on the sands of beaches, has turned into a crowded beach front. The Oliver Ridley Sea Turtles no longer frequent this beach. Earlier you could spot a few of them if you tip toe near the broken bridge. The broken Bridge on the Besant Nagar beach was originally built in 1967 to link Santhome/Foreshore Estate with the south of Adyar. It lasted barely for a decade before it collapsed partially earning the epithet - Broken Bridge. It remains popular with South Indian movies along with the Schmidt Memorial now. A Balachander movie will usually start with a shot of Schmidt memorial.

Elliots Beach is part of the long coastline of Chennai - extending from the Madras Port to Mahabalipuram. Many of the beaches on this side are not safe for swimming as there are dangerous undercurrents. A Liberty ship ran aground just off Marina Beach in the 1960s and though the ship was broken up later, the keel structure was left behind which continues to cause undercurrent in some areas of the long beach.

The Edward Elliots Beach located at Besant Nagar is a popular spot for those seeking relief from the sweltering heat and the hustle and bustle of the city. It is lot more cleaner than the Marina Beach and boasts of a wide choice of restaurants and fast food joints nearby. Cozy restaurant is famous for Tamil Movie fans as many of the movies shoot some stunt sequence nearby. Chicken Tandoori from Cozy or the freshly fried fish from a sand side stall is something a meat eater must not miss. You will find ample car parking space and plenty of eateries around this upscale neighborhood. Ponnuswamy Restaurant, Karaikudi restaurant, KFC, Subway, Barista, Costa and the Thalappakattu restaurant are some of the famous eateries nearby.

Edward Elliots Beach

Don't miss the memorial located on the sands of the beach - a memorial for the Dutch sailor Karl Schmidt who lost his life when rescuing a local boy. At the southern end of the beach, you can find the Velankanni Church - patterned after the famous Nagapatinam Velankanni Basilica dedicated to the Lady of Good Health. The Ashtalakshmi Temple is located further down. This temple is a relatively newer temple dedicated to the eight manifestations of Goddess Mahalakshmi :

  1. Adhi Lakshmi
  2. Dhanya Lakshmi
  3. Dhairya Lakshmi
  4. Gaja Lakshmi
  5. Vidya Lakshmi
  6. Vijaya Lakshmi
  7. Santhana Lakshmi
  8. Dhana Lakshmi

In a quiet side street closer to Kalakshetra is another temple dedicated to Arupadai Murugan.

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Elliots Beach as it once was Schmidt Menorial in Elliots Beach