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Marina Beach

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Chennai Marina Beach

Stretching for about 13 kms, the Marina Beach in Chennai is the 'second longest beach in the world'. Marina Beach was given pride of place by the then Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff in the early 1880s. Marina Beach, actually is no longer than 18 km or about 11.1 miles starting from Fort St.George to the beaches of Palavakkam - the southern end of the city limit. The actual Marina for the Chennai residents is barely about 9 km just upto Santhome.

Marina owes its name to the Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff who was captivated by its pristine beauty at that time. Like most British government officials who ruled over the colonial India, he didn't seek escape from the scorching heat of Madras by going up the Western Ghat mountains. Instead he built long walkways called as Promenade along the stretch and named it 'Marina' in 1884. It remains to this day - a refuge for the common populace in the city. Marina is probably one of the most polluted beaches in India, despite many attempts by the state government to clean up the beach. It is not safe for swimming as there are many dangerous under currents in the continental shelf abutting the shore. The cutaway keel of the sunken Liberty ship Damatis which ran aground just a few hundred meters off the shore in the year 1966 has resulted in dangerous eddy currents around - culminating in several deaths of swimmers.

Marina beach, in the past had been the silent venue where politicians to musicians spent time to ponder about their future course of action. They probably ate the once famous 'curry samosas' washed down with tea all from the Buharis hotel. Even now the rich and the poor walk on the tiled pavement early in the morning. The road adjacent to the beach - Beach Road as it was once called, still remains one of the arterial roads of Chennai linking the older parts of Madras - Burma Bazaar, Triplicane, Police Head Quarters building near Queen Mary's College for Women and Santhome to the relatively recent Chennai after Foreshore Estate.

The Marina is surrounded by buildings that date back to the British Raj - The Senate House of the University of Madras and the office of the Director General of Police. The aquarium is located close to the Marina Beach in Chennai. Also found in the vicinity is the Ice House. Look from Marina Beach and you will find the famous Presidency College and Chepauk Palace.

The Marina Beach has grown to become a resting place for the memorials for former chief ministers MGR and Annadurai. What was once a scenic and beautiful beach is now dotted with hawkers and vendors peddling local wares, juices and food stalls. Evenings see throngs of people crowding the beach, to take in the sand and the foam.

The tsunami that struck the southeastern coastline of India in the year 2004, battered the Marina Beach and giant waves came onto the road and some areas of the city leaving behind considerable damage and destruction to life and property.

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Marina Beach