The longest beach in India is Marina Beach, located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It extends for over 12 km from Besant Nagar to the North, at Fort St.George. It is one of India’s most visited beaches, attracting millions of tourists every year.
Being one of the second largest beaches in the world, Marina Beach has become a popular tourist destination with travelers visiting from all over India and abroad too. There are many hotels near this beach that offer accommodation for people who come to visit here.
Historical Buildings to Visit
Marina Beach is also home to some of the most historical buildings in Chennai. Built-in the late 19th century during British rule, these buildings reflect the importance of this beach as a major port city.
Here is a list of some of the historical buildings that you should visit if you are planning to go for a walk along Marina Beach:
Senate House at the University of Madras
This building was constructed in 1873 as a memorial to Lord Ripon, who was known as the ‘father of modern India’. It served as a library when it was first built but now houses administrative offices. The building has three domes made of granite and limestone, visible from afar.
British rulers established this college in 1817 as an institution for higher education for Indians. It has been ranked among India’s best colleges since 2011 by Outlook magazine and has produced many eminent personalities, including former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1947).
Fort St George
Fort St George is the oldest British fort in India and is situated on Marina beach. It was built by the British East India Company in 1640 and later used as a base for its operations in South India. The French took over the fort in 1746 before being recaptured by the British in 1749. It was also used as an administrative center for Chennai’s municipal corporation from 1887 to 1923. Today, Fort St George houses government offices, museums, and an art gallery; it is also home to Tamil Nadu’s Legislative Assembly.
Local Landmarks with Magnificent Detail
The shores along the Marina beach are lined with magnificent landmarks and memorials, including:
Valluvar Kottam is a memorial built for the Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar who lived during the 1st century CE. This temple was built by Madras High Court Judge Justice Kuppuswami Chettiar in 1953 at the cost of Rs 2 million (20 million rupees) at Madras University campus in the Egmore area, which is just off Gemini Flyover on Rajaji Salai (formerly known as Doulat Ram Road). The structure was built using granite from Ooty, Italy, and Germany and sandstone from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan state. It has three towers (tower height of approximately 50 feet each) with statues of Thiruvalluvar, Saint Kabilar, and Saint Kannanar (“three saints”).
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (M G R Memorial)
This memorial is located at the northern end of the Marina beach and is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. It was opened on January 30th, 1975 to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who passed away on January 30th, 1948. The structure was designed by Padma Shri awardee sculptor Vijayendra Rao and built by K. Balasubramanian & Co., Madras. The memorial has been built as per Gandhiji’s words, “My life is my message,” inscribed on its walls that represent his non-violent philosophy through its design elements, such as a raised plinth.
The lighthouse is located at the southern end of Marina Beach and was built in 1864 by the British. This lighthouse was designed by Sir Arthur Thomas, who also designed the Pattanam Lighthouse. The original lamp was changed to an electric bulb in 1912. The current structure has been renovated several times over the years and houses an exhibition on Chennai’s maritime history.
Anna and MGR Samadhis
Anna Memorial is dedicated to the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Anna Durai (1884-1962). He was popularly known as Anna (elder brother) among his supporters. He served as the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency from 1937 to 1939 and became Chief Minister again from 1952 to 1954 after serving as Governor of West Bengal from 1950 to 1952.
Both had died in the early 1990s, but their memories still remain strong among people here. Their samadhis are placed just behind the lighthouse so that they can be easily seen from anywhere in this area.
Must Taste Seafood Around the Beach
Marina beach offers a variety of seafood delicacies that tourists can enjoy while they are there. Several stalls sell different kinds of seafood dishes. These stalls can be found both along the beach and the road leading to it.
Here are some must-taste seafood around the beach stalls:
This is one of the most common dishes served on the beach. Prawns are deep fried and served with garlic dip, curry leaves, and spices. It’s really mouth-watering. You can find these all over Marina Beach, and they are delicious!
Fish Fry is another popular dish you can enjoy with your family or friends. Fish Fry is made by marinating fish pieces in spices and frying them to golden brown perfection! You can find this dish at most restaurants near the beach or even at roadside vendors! So make sure to try it before leaving Chennai!
Crabs are considered a delicacy here in Chennai; they are quite expensive but definitely worth it! You will find crab dishes at most restaurants that serve seafood, such as Chettinad cuisine. Crab curry with rice is one of the most famous dishes these restaurants serve; however, there are other tasty options too, such as crab masala or crab biryani (rice cooked with spices).
Marina Beachfront Restaurants to Visit
Do you need more than the stalls beside the beach have to offer? There are plenty of beachfront restaurants on this beach where you can eat and drink.
KFC Santhome is situated near Santhome Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Chennai. You can get a variety of chicken dishes from here at reasonable prices. Their fried chicken and popcorn chicken are quite popular among customers, and many people come here just for these items only! They also have other items like burgers, sandwiches, and wraps available on their menu.
Grill Box Restaurant
This restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes along with other snacks like French fries and chicken burgers. You can choose between sitting inside or outside at this restaurant depending on how much sun you want to get on your face while eating your meal. They also serve cool beverages like lassi, which goes well with their different dishes like grilled prawns and fried fish cutlet, so make sure to try them out if you visit this restaurant!
Domino’s Pizza is one of the best restaurants you can eat from when visiting Marina Beach. Their pizza is delicious and they have a wide variety of choices. You can order your pizza online and then pick it up at the counter. The staff are very friendly and will help you find seating if needed. The only downside to this restaurant is that it can sometimes be crowded and loud.
Spartans Fast Food
Spartans Fast Food is another great option for eating while at Marina Beach. They serve burgers, fries, sandwiches, and more! Their food tastes great, and they have many options for vegetarians and meat eaters! But, again, this place can get crowded quickly, so if you have time, make sure to get there early enough to get a table before all the other tourists do!
Book Lovers can visit:
Connemara Library is a library located on the expanse of Marina Beach in Chennai. It was established in the year 1996 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Indian independence. The library was named after Lord Connemara, the Governor of Madras Presidency in 1874, who donated his collection to start a public library in Madras city.
The Connemara Public Library is managed by the Tamil Nadu State Government and has over one lakh books on various subjects, including History and Literature, Art and Culture, etc., which readers can read without any restrictions or charges.
Fun Activities to Enjoy Around the Beach
There are many attractions at this place that will surely keep you engaged for hours together! Here are some fun activities that can be done at Marina Beach in Chennai.
SmartBike Stations with Bikes for Hire
The SmartBike stations have been set up along this stretch to provide an option for those who wish to ride their own bikes around the beach area instead of walking or jogging on it. You can rent these bikes from any nearby SmartBike station and ride around freely without any worries about traffic signals or other traffic rules!
Morning Walk or Jog along the shore
The beach has a wide promenade to walk on where you can see the beautiful sunrise, an early morning jog or run is sure to energize you for the day ahead. It is also a great place to take long walks and enjoy a stroll with your friends and family.
Sunset Views at the Beach
One of the most beautiful sights you will see here is the sunset over the sea. The sun slowly sets behind the horizon and paints it in different shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple. This sight is worth capturing on camera for posterity. The beach shores are also famous for their volleyball courts where people come together to play different kinds of games such as volleyball or football matches. You can go there with your friends or colleagues and have a good time playing these games or even watch others play.
There are many good things at the Marina beach in Chennai, India; you don’t want to miss all these!