Table of contents for Chennai Diaries
“Down to the beach
Down to the beach
On a sunny day we go
Where mostly good vibes flow”
Today’s menu for Chennai series are Marina beach, Elliott Beach (Besant Nagar beach) and Thiruvanmiyur beach.
Chennai is Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, The old corporation limit of Chennai has a total coast length of about 19 km, which has more than doubled with the expanded corporation limits.
So let’s first see the longest beach of India i.e. Marina Beach.
Marina Beach – Chennai is fortunate to have world’s second longest beach of world within its city limit. Marina Beach is an urban beach in the city along the Bay of Bengal, part of the Indian Ocean. The beach runs from near Fort st. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south, a distance of 13 km , making it the longest natural urban beach in the country and the world’s second longest. The Marina beach is primarily sandy. The average width of the beach is 300 m and the width at the widest stretch is 437 m.
Marina beach is a major tourist attraction of the city. This sea is rough and the waves here are strong. People visiting Chennai make a point to visit the beach. It is also the main place for the local people to escape from the summer heat. This beach is always crowded attracting about 30,000 – 50,000 visitors everyday. The beach has around 450-500 shops and stalls run by local vendors. It is an ideal hangout place for people of all ages. There are two swimming pools along the stretch maintained by Chennai Corporation.
Now, my opinion about this beach. It is definitely a longest beach but if you really want to enjoy Beach and sea then this is not the right place. What I really didn’t like about this beach is that we can not enjoy at the beach as after Tsunami bathing and Swimming are prohibited in this beach. Secondly Width of beach is very much and walking on sand for this much distance is really difficult. So if you are really interested in enjoying at Beach then you must visit Thiruvanmiyur beach. So, one should not go to Marina Beach? No, I am not saying that, please do visit Marina and enjoy the beautiful statues on the Marina Beach and the beautiful heritage buildings on the other side of Marina Beach Road. Marina being the primary area for recreation and tourism, the entire stretch features numerous statues and monuments that have come up over the years. Beach path is known as Kamarajar Salai. The eastern side of the road is a beach and the western side is full of government Institutions and historic and stately buildings like University of Madras, Vivekananda House, and Police Headquarters etc. My personal favourite building here is Police Headquarters. I really like this building.
As there are hundreds of shops at this beach, one can get water,coldrinks, juices and snacks at this shops. Famous food here could be either Chilli Bhajji (Chilli Pakoda) or Kela Bhajji (Raw banana pakoda) or Raw Mango or bhel.
The next beach at Chennai is Elliott Beach at Besant Nagar (Near Adyar).
Elliot’s Beach – Elliot’s Beach (popularly known as “Besant Nagar Beach” or “Bessie”) is located in Besant nagar, Chennai. It forms the end-point of the Marina Beach shore and is named after Edward Elliot, Governor of Madras.
The beach is a prominent hang-out zone for most of the college-going crowd in Chennai. On weekends, it becomes quite an experience to find parking space on the beach roads. The beach also has found importance with families, who now no longer travel to the famous Marina Beach.
It is a nice, calm and clean beach. One should not walk a lot to reach shore or to touch water. The parapet wall that separates the beach area and road is a good place to sit if you do not want to walk in sand and to see water. There are number of stalls at this beach selling food items, toys etc. There is a police outpost at the beach and the crowd is policed by means of all terrain vehicles to prevent drowning mishaps. The best part of this beach is that there are number of Eat out places near to the beach right from Murugan Idli shop offering south Indian Idli dosa to Barista offering café, papa john’s pizza, cascade restaurant serving continental food where as Vishranti food joint gives economical and tasty south Indian,north Indian and Chinese food. There is also Velankanni church near to this beach and Ashtalaxmi* and Murugan temple are also in a closer proximity to this beach.
The best time to visit this beach is either early morning till 11’o clock and evening 4’o clock to 10’o clock.
Next beach is Thiruvanmiyur beach .
Thiruvanmiyur Beach – This beach is located in the Thiruvanmiyur locality of Chennai and can be easily accessible if you are travelling on ECR i.e. East Coast Road(Landmark on ECR for this beach is Thiruvanmiyur RTO).This beach can be termed as starting point of a beach which leads to Mahabalipuram. The Italian and Indian restaurants near the beach add to the attraction for visitors who come to the beach. The beach is easily accessible by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses of Chennai.
This is one of my favourite hangout places. It is the cleanest beach I have ever seen with less crowds. Less width so no need to walk too much to touch water. The parapet wall for sitting is so perfect that one can really enjoy sea. Few stall are available for snacks and water. There is also a police outpost at this beach continuously monitoring at the crowd. I am again and again mentioning about Police because I had a very good experience with Chennai police. Once I lost my wallet while travelling in MTC bus. As soon as I realised that I lost my wallet, I quickly cancelled all my credit and debit cards and thought it was just a loss of Rs 600/- and a driving license. After four days I got a call from police station asking me to come down to police station to collect my wallet which they found on road. I was shocked. Although I was not in a mood to go to police station just to collect my 100/- worth wallet but as police had done their duties to inform me about my wallet, I went there to pick my wallet. We were very scared to enter inside the police station as it was our first time also was praying GOD that it should be last. We also thought they will expect some money from our end for returning our wallet and driving license. When we went there a lady inspector quickly gave us our wallet, took a signature and work done. Nothing expected from us. She informed that a passenger found my wallet on road, he handed over wallet to Mobile police van. From driving institute they searched my phone number and thus closing their case. WOW, I am impressed with Chennai Police and Chennai city security. Back to beach , Horse riding is also available at this beach. The negative side of this beach is that it remains deserted during morning hours and crowd comes only in evening with major crowd on Saturday and Sundays only. On other weekdays you will find only people jogging or walking at the road. So if you happen to around this beach during evening hours then it is highly recommended from my side to visit such a beautiful, calm and peaceful beach. I also had this feeling that this beach is kept reserved for local Chennaites, thus it is not advertised so much. If you are visiting this beach then you can club Marundeeswarar temple and Hare Krishna Movement temple* as both these temples are closer to this beach.
Chennai Diaries …to be continued.
In my next post I will take you to few more temples, wildlife, Chennai food, amusement parks, excursions and heritage structures. Till then my greening tip below:
Do not leave electrical appliances/equipment on standby mode. Turn off when not in use.
Ashtalaxmi temple and Hare Krishna Temple details in my next post.
PS: Some details are taken from Wikipedia / Google search.