|Chennai's biggest natural asset Marina Beach is known for its golden sands, good surfing opportunities and the blue sea. This is the second longest beach in the world and the longest in Asia, Stretched across a length of 12 Kilometers. Marina beach is located on the eastern side of Chennai, adjoining the Bay of Bengal. The beach begins near Fort St. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south.
In 1880's Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff noticed the beauty of this place adjoining Bay of Bengal in Chennai and turned it into one of the most desirable holiday spots in India.
Along with soft white sands, spacious boulevards and beautiful gardens, the beach has acquired a typical South Indian aura. When blazing sun dims in the evening and starts dripping in the huge ocean, the Marina waters sparkle with the colour orange offering people a splendid view. one of the famous characteristic of the beach is the set of beautiful stone statues that adorn the roadside area of the beach. Most statues are of Indian/local legends like Mahatma Gandhi, Kannagi, Thiruvalluvar, Thanthai Periyar, Avvaiyar, Kamarajar, Bharathidasan while others have symbolic significance like the Statue of Labour. The Statue of Labour is a beautiful sculpture depicting the efforts of a team of laborers who are at strenuous, manual work. Also memorials for M. G. Ramachandran and C. N. Annadurai, former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu are present on the beach. Recently, a statue of actor Sivaji Ganesan was installed. The new lighthouse of the beach is an attraction it itself.
Close to the Marina beach is the Aquarium which has some of the most exotic collection of Tropical sea fishes and fresh water fishes. The Aquarium gives a opportunity to have a rendezvous with the aquatic life. The Ice House, which was used to store ice brought from great lakes in North America, is South to the Aquarium.
Though bathing and swimming can be dangerous, as the undercurrent is very strong, even then people come for swimming here. In the evenings, the beach is virtually a fair ground with various kinds of entertainment and food stalls lining the beach.
The beach is also one of the popular venues to hold important state functions and stately buildings of University of Madras, Senate-House, Chepauk Palace, Presidency College and Ice House, all grace the beach drive with their looming presence.
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