Any scorching sunny day in Madras is downed by chasing the waves and getting lost in the sands of Marina, an eternal iconic symbol of Madras. Marina was, and will always be the icon to Madras.Marina, the second largest urban beach in the world, holds the first place in the hearts of the people of Madras.
Marina has brought trade and cultural exchange to Madras, right from its early days, in addition to the trade winds as always. Also, Marina, literally translated as “sea promenade” has stood true to its name right from the day it was christened by General Duff.
A major catalyst in the urbanization of Madras, has also contributed to its socio cultural, economic and cultural significance. The promenade from the Fort St. George to the Elliots beach is dotted with numerous Indo –Sarcenic buildings, the major seats of knowledge-the Presidency College, The Queen Mary’s, University of Madras. It houses the erstwhile seat of the state administration- St. George Fort and the present day hot seat –the Secretariat. The ceremonial parades of the armed forces are held on the sands of Marina every year.
The light house in Marina has been the path finder for Marine traders. The present day business network of Madras is enhanced by the Chennai Port and one can’t fail to notice the dock in the horizon. The visit in the early hours, uncovers the life of the native fishermen, the true sons of the sea.
The cricket craze city is comforted by playing beach cricket in the sands of Marina or by cheering up the players at the Chepauk Stadium across. Now the crowd looks forward to the splendid beach volleys and the annual marathon along the beach too.
One relishes the past with a stroll in the Marina, dotted by the memorials of Anna and MGR, the triumph of labour statue, the Gandhi marching to Dandi, and the timeless Tamil saints and poets frozen in stone, the famous Ice house, now the Vivekanda Memorial ending with the Karl Schmidt memorial in Bessie.
The other wise calm and tranquil beach has been a witness to some fiery political meetings, rallies and demonstrations during every other election season. The trend continues to this day as Marina is stage for the various awareness shows, rainbow parades and pride walks.
Scores of people throng Marina to beat the heat, to relish the mouth watering seafood and bajjis, to shoot out balloons, to run wild with kites and at times just to get engulfed in the magnitude of the waves and listen to the hum of the sea. But all roads lead to Marina, on the day of Kaanum pongal when families give their customary visit here, on the day of get together.
The urban scenario in Madras today has been witnessing mushrooming malls, multiplexes and theatres but the Marina is still the favourite hot spot of youngsters and old alike, the nature’s best jogging track, and the abode for lovers, and has the best eateries in the city that offer you sundals, bajjis, seafood, corn, cotton candy, ice cream, kulfi and what not. You can have your fortune read out by the people lurking around to read your finger prints, palm and face and at times with a card drawn by a parrot. You can feel on top of the world riding racing horses whose reins are secure in the hands of its trainers. The sands of Marina are also a home and a night stay for the scores of people who throng the beach when the city refuses them a place to stay.
One can go here and be awestruck by the lazy morning sun and bustling local life or walk for sum hot piping food on a hotter noon, or even watch the dramatic change of activities at the dusk or just forget oneself, staring at the horizon, deafened by the roars of the waves washing across your feet and feel timid in front of the vast ocean which never rests even when the metro retires to sleep, calm yet maddening at the same time, the true spirit of Marina.
A visit to Marina is a travel made into a journey and a moment etched as a memory; this is a salute to the icon of Madras, that’s here to stay forever.
Post by: Valaikodi
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