The Marina Beach is the favourite place for people from all walks of life and is also an important landmark of the city. Right from morning walkers to children who take over the sands during evening and senior citizens who spend their time talking about the daily happenings with friends, everyone has a bonding with the beach. Walking the three-kilometre stretch from the Lighthouse to the Napier Bridge could be a learning experience about pre and post Independence years, as several statues dot the lush greenery of the beach. It would be quite fascinating to know about the statues installed in the Marina.

The Chennai Corporation, which maintains the beach, had compiled details of the statues on the beach for the Marina Beach Beautification project.

As per the details of the civic body, the earliest statue to be installed at the Marina was the Labour statue. The ‘Triumph of Labour,' sculpture depicting Labour Commemoration, was installed based on the famous World Ward II photograph showing American Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima.

The other important statue is of Mahatma Gandhi – the father of nation, in a ‘March to Dandi' pose. The statue was sculpted by Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury, who was also the first Indian Principal of the Madras School of Arts and Crafts. Subsequently, the enchanting Marina was further adorned in 1968 with the statues of the Tamil literary luminaries of Avvaiyar, Thiruvalluvar, Kambar, Subramania Bharathi and Bharathi Dasan, with the re-installed statue of Kannagi, the heroine of the epic Silappathikaram, finding her rightful space.

Some of the European missionaries such as Bishop Caldwell, Pope and Father Beschi who made contributions to Tamil language have also found a place on the sands.

Other national leaders whose statues are to be found at the lawns of the beach are Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and Kamaraj. This beach was turned into a resting place for former Chief Ministers of the State - Annadurai and M.G. Ramachandran.

The last addition to the statues list on the beach is that of Thespian ‘Sivaji' Ganesan.

Keywords: Marina Beach

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