Tamil Nadu’s coastline, the second-longest in India after Gujarat, is dotted with beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters. While many spend their time exploring the staggering 33,000 temples the state is most famous for, its coastal beauty is also worth discovering.
Arguably Tamil Nadu’s most popular seaside, Marina Beach has been a symbolic landmark and popular hangout spot ever since the days of the British Raj
. The iconic Marina Promenade, which boasts wide walkways, gardens and a number of memorials and statues, takes over nearly half of Marina’s 13-kilometre stretch. Its local fair-like feel is perfect for a family day out. Find amusement rides for kids, activities suitable for both adults and children and street food stalls offering iconic dishes, such as bhajjis,
fried fish and corn.
Besant Nagar Beach
Located in Tamil Nadu’s capital city Chennai, Besant Nagar Beach is popular among both the young and the old. The seaside is dotted with top-rated restaurants, such as Cozee and Mash, as well as street food stalls. With movies being filmed here often enough, a skating rink at one end and many people exercising around its length, the place is always buzzing with activity. Make a day of it and see the nearby must-visit attractions, such as the Theosophical Society, Adyar Eco Park and the Besant Nagar Velankanni Church.
While architectural and historic landmarks, such as the Shore Temple
, tend to get more eyes, Mahabalipuram’s pristine and scenic beaches are not to be missed either. Due to popular new-age cafes – such as the Bob Marley Cafe – shacks and resorts popping up around town, more people have started visiting the Mahabalipuram, Pallava and Ideal beaches. The past few years have also seen Mahabalipuram’s beaches become a popular surfing destination, thanks to the presence of highly-rated surf schools, such as the Mumu Surf School and Surfboard Rental.
Often called the ‘lost land’, Dhanushkodi was abandoned following a cyclone in 1964 and lies in ruins. However, it is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the state. Away from tourist crowds, the town’s serenity, ruins of churches and temples, white sand beaches, turquoise blue waters and gorgeous sunrise and sunsets are all part of its charm. Located just off the town of Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi
is difficult to reach as no direct buses go there. Despite this, its inaccessible nature is part of its appeal and those interested in making the trip can hire a private car.
Located nearly 160 miles south of Chennai along the Coromandel Coast is the ghost town of Tranquebar, a quaint settlement that was once home to the Danes
. The golden sands of Tranquebar Beach are located just behind Dansborg Fort, one of the few remnants of Danish influence in India. The attraction, and its surrounding area, is a great example of Danish architecture. Although hard to reach, this secluded gem on the Bay of Bengal is perfect for those looking to escape crowds and who fancy something unique.
Kanyakumari’s rocky beaches are famed for their stunning sunrise and sunset points. What makes them even more special is the fact that they’re the meeting point of three bodies of water – the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Since most of the beach is covered in water, people may find it difficult to secure a dry patch of sand to sit on. Don’t expect to go swimming since the high tide and rocks make it dangerous. The Vivekananda Rock Memorial and the Thiruvalluvar Statue are just a few of the must-visit attractions in the area.
One of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches on the Coromandel Coast, Kovalam Beach lies less than 20 kilometres from Chennai along the ECR. Apart from its natural beauty, Kovalam is known for its wealth of high-end hotels and restaurants, such as the Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove. Considered a great surfing destination, the beach is also home to Chennai’s leading surf school, the Bay of Life Surf School
, which provides professional training and surfboard rentals.
Often considered part of Pondicherry, Auroville Beach is a jewel that belongs to Tamil Nadu. Located in Bommapalayam, just north of Pondicherry, it is most popular for being the closest beach to Auroville – an experimental township that has one of the largest populations of immigrants in India. While the waters are dangerous for swimming, the beach is often the least crowded near Pondicherry and is easily accessible from the arterial East Coast Road
. It is also a popular nesting ground for the Olive Ridley sea turtles in the region.