For Chennaiites, the only times when the sun feels even a little bit endearing is during sunrise and sunset. Unlike the scorching intensity with which it shines down throughout the day, the warmth of the sunset in particular, for Chennaiites, is an experience unlike any other and something hard to put into words.
Being a coastal city, Chennai also has the added bonus of the sea breeze setting in with the sunset that cools the city after every hot day. So if you’re not content with catching the last glimpse of the sun from your terrace, then here are some of the best places you can visit to take in some of the best sunset views.
Sunset at Marina Beach is an indispensable part of Chennai’s culture and is something everyone visiting the city needs to experience at least once. While the Marina is quite busy with runners and regulars in the mornings as well, it is in the evenings, around sunset, that the beach really comes alive. As the sun descends, the beach starts getting busy with numerous fast food counters and stalls selling miscellaneous items ranging from toys to souvenirs. While the sunset view might be quite similar from any beach in Chennai, what really sets the Marina apart is its sheer size which makes sure that even if you are surrounded by a thousand people, you still have the space to breathe and enjoy the sunset. And let’s not forget that Marina also has the tallest lighthouse in the region, which provides spectacular sunset views.
Sunset at Marina might be more iconic, but witnessing it at Besant Nagar Beach is surely the classier destination of the two. The Besant Nagar Beach, or ‘Bessie’ for short, is known as a couples’ paradise. Unlike Marina, which is popular for street food stalls and more touristy experiences, Besant Nagar Beach is best-known for its cafes, restaurants and dessert spots where one can sit at leisure and take the time to enjoy the sunset.
Sunrise and sunset are often considered synonymous with beaches in Chennai. But the only experience in the city that comes close to looking at the sun disappearing into the azure blue of the Bay of Bengal is experiencing sunset from atop the St. Thomas Mount. Hiking up this hill is a breeze and can be done within the hour and once you reach the top, what’s in store for you is a 360-degree view of the city with the sun sinking in the horizon that is unparalleled. It might not be as touristy as the beaches, but St. Thomas Mount boasts a culture and history that has been alive for nearly 2,000 years.
Witnessing sunset at the Broken Bridge in Adyar is an experience that has been a local favourite for decades now. Particularly popular among couples and youngsters as a hangout spot, Broken Bridge is one of the few places in the city where tourism has still not penetrated, making the experience as raw and non-touristy as possible. This disused bridge is barely a few feet in width and leads nowhere. But what it lacks in utility, it more than makes up for with the spectacular views of the Adyar Estuary that it provides. While sunset at Broken Bridge is a magical experience, make sure not to stay up late since this spot is also popular among criminals and delinquents after dark.
Taking a drive along the East Coast Road is a sunset ritual in Chennai that is as old as the idea of long drives itself. Hugging the beach throughout its length, the East Coast Road is a treasure trove of experiences and boast several resorts, restaurants, and cafes with brilliant sea views. Stop anywhere within the 20-kilometer length it runs inside city limits to view the sunset, and you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed. Some of the more popular venues to witness the sunset along ECR are places such as Kovalam and ECR/Akkarai Beach, Iskcon Temple, and commercial establishments such as VGP resorts and Kipling Cafe.
Experiencing sunsets at parks and green spaces is a time honoured tradition that is popular across the world. And three of the best parks in Chennai to experience sunset are at the Tower Park in Anna Nagar, Semmozhi Poonga in Teynampet and the sprawling Adyar Eco Park in Adyar. These three parks, all of which are spread across acres and acres of greenery and manicured gardens are integral to the local culture of the neighbourhoods they are located in and attract a large number of regular visitors every evening. Whether it is taking in the evening sea breeze at Adyar Eco Park, going for a sunset walk at Tower Park or simply killing time watching ducks at the pond at Semmozhi Poonga, these parks present a sunset experience unlike any other in Chennai.
While the Chennai MRTS isn’t exactly a destination, it deserves a spot on this list purely for the sheer number of vantage points it presents for viewing the sunset in Chennai. Going on a ride at sunset on the MRTS railway line will let you have the experience of viewing the sunset from a dozen different places all at once. Starting at Velachery, where the station overlooks the Pallikaranai marshlands, the MRTS line crosses the Adyar River and Mylapore, and finally onto the Marina beach at Chepauk, all the while giving commuters excellent views of the sunset. And since the route runs on an elevated track, it towers above the buildings and most other establishments, to present commuters with some of the most spectacular sunset views they can get in Chennai.