Two people at Marina beach

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Marina Beach

Chennai (Madras)

Take an early morning or evening stroll (you don’t want to roast here at any other time) along the 3km-long main stretch of Marina Beach and you’ll pass cricket matches, flying kites, fortune-tellers, fish markets, corn-roasters and families enjoying the sea breeze. But don’t swim: strong rips make it dangerous. At the southern end, the ridiculously popular Madras Lighthouse is India's only lighthouse with a lift; the panoramic city and beach views are fabulous.

Kamarajar Salai, flanking the beach, is lined with particularly fine Indo-Saracenic buildings, among them Presidency College and the University of Madras' Senate House.