Walk by the breezy Marine Drive on summer nights and you will see the joy of visiting Cochin. Also called the Shanmugham Road, Marine Drive is indeed the heart of Cochin.
Marine Drive is a picturesque promenade in Kochi, Kerala, India. It is built facing the backwaters, and is a popular hangout for the local populace. Ironic to its name, no vehicles are allowed on the walkway. Marine Drive is also an economically thriving part of the city of Kochi. With several shopping malls it is as an important centre of shopping activity in Kochi. Major fast food joints, including Marrybrown, DiMark, Barista, Coffee Bar are present along the walkway. The view of the setting and rising sun over the sea mouth, and the gentle breeze from the Vembanad Lake has made Marine Drive an important tourist destination in Kochi.
Hundreds of people (both natives, and tourists) throng the walkway during the evenings. The walkway starts from the High Court Junction and continues until the Rajendra Maidan. There are also several boat jetties along the walkway.
Until the 1980s, the Shanmugham Road was the literal marine drive with the Kochi Lake and the adjoining Arabian Sea to its west. In the 1980s, GCDA started the Kochi Marine Drive project (following from the Mumbai Marine Drive) and thus the whole of the present Marine Drive (part of the Kochi Lake, west of the Shanmugham Road to the present Marine Walkway) was claimed from the Kochi Lake. The then plan of GCDA was to eventually construct a road on the western border of this land, which would thus become a literal marine drive.
The Marine Drive stretches from the Jankar Jetty in the north to the Ernakulam Boat Jetty in the south. The adjoining areas are the Public Ground, Skyline apartments, Federal Bank Building, the GCDA Shopping Complex, the Kerala Trade Center (under construction), Abad Bay Pride Mall, Pioneer Towers, Hotel Taj Residency, Alliance Residency, DD Samudra Darshan apartment, and the India Priyadarshini Children's Park - in that order from North to South. These buildings and grounds are in between the marine drive walkway and the Shanmugham Road.
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