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The AVM Studios in Chennai (formerly Madras) are the oldest film studios in India and were founded in 1946, just one year before Independence. It is part of the South Indian film industry known somewhat jokingly as 'Chollywood' or 'Kollywood' and is home to the Tamil film industry. In 1948 the studios moved to Vadapalani in Chennai where they have remained and grown ever since. The studios produce films and TV serials, have indoor and outdoor sets and street scenes as well as all the supporting infrastructure of recording, dubbing and editing suites as well as preview cinemas. The studios are open to the public and entry is free. Opening hours are from 9.00 to 18.00 daily.
Arjuna's Penance is a carved rock relief, which dates to the 7th century and is one of the largest reliefs in the world. It stands 29 meters long and seven meters high and represents scenes from the Hindu epic story of the Mahabharata. The rock surface is covered in carved animals, people and gods and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing for the Monuments of Mahabalipuram.
The Shore Temple is believed to be the sole remaining temple from an ancient complex of seven temples which were known as the Seven Pagodas. The Shore Temple was built in the 7th century and is one of the oldest south Indian temples of Dravidian architectural style and is covered in intricate carvings. Because the temple stands so close to the sea, it has suffered centuries of corrosion from the sea-spray. Attempts to preserve it for the future led to the building of breakwaters and barriers. The Short Temple is included in the UNESCO World Heritage listing for the monuments of Mahabalipuram.
Marina Beach in Chennai is the world's second longest urban beach with only Copacabana in Brasil beating it for length. This 12 km stretch of broad sandy beach is a magnet to tourists and local people alike, as well as supporting a local fishing trade. The beach is up to 437 m wide at its widest point. The northernmost tip of the beach is near Fort St George and the southern point is Besant Negar. Bathing is illegal on the beach due to strong currents and in 2007 an average of 4 people per day died in the waters which are not patrolled by lifeguards. Many statues decorate the beach including Mahatma Gandhi and Annie Besant. 206 people died on Marina Beach during the tsunami of 2004.
The Pondicherry Promenade runs for 1.5 km alongside the main beach and has several landmarks along the way including the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the War Memorial, the Town Hall and a statue of Joan of Arc (the city was a French zone pre-Independence). Other attractions include an old lighthouse and art-deco era buildings that face the sea. In this hot and humid southern city, the sea breezes attract large crowds of locals and tourists to stroll along the Promenade and visit the beach. The Promenade is open at all hours and all times and carries no entrance fees.