Names of localities of the colony often stand testimony to chapters of the past

A 140-year-old Jain temple, one of the oldest centres of alternate therapy, and a colony that has grown from a vast stretch of empty land to towering plush apartments and complexes – Buddhavarapu Gardens – is a locality that assimilates the old and the new with almost an effortless ease.

Names of localities often stand testimony to the chapters of the past. Located opposite to the Naval Coastal Battery, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, most of the land in the colony was once owned by the landlords of the Buddhavarapu family. As times changed and modernisation seeped in, the ownership of lands changed hands. And today, the colony is dotted with apartments. “A few decades ago, this area used to be surrounded by stretches of sand and earth. We had to walk more than a kilometre from here to reach the sea. But today, the sea is barely 400 metres away from the locality,” said Dr S. Lakshminarayana of Nature Cure Hospital. Founded in the 1960s, the hospital is the one of the oldest centres for alternate therapies in the city.

A walk around the lanes in Buddhavarapu Gardens mirrors the growing aspirations of the burgeoning middle-class. Barring a few scattered independent houses, the colony is fast evolving into an urban space crowded by new apartments. Interestingly, the locality has one of the city’s first sea-facing tourist guest houses - Jaabily Beach Inn. A pocket-friendly guest house, it has weathered through the highs and lows of the changing dynamics of tourism industry since 1986 when it first opened its rooms for the tourists. Despite competition from many players in the tourism business, it has managed to survive through the years. Perhaps what makes it a unique draw for many tourists is its location and attractive room rates. When it started, the room rates were a little over Rs 100, and today it has barely touched Rs 600.

Amidst the growing population of the place, different faiths and beliefs live together in harmony. Almost like the old patriarch of a family, the 140-year-old Jain temple lies in one peaceful corner of the locality. In a city that has close to 1,000 Jain families, the temple holds special significance. “The main worship centre of the temple has the ‘padukas’ of two Gurus – Sri Jindutt Suriji and Sri Jin Kushal Suriji,” said Prakash Chand Parekh, secretary of Jain Dadawadi. Over the years, the Jain Community developed a prayer and meditation centre adjoining the main place of worship. Those who have been associated with the temple remember many stories of the place. They say when a big storm hit the coast 28 years ago, it had a devastating effect on the place. “Everything was washed away. But the main place of worship where the ‘padukas’ are kept remained completely untouched by the storm,” said Parekh, who has been associated with the temple since 1975.

Because of the presence of the temple, Buddhavarapu Gardens has a sizeable presence of Jain families and also other Marwari families, who reside harmoniously with the Telugus.

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