Except for a few old trees and a handful of old structures, Krishna Nagar hardly has any trace of its past

As the sun casts its first rays across the skies, the temple bells chime synchronously. After the morning ablutions are done, the priests get busy with prayers. A few hours later, the chime of the bells gets drowned in a cacophony of noises at the busy junction.

This is the scene on a regular day at the Zilla Parishad junction near the Krishna temple.

For several years now, the residents of Krishna Nagar have been waking up to a mix of sounds. With hospitals and healthcare clinics, it is hard to believe that the same place was once a spread of cashew plantations and green stretches of mango and ‘jamun’ trees.

Interestingly, the locality was previously known as ‘Sarma Gardens’.

“The name was given because Sir B.N. Sarma, who was a member of the Viceroy Council in the pre-independence era, used to own the land here,” says G. Nirmala, a resident of Krishna Nagar, who has been living there for over seven decades.

True to the name of the place, the area in those days resembled a garden with plenty of breeze and a direct view of the sea.

“As a kid, I remember studying under the mango tree next to our house here on summer afternoons. Those days, the area was so breezy that there was no need to use fans,” says Dr. Nirmala.

The locality was a reflection of the affluence of society with palaces of the Jeypore Maharaja and the Zamindar of Kasimkota located in the vicinity.

“The area where the Krishna temple stands today used to be a trench belonging to the Maharaja of Jeypore. It was much later that the temple came up,” she says.

Over the years, as the city grew, the colony turned into a concrete jungle.

Today, save for a few clumps of old trees and a handful of individual houses and old structures, Krishna Nagar hardly has any trace of its past.

Among the other old structures of the colony is the Andhra University Ladies Hostel. The place was once home to C.R. Reddy, the founder of Andhra University.

A walk towards the other side of the street leads to yet another towering old structure — the St. Joseph’s Hospital. The tall walls of the hospital have been a witness to many stories of silent perseverance and selfless service since its inception in 1962.

“This does not have the feel of a hospital. It is a home for patients,” says Sister Claire, hospital administrator.

In the 1960s and 70s, King George Hospital, or KGH, and St Joseph’s Hospital were the only major two health centres in the city.

The hospital caters to 300 in-patients today.

Now, a plethora of hospitals and speciality health clinics dot the streets and lanes of the place. The approaches of the lanes are few and narrow.

“There isn’t an inch of space left vacant in this area,” says Sheila Jackson, director of Olivet School.

Located adjacent to the Krishna temple, Olivet School was started in 1979 by her parents. She is one of the few original residents of Krishna Nagar, who has seen the colony grow from a canopy of greens to one of the busiest localities of the city.

“In the past two decades, many families sold their plots and houses here and moved to other parts of the city or migrated to cities like Hyderabad,” she says.

Not a garden anymore, Krishna Nagar today is an image of urban development and its effects.

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