Several new features have already been added to the landmark that hosts ten memorials
In another month, Gandhi Mandapam, one of Chennai’s landmarks, will be all spruced up.
Passers-by along Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, cannot have missed the workers and equipment involved in beautifying the various memorials in the complex for the past nine months. Spread over 18 acres, Gandhi Mandapam comprises ten memorials, including those for Mahatma Gandhi and former chief ministers Rajaji and Bhakthavatchalam.
By February, visitors to the Gandhi Mandapam need not struggle for space to park their vehicles as a facility has been created to accommodate up to 120 vehicles. The area around the memorial pillar featuring an eagle has been spruced up with a pathway and lawns. It was established in 1992 to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Quit India Movement.
In a bid to attract more visitors, several new features are being added to the complex in addition to the structural repairs to the memorials. Sources in the Public Works Department, which is implementing the Rs.11.61 crore project, said that about 70 per cent of the work to renovate the complex is complete. Gandhi Mandapam, the oldest among the memorials, has been improved into an amphitheatre with a seating capacity of over 900.
Work to fix leaky roofs in all the memorials, including those for Dalit leader Rettamalai Srinivasan and the freedom fighters, and the construction of a compound wall have also been completed.
The structure displaying the oil extractor (chekku) used by freedom fighter V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, which had a temporary roof, would soon sport striking motifs on a concrete ceiling.
Workers are now involved in landscaping the lawns in the complex. The department is also co-ordinating with the Forest Department to plant saplings of indigenous species around the premises. “We also plan to provide water fountains and ornamental lighting,” an official said.
The department also plans for a recreational facility, including benches, around the lily pond being constructed at the rear of Gandhi Mandapam. Index boards will be installed to help visitors easily locate and learn more about the memorials and the Gandhi and Rajaji museum.