Bowled over by the green

Anna Nagar Tower Park. Photo: K. Pichumani

Anna Nagar Tower Park. Photo: K. Pichumani   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani


Perhaps it’s the smell of freshly cut grass. Or may be it is the rhythmic chirp of birds, the clean air or the vibrant shades of green. Whatever be the charm, these pleasing patches in the city have a way of luring us to step out. Even if Chennai is said to have the lowest number of parks (260) among all metros, our team finds that these green lungs of the city are sought after by its people

Haddows Park, Nungambakkam

If you’re speeding down Haddows Road, chances are you wouldn’t have noticed this verdant space on your left. Look closer and you will see groups of walkers and children playfully wrestling each other, to have a go on the swings and the slide. Further inside, a couple of people practise yoga on a platform while the elderly play a game of badminton.

Welcome to Haddows Park. Opened in 2005, the park is a paradise for walkers and joggers . On one side is a restaurant and the enticing smell of sambar wafts through the morning air. So a breakfast visit becomes mandatory after an exercise routine. . The residents of Nungambakkam also share a sense of camaraderie thanks to the park — a couple of locals who visit often have formed the Haddows Park Club and they celebrate festivals and holidays together.


Dr. Nageswara Rao Park, Mylapore

For anyone who’s grown up in Mylapore and its vicinity, this park is an integral part of childhood memories. Once a pond called Arathu Kuttai, it was made into a park and named in memory of Desodharaka Nageswara Rao Pantulu, the owner of Amruthanjan, and opened to the public in October 1949. Today, the park is more than just a green patch with a jogging track and a play area — it has developed into a cultural space too.

Head to it on Sunday mornings and, true to Mylapore’s flavour, you’d be treated to some soothing Carnatic music. The mike-less kutcheri, as it has been christened by Sundaram Finance that manages the park, is a big hit among residents of the area. The Soap Box Speaker’s Exnora and the Speaker’s Forum are other interesting events that take place here. 


Anna Tower Park, Anna Nagar

At 6 a.m., while half of Anna Nagar is still tucked in bed, the other half is up and about, brisk-walking its way here. Yesteryear melodies stream through the airwaves, emanating from the tower that looms over the area’s landmark park. The early morning sun, filters in through the canopy of trees and shines down on people practising yoga, couples cooing, fathers teaching their children to play ball, young men playing badminton and older ones discussing current events.

The walkers, joggers and runners who populate the place can choose between different circuits within the park — around the pond where the lotuses grow, past the children hanging from the monkey bars or away from the idlers engrossed in people-watching — and whichever one you take, you’ll have ample folks for company.


May Day Park, Chintadripet

At 10 on a weekend morning at May Day Park , the goats are having a field day. The sun is harsh and the dust and debris from the Chennai Metro Rail, which appends one side of the park, coats the goats, the enthusiastic badminton players and lone beggars resting beneath trees. But the goats, in attendance here with full families in tow, couldn’t be happier with the lush foliage for free fodder.

May Day Park is today a shadow of its former self. Shrunk considerably from its original 14-acre-glory thanks to the Metro, the park still remembers its rechristening as May Day Park in 1990 with a plaque on the central crumbling rock sculpture. Its first avatar as Napier Park (after then Governor, Lord Napier), was founded in 1869 over lands once used as stables by carriage-makers Burghall. Possibly renamed for its proclivity to vast employers with active labour unions such as Simpson & Co, who continue to maintain the space, the park today is home to the city’s annual May Day celebrations.


Semmozhi Poonga, Cathedral Road

The verdant entrance to the Semmozhi Poonga on Cathedral Road is almost always dotted with couples. They shell out Rs.15 each to spend time together in the lush park with numerous benches. The 20-acre park, opened to the public in 2010 and managed by the Horticulture Department, is home to a variety of flora. However, the botanical garden is more than just a place for those with a green thumb. It’s not uncommon to see groups of carefully styled young men posing on the park benches, in front of the amphitheatre steps, leaning casually on trees and looking dreamily into the distance. A fair number of tourists also visit the place. But it’s the shooting crews that gather the most crowds — be it for a serial or a movie. The gardeners bring out several plants and flowering bushes to spruce up the space and hide the non-functioning fountains from the cameras’ view.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:17:47 PM |

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