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A walk in the big park

One section of the walkway at KBR Park  

A father holds the hand of his toddler who is walking on the lawn. A few feet away, two men are in an animated discussion, oblivious to the world around them. On the walkway adjacent to this lawn near the main entrance to KBR Park, a couple briskly strides ahead along with other walkers. Three runners, their forearms sporting fitness bands, step up their pace.

It’s just another day at the park.

Every morning and evening, KBR Park at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad is a hub of activity as fitness enthusiasts take over the 5 km outer walkway that lines the park or step inside (entry fee ₹20 per day) for a 4 km walk along the walkers’ path, away from the conservation zone.

A peacock at KBR Park

A peacock at KBR Park   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

In a city that’s rapidly losing its green cover, this park is one of the few large, surviving lung spaces. The park isn’t without a threat. When the state government announced its ambitious Strategic Road Development Plan to be carried out in two phases, which would require felling or replacement of nearly 2000 trees on the walkway and the National Park’s buffer zone, it was met with wide protests in 2016. It didn’t matter whether one was a member of KBR Walker’s Association. Anyone wanting the city to retain its green cover, particularly surrounding a National Park, felt the need to come out and voice their opinion.

Months after the protest, the issue is far from solved. Reportedly, the SRDP is likely to be changed to subvert environmental clearances.

The more we walk/jog along the walkways, both on the periphery and inside the park, we can’t help but send a little prayer upwards as a note of thanks for the breath of fresh air in the city. The periphery walking zone isn’t what it used to be a decade ago. Multiple constructions have come along Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills zones that line the park and vehicular traffic has increased manifold. In the stretch leading to the Yoga shed near Jubilee Check Post, we hear loud music from a car showroom across the road.

For a quieter and more meditative experience, step inside the park. Some portions of the 4 km trail cut walkers/runners off the bustling city. The air feels cleaner and you feel a step closer to nature.

All along the path, there are boards with smartly written messages emphasising on conserving the pristine environs of the park and in general, being kind towards nature. It’s an irony, considering that many trees surrounding the park aren’t really free of the threat of being axed for urbanisation.

Rocks abutting the walkway at KBR Park

Rocks abutting the walkway at KBR Park  

Area: KBR National Park is spread across 142.5 hectares. The visitor zone is 56 hectares.

Timings: The park is open from 5am to 9.30 am; 4 pm to 6.30 pm

What: Entry fee: ₹ 20 per day for adult, ₹10 for children. Monthly charge: ₹ 400; annual fee: ₹ 1500; for senior citizens: ₹ 1000

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 9:52:09 AM |

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