Gandhi Mandapam, one of the city’s important landmarks, will soon sport a new look.
The renovated complex, spread over 18 acres and housing ten memorials, including ones for Mahatma Gandhi, former chief ministers Rajaji, Bhakthavatchalam and Kamarajar, will be thrown open for visitors by December or early January next year.
For passersby along Sardar Patel Road in Guindy the sight of workers constructing and preparing the area for landscaping has become a common sight. Nearly 50 per cent of the work to beautify the memorial complex has been completed so far.
Gandhi Mandapam, built in 1956 and the oldest among the memorials, is getting spruced up as an amphitheatre with a seating capacity of nearly 920. Visitors can also spend time in the Gandhi museum and library and Rajaji museum and library once the project is finished. A lily pond that is being built at the rear of the complex is also expected to attract visitors.
Sources in the Public Works Department, which is implementing the Rs. 11.61-crore project, said the amphitheatre would be ready by October 2 that marks Gandhi Jayanthi.
Other memorials, including those for Dalit leader Rettamalai Srinivasan and freedom fighters, are being renovated, with leaky roofs being fixed. Officials of the PWD said the work to construct the compound wall is almost over. Instead of the existing four gates allowing visitors to the various memorials, only one entry will be provided to enable crowd monitoring. A footpath is also being laid over a distance of nearly 1.2 km.
The PWD will tie up with the forest department to obtain grass for the landscaping as well as a variety of plants to add to the greenery. Workers are busy preparing the space to install water fountains in at least four places.
New index boards will be installed displaying information about the various memorials and their salient features. The structure displaying the oil extractor ( chekku ) used by freedom fighter V.O. Chidambaram Pillai on display in the premises will also be renovated.
Decisions pertaining to entry fee and additions to the collection in the museums and libraries would be taken later, sources said.