Monday, April 7, 2014

Quiet entrance

That's the rather quiet and unassuming entrance to one of the city's best maintained parks. The Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore spreads over an area of about four acres. That makes it one of the smaller parks under the Corporation of Chennai, but that doesn't stop it from being put to various uses. Walkers, joggers, tree-watchers, singers, lovers, chess players, all of them can be found here. By the side of the broad walking areas are seats for players wanting a game of chess; there is a stage where you can perform (and do it as a featured programme on the first Sunday of every month is a privilege) and of course, all those little nooks that invite sweethearts to linger a while.

The park is named for Nageswara Rao Pantulu, who was a resident of Sri Bagh, a palatial house near the park. A little to the west of his house was a pond called Arathakuttai; sometime in the late 1930s, when that began to dry up, Nageswara Rao convinced some of his neighbours that it was better to give up the dry lake to the city rather than to expand their residences into it, and so the park was born.

For the past decade or so, the park is being maintained by Sundaram Finance on behalf of the Corporation of Chennai. I cannot think of any other such privately funded public park in the city; but the manner in which the Desodharaka Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu Park (that's its full name) is used in run is surely a strong boost for inviting more corporate bodies to invest in the city's green lungs!

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