There are about 200 small and big parks in Chennai under the control of the Corporation of Chennai. These include the parks existing for several years and strips of land given to the Corporation by land developers through ‘gift deeds’ referred to as ‘open space reserve’ lands, which were subsequently greened as parks.
Source: The Hindu, August 28, 2002
Parks are the lungs of cities and towns generating fresh air and a cool atmosphere because of their green cover. They are home to native and introduced plant species of different varieties. They are also the dwelling place of many birds, reptiles and insects. They are a recreation space for many people. Parks may be categorized into three types.
Heritage Parks: Parks with historical or archaeological features, or with a history of horticultural quality (such as a botanical garden).
Conservation Parks: Parks with a strong ecological and nature conservation value. Main activities in these kinds of parks include bird watching, nature walks and environmental camps (e.g. Theosophical Society).
Recreation Parks: Parks with children’s playgrounds, leisure facilities, etc.
Parks of Chennai
Most of the parks are no longer available for the public. An example is Richmond’s Park, now the site of the Narikurava School and lorry parking.
Some of the remaining parks in Chennai, still available to the public include Nageshvara Rao Park, Luz Church Road; Panagal Park, Mambalam; Viswesarayya Park, Anna Nagar; My Lady’s Garden, Park Town; Napier Park (now May Day Park), Chintadripet; Independence Day Golden Jubilee Memorial Park, Nanganallur; Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Park, Tambaram; Independence Day Golden Jubilee Memorial Park, near Valluvarkottam, Nungambakkam; Thiru V.Ka. Park, Aminjikarai; Nehru Park, Kilpauk; Arignar Anna Park, Spur Tank Road; Nehru Park, Spur Tank Road; May Day Park, Spur Tank Road; Natesan Park, T.Nagar; Sri Raghavendra Rao Park, Choolai; Sharma Park, T. Nagar; Jeeva Park, T.Nagar; Tower Park, Anna Nagar; Anna Park, Kodambakkam; Dharmambal Park, C.P.Ramaswami Aiyar Road, R.A.Puram; Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Park, Perambur.
The historical perspectives and ecological significance of some of the parks of Chennai are discussed here.
Nageswara Rao Park
Location - Luz Church Road, Mylapore
Geographical area - 4 acres
This was once a lake known as Aaratha kuttai, and was filled in and covered into a garden. It was opened for the public in the year 1940. More land was donated by Ramayee Ammal, M. Nainappa Mudaliyar, V. Kumaraswamy Raja and Aravamadhu Iyengar for further development in the same year. In 1996, it was again developed by the Chennai Corporation, which maintains it.
The park is a popular site for daily walks among the inhabitants of Mylapore. It has well laid out walkways and benches. It is also well-lit and is kept open to the public from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Important plants found in the park: Tree varieties, such as Lapostromea, Cassia fistula and foliage trees like Pungam, Neem, Palms, Ficus religeosa and Thespesia. Medicinal and Ornamental plants such as Tabubia, Copper pod, Enterolobium saman, Cassia sp. and Ixora sp. are also found here.
Dr. Natesan Park
Location - Venkatanarayana Road, T.Nagar
Geographical area - 4 acres
It was opened to the public on September 13, 1950, by the then Minister of Agriculture, A.B.Shetty.
Principal features: It is widely used by city residents for their morning and evening walks, it is the only park maintained by the Corporation that has a separate tennis court for coaching children. There is also a plant propagation centre and play zone for children.
Important plants found in the park: The park has a variety of plants such as Crotons, Aralias, Bougainvilleas, Acalypha, Caesal pinioidese, pulcherima, mahogany, Azadirachta indica (neem), gulmohar, Cassia fistula and foliage trees like pungam, neem, palms, Ficus religeosa and Thespesia.
Location - P.T.Rajan Road, K.K.Nagar
The Tamil Nadu Housing Board originally developed the park when the K.K.Nagar Housing layout was developed. It was later handed over to the Municipal Corporation.
The visitor gets a chance to see replicas of various national monuments, such as the India Gate. It is the only Corporation-maintained park where there is a 15 feet high statue of Lord Shiva, depicted in a posture of meditation. The statue is designed such that water, representing Ganga, flows down from Shiva’s head, from a height of about 15 feet, giving it a cascading effect.
Important plants found in the park: The park has well-maintained lawns, pathways and play areas for children. The trees include peltophorum, rain tree and gulmohar and shrubs like acalypa, creepers and ground cover. There is also a nursery that sells plants to visitors.
May Day Park (originally known as Napier Park)
Location - Deputy Mayor Kabalamoorthy Road, Chintadripet
Geographical area - 14.5 acres
It was opened to the public on September 13, 1950, by the then Minister of Agriculture, Mr. A.B. Shetty.
The Park is used to hold public meetings during the May Day celebrations. Political parties and other associations take out rallies from the park. May Day Park is divided into two portions. On the eastern and western sides are well-maintained playgrounds used by children for cricket, football, volleyball and badminton. It has been adopted and maintained by Simpson & Co.