Which of Chennai’s parks is the best?

The old versus the new. The classic versus the contemporary. Nageshwara Rao Park versus Semmozhi Poonga

The case for Nageshwara Rao Park

Its swings creak, and the paint on the slides is faded. Even as you read this, some nut or bolt in one of those monkey bars is crumbling away in a cloud of rust.

But, how many parks in the city can brag about trees over 80- years-old? Or a wizened old walker who’s been coming here since he was a teenager? The man probably met the love of his life here. Maybe she came to play volleyball in her dhavani and he courted her over tender coconut water sold at the gate.

Nageshwara Rao Park is kind. It doesn’t judge you if you don’t come in expensive running shoes. Heck, kids run around barefoot here. People from the neighbourhood owe their good health to this four-acre haven. Space-starved toddlers in the city take their first steps here. There’s even the newly-added outdoor gym, with flashy equipment like bench ab crunchers.

Here, you can get a whiff of good old Madras. Of times when friendships were formed on the cement benches and stone toadstool stools. The park has remnants from its previous life as a water-body: mangroves exist here even today.

Come here to catch a mic-less kutcheri or art exhibition; or join in on an insect and tree walk. You will not have the heart to leave until the gates are shut. Nageshwara Rao Park is like a huge veranda of a good friend’s house.

Akila Kannadasan has 437 friends, 427 of whom are trees

Which of Chennai’s parks is the best?

The case for Semmozhi Poonga

When someone says size doesn’t matter, in the heart of your hearts, you know it’s a consolation. Spread across 20 acres, Teynampet’s Semmozhi Poonga doesn’t need niceties like that. The city’s first botanical garden, built in 2010, is home to flora both indigenous and exotic, each species properly categorised and labelled for budding green thumbs. With trees that are over 100 years old, in synergy with blooms from Mexico and Thailand, the park epitomises the metropolis.

The line to visit the park is as long as ones to pubs in other cities. And still, inside, visitors find an undisturbed pocket to claim their own — whether you’re a group of singers, slackliners, poets, yoga practitioners, morning walkers or simply there to make faces at the ducks.

Not just flowers, young love too blooms here. Couples and their sweet nothings are blanketed by the sound of rustling leaves and chirping birds. Never has a public place been so private. And if life is kind to those couples, this will be the spot for their wedding photoshoots too.

The design of the park is such that you don’t have to walk in boring circuits; cross the amphitheatre, lake, swing sets, bonsai gardens, it’s visually stimulating. But you know what’s the best part about Semmozhi? In a city full of places burdened with years of legacy, here at this park, you get to be the first generation of a new chapter in history.

— Don’t judgeSweta Akundi for hugging trees when she feels emotional

Source: Read Full Article