Cheluvamba Park – A kaleidoscopic view

This park has a hoary history. Chaluvajammanni was one of three daughters of  Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadeyar. A palace was built for her and it was named as Cheluvamba Mansion. Today CFTRI is functioning in this palace. Cheluvamba Park, located by the side of Cheluvamba Mansion, is one more memorial to Princes Cheluvajammanni. Therefore, it is obvious that this park in not just yet another park in Mysusu but carries with it a part of history of Mysuru.

Children’s section of the park is located on western side of the north gate. During early 80s,  when I used to take my sons Aditya and Anshuman there, it was not in a very good shape. One metal bar with two swings (but without planks), one cement slide (many holes on the slide and  missing sand in the pit), and a newly erected giraffe shaped ladder were there. For a very long time it remained like that. Only very recently this very important segment has been enlarged and many more facilities have been provided. It is unfortunate that some of these children’s  play area is being (ab)used by the grownups for their morning exercises,  playing shuttlecock  and adolescents for  playing football or cricket. Sometimes mothers with kids are exposed to danger of being hit by the cricket ball.

South of this children’s play area is located a big nursery where gardeners maintain flower pots for being used for government functions. Huge rain trees provide shelter from scorching sun to these flower pots. That iconic wooden frame with creeper is also located here.

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Flowering season in Cheluvamba Park varies depending upon the plants there. Right now yellow flowers are blooming at the centre of the park. One small plant is showcasing its silky white cotton type of flowers.

During spring the park is full of flowers from practically every tree, including the huge trees on the periphery which cover the grass like a carpet with its yellow flower petals. Bougainvillea plants are under bloom all round the year.

All through the day this park is being used by the citizens. Walkers and joggers are present in the mornings in large numbers.  During other times of the day some come to have a meeting with their dear ones (!), some with their colleagues, and some during some exigencies like preparing for  a public demonstration or for a strike. There are many who come to have their afternoon siesta on the stone benches or cool grass. However, recently there were some complaints of dangerous encounters with the third gender during the late evenings. This matter has reached police and night beat has been increased.

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There is a fish stall on the footpath just attached to the park’s metal fencing on the Akashvani side. Despite best effort of the owner to maintain good hygiene, there are moments in the mornings when walkers have to close their nostrils at this point of walking path due to very strong bad smell from this stall. There were times when one found pieces of fish bones in the park just behind this stall. Wish the MCC Health officer takes some action. After all the people go to this park for regaining and maintaining their health and to escape the carbon dioxide elsewhere!!

Then the Eshwara statuette behind the Vivekananda Statue is yet another landmark of this park. Though this was part of waterfall constructed some decades ago as a part of beautification of the park, water in the waterfall stopped long time ago. Now there are some very devout walkers who make it a point to pay their very sincere namaskars by suddenly stopping at the centre of walking path!! There is a lurking fear that like in many other places in the city, some day a temple may come up if the number of such devotees keeps on increasing!!!.

During early mornings vegetable shops crop up on the footpath beside this park. Women find it convenient to buy vegetables on way home after the walk.  Evenings add a different dimension to the Cheluvamba Park.  There are carts vending Paani Puri, Gobi Manchuri, Churmuri, fried corn, etc on the  fence just beside the nursery. People take some of these into the park and leave the paper / plastic plates etc just beside their benches.

Any time of the day, the charm of Cheluvamba Park does not vanish; it only changes its shades.

– R.Chandra Prakash

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