A lot of us have been an integral part of Chennai city. But how many of us knew that there existed a lake in Chetpet area? I did not. Not until February this year anyway, when I found The Hindu carrying an article on the lake, and how it has been restored to an ‘Eco Park’. Having run out of options to do this weekend, I decided to visit on a Sunday evening.
Diagonally opposite to the Ega Theatre, there is a huge board which proclaims ‘Chetpet Eco Park’. Upon entering, the security says boating is housefull, but I clarify if I can visit it nonetheless. I’m redirected to a multi-level car parking facility which any mall builder would be proud of, for a charge of 20 rupees an hour.
At first glance, the eco park seems like a huge lake which has been enclosed by compound walls in all directions. Now that’s a first. The walls have been adorned with murals including the Central Raliway Station, Ripon Buildings, Madras High Court and my very own College of Engineering, Guindy’s main building. Hashtag CEG Pride.
They say the first impression is the best impression, and the first impression of this place is very good. Neat pavements, sign boards, clean toilets, a cake shop, kulfi stalls, merchandise counters, a seafood eatery, enough trash cans and a serene lake makes the setting very scenic. They have only pedal boating, as it is an ‘eco’ park. Expectedly, the line for boating is serpentine. They have a specific area for angling, a term I get familiar with only then, which means fishing with a rod. I always wanted to do fishing as a sport, and I made a mental note to give that a shot next time.
They’ve planted a wide range of saplings in one part of the park, and a walk along the winding path at edge of the lake takes me all the way around the 15 acre park which has good some nice seating areas along the way. The crowd is predominantly families who wish to unwind and get some respite from the heat. It’s got a rear entrance which directly connects to the Chetpet Railway, and hence very well connected.
This has been done by the Tamil Nadu Fisheries department in collaboration with the Government, and is definitely impressive. I hear there are more such projects lined up, including restoration of the Korattur lake, which according to the maps is at least ten times bigger than this.
If you guys got time, go check it out. You won’t regret it.