Top 3 Parks and Gardens to Visit in Adyar
Adyar, the southern suburb of Chennai, has many parks in its vicinity; in fact, at 30% green cover, it is greener than any other region in Chennai. Guindy National Park, IIT campus, Theosophical Society, Raj Bhavan (residence of Tamil Nadu Governor) and Adyar Eco Park are just a few green spaces in Adyar that readily come to mind.
Adyar Eco Park or Tholkappia Poonga has restricted access, as the authorities try to limit human activity there. Guindy National Park is a protected forest area in the middle of Chennai city. Visiting the forest area requires prior permission from forest officials. The simpler and easier way to have a glimpse of this forest is by visiting the Children's Park at the edge of this National Park.
The Top 3 Parks to Visit in and Around Adyar:
1. Huddlestone Gardens
2. Guindy Children's Park
3. Adyar Eco-Park (or Tholkappia Poonga)
IIT campus and Raj Bhavan are blessed with a dense green cover, but I am not covering those regions as they are not tourist destinations.
Fact Sheet About the Parks
8.30 am to 10.00 pm & 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Closed on all national holidays.
Guindy Children's Park
9.00 am to 6.00 pm
9.30 am to 12.30 pm & 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm. Sundays closed
When someone mentions Adyar Park in Chennai, they do not refer to any of these parks, but a hotel. Adyar Park is the old name for the 5-star hotel Crowne Plaza.
1. The Huddlestone Gardens of the Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society was founded in the nineteenth century, and it has its international headquarters at Adyar. It has a large 260-acre park called "The Huddlestone Park" inside its campus. There is a bookshop that features the works of prominent personalities associated with the spiritual movement.
The park is open to the public on a restricted number of days and hours. The park is closed on weekends and national holidays. On the days it is open, the visit timings are from 8.30 am to 10.00 am and 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. The park timings are not convenient for working professionals or students planning a visit. This keeps the crowds in check. The park is a favorite destination for nature lovers and health enthusiasts.
An Ancient Banyan Tree
Many trees and birds greet you inside the park. The garden has a banyan tree that is believed to be several centuries old. The main trunk of the tree collapsed at the end of the twentieth century. However, the sprawling branches of the tree survive to this day. It is known as "Adyar Aala Maram" by the residents.
One could spend at least two hours inside the park. The pristine atmosphere, clean air and long walks will leave one feeling refreshed and healthier. It is a must-visit place for someone interested in seeing the natural side of the Chennapattinam region before it became a city.
Though it is in the middle of the city, one can spot interesting animals such as jackals, mongoose and fruit bats. I have spotted mongoose and fruit bats in the vicinity often. If you are in the right place at the right time, you may spot a mongoose when you least expect it. I hope I can spot the jackals here someday.
2. Guindy Children's Park
This park is located diagonally opposite the College of Engineering, Guindy campus on the Sardar Vallabai Patel Road. There is ample parking space for cars and bikes near the main entrance. Spotted deer can be spotted (pun intended) at ease in the region closer to the park. In my student days, I often used to spot free-wandering deer inside the College of Engineering campus.
The children's park has long walkways surrounded by trees. It has a mini zoo inside with small animals housed inside the park. The children's play area has many attractions like swings, slides and seesaws. The children's park appeals to adults as well because of the natural surroundings and the walkways.
Guindy Forest Tour
Guindy National park is a small reserve forest landlocked within Chennai city next to Children's Park. Prior permission is needed to go on a guided tour. You can contact the forest office inside the Children's Park for permission.
Guindy Snake Park
There is a snake park right next to the Children's Park. The park has many species of snakes like cobras, pythons and the bagpiper. The staff are happy to educate visitors about snakes. Did you know that 95% of the snakes we find in our neighborhood are non-venomous and there is no need to fear them?
3. Adyar Eco Park
This park is named after an old Tamil scholar, Tholkappiar. He created the literary work covering various aspects of Tamil grammar. Tholkappia Poonga was created with the aim of restoring the ecosystem of Adyar estuary and creek.
The park comprises a dense tropical evergreen forest and the Adyar creek. This ecotourism venture relies on the preservation efforts of citizens as they become more aware of the environmental issues there. The first phase of the park is ready with an area of 58 acres. The second phase will have an area of 300 acres once completed.
Online Booking for Tholkappia Poonga
My first visit to this place happened just a while back, as I was not familiar with the booking formalities earlier. One needs to book the desired slot from their website. The booking confirmation received via email has to be presented at the booking counter to collect the tickets. There is adequate space for parking cars and bikes inside the park.
Guided Tour of Tholkappia Poonga
The water level in the Adyar creek was low after a failed monsoon last year. We were taken on a guided tour around the Adyar estuary. Adyar creek looked stunning from different angles as we went around the park. We spotted a few birds like egrets, storks and homing pigeons. There are usually more birds during the monsoon period. Jackals were present in this area till 2015 but disappeared soon after it was hit by the worst floods in that year.
It took about 45 minutes to complete the nature walk. The tropical evergreen forest cover in this small park was enough to keep the temperature bearable on a hot summer afternoon. If this small area can be this good, the second phase of the park should be even better once it is ready.
Want to Know More About the Other Parks in City?
If you plan to visit the other parks in the city, please take a moment to read my article about 8 Parks to Visit in Chennai.
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© 2019 Mohan Babu