Instead of just going to malls and movies, once in a while, I like to pick a book and go to a public park. You got me wrong if you thought I would go to a park and walk around to burn calories!
Luckily Chennai has public parks in many areas and they are reasonably maintained too. For example, the big parks like Nageshwara Rao Park in Mylapore and Anna Nagar Tower Park are huge and well maintained. A few months ago, when a friend came, we wanted a quiet place to talk, so we went to Jeeva Park on G.N.Chetty Road (T.Nagar, Chennai). We were able to walk and talk, sit and talk for the next three hours without any disturbance; in between we were able to walk a few hundred feet and get a piping hot Coffee near Madras Coffee House stall on Bazullah Road.
Today when my wife wanted to go out with me, we opted to go to Jeeva Park. As I was driving there, luckily I spotted a parking spot right outside the gates of Panagal Park, I immediately grabbed it. I was born in Ranganathan Street, and continue to live in the Mambalam area, so I have to drive around Panagal Park many times every week. But it should be more than a decade since I last walked into the park. The area around the park is the hottest shopping district in Chennai, a connecting hub between T. Nagar & West Mambalam/Ashok Nagar/KK Nagar on the other side of Local Train tracks. The area is always busy buzzing with traffic, making you want to drive out of the area as soon as you can.
We walked around the park. Only by walking a few rounds inside, do you realize how big it is Panagal park. Wikipedia puts its size to be about 8 acres and it is named after Raja of Panagal and the second Chief Minister of Madras Presidency. The park has areas for various sports, a kids’ play area, walking tracks and a small performance area.
If you are planning to visit the park (like any other open areas in Chennai) go fully covered as protection against the famous Mambalam mosquitoes, a mosquito repellant cream will go a long way (I took the precautionary measure and I was happy for it). And have your bladder emptied beforehand, the park does have Toilets but like other public places in Chennai, they are always kept locked to prevent (mis)usage by the caretaker.