Instead of just going to malls and movies, once in a while I like to pick a book and go to a public park. If you thought I will go a park and walk around to burn calories, you got me wrong!
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. Few months when a friend had come, we wanted a quite place to talk, we went to Jeeva Park in G.N.Chetty Road (T.Nagar, Chennai). We were able to walk and talk, sit and talk for next three hours without any disturbance; in between we were able to walk few hundred feet and get a piping hot Coffee at near by Madras Coffee House stall in Bazullah Road.
Today when wife wanted to go out with me, we opted to go 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, continue to live in Mambalam area, so I have to drive around Panagal Park many times every week. But it should be more than a decade 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 few rounds inside, you realize how big 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, 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 a 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 before hand, the park does have Toilets but like other public places in Chennai, they are always kept locked to prevent (mis)usage by the caretaker.