BENGALURU: The city may be sleepy on Sunday mornings but Cubbon Park is abuzz during the weekend. Skateboarding, flying disc circles, dog park, comedy clubs, social meet ups... Step into the park on Sunday morning and you’re bound to different Bengalureans. And they have a lot to say about the proposed redevelopment plan for the park under Bengaluru Smart City Scheme.
For Debasish Rath, who is one of the founding members of standup collective Suno Bey, the park is the perfect place to conduct open-mic sessions for aspiring comedians. “No other place is more happening on a Sunday morning in this city,” he says, adding that the space’s beauty lies in its trees. And Rath is all for redevelopment, as long as it doesn’t affect this greenery. “There is room to make this a park of international standards. I just hope the trees are left alone,” he says.
Agrees Shubha Pradha Somashekar, partner, That Extra Step LLP, which conducts weekly sessions of outdoor games, flying disc circles, hula hoop activities, etc. According to Somashekar, the park could benefit from some attention, especially if space becomes more accessible. “But I hope they also take into account the communities that use Cubbon Park, like walkers, runners, nature enthusiasts, the fitness community, and organisations like ours,” she says.
For initiatives like Somashekar’s, a space like Cubbon Park then becomes crucial, especially since That Extra Step LLP tries to combat urban isolation by forging a connection with nature. “This park is a place we all grew up in. So it has happy memories for many of us,” she says, explaining why the group chose this spot to conduct their meetups, which is now attended by 40-45 people regularly.
Abhinav Singh, on the other hand, believes that while major redevelopment is unnecessary, visitors will benefit from some additional facilities. Singh is the coordinator of the city chapter of The Indian Stammering Association, which holds meetups at the park every Sunday. The members chose the park for its free-of-cost entrance and pleasant ambiance but feel that drinking water and restroom facilities would lead to an increased use of the premises by others as well. “I’ve only noticed one clean washroom near High Court. The others are too dirty,” he says.
Besides being a loved lung space, the park is also an ideal location for such meetups, says Somanna MR, a co-founder of Holystoked Skateboarding. Though located at RK Hegde Nagar, they also conduct classes at Cubbon Park instead. Pro-redevelopment, Somanna, however, adds that rules will need to be made flexible for the park to remain accessible. “Look at Freedom Park,” he says, “Contrary to its name, it is not free or open at all hours. That shouldn’t be the case here.”
All about Cubbon Park
Cubbon Park, also known as Sri Chamarajendra Park, was established in 1870. Spread over 300 acres, the park is also a cultural hub of activities for many. The park has a track spread over 5 km, ideal for jogging and morning walks. A heritage property of the city, Cubbon Park is home to around 6,000 trees. It also includes some historical buildings in its premises like Attara Kacheri/Karantaka High Court, State Archeological Museum and Seshadri Iyer Memorial Library. The park comes under Preservation Act 1979, which was passed by the Government of Karnataka to preserve its heritage value. The park is traffic-free until 8 am on weekdays while on
Sundays, there is no
traffic for the whole day.