Real, smart makeover beckons Cubbon Park after decades

Real, smart makeover beckons Cubbon Park after decades

Except for cosmetic changes undertaken in bits and pieces, the park hasn't had a real makeover for a long time now

The 300-acre Cubbon Park with its rich flora has come to epitomise Bengaluru, the Garden City. Credit: DH Photo

A whole new set of attractions are coming up at Cubbon Park in what will be the lung area's biggest makeover in years. 

Founded in 1870, the 300-acre Cubbon Park, along with Lalbagh, has come to epitomise Bengaluru, the Garden City. However, except for cosmetic changes undertaken in bits and pieces by the Horticulture Department and the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), the park hasn't had a real makeover for a long time now. This is about to change, courtesy of Bengaluru Smart City Limited. 

Besides redeveloping existing infrastructure, BengSCL is constructing a whole new set of facilities that will enthral the visitors for years to come. Among these are theme gardens, natural and heritage trails, smog towers, recreation points and whatnot. 

The idea behind this "smart makeover", an one official put it, is to meet the requirements of all age groups: from bubbly kids to senior citizens and health-conscious youths to the differently-abled. 

The makeover will also enhance the beauty of Cubbon Park's impressive flora (over 6,000 plants and trees of hundreds of varieties). 

The project has been undertaken in two phases (each costs Rs 17 crore). Some of the works such as remodelling swales (rainwater canals), rejuvenating ponds, repairing the pathways and bridges and the development of the lotus pond are going on in full swing. 

The work was to start early last year but took off only in January 2021 because of the pandemic. "Going by the pace of work, we are eyeing a September deadline,” said Balakrishna H T, Deputy Director (Cubbon Park), Horticulture Department. 

While the civil and architectural works have been taken up by the engineers and contractors hired by BengSCL, the landscaping and restoration of the ecology are being carried out under the guidance of noted ecologist Dr A N Yellappa Reddy, who chairs the technical committee on Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. 

Besides an improved footpath and cycling and jogging tracks on the existing asphalted roads, a new jogging track made of rammed earth is coming up in the unexplored areas towards the western and southern sides (near the RBI office, the magistrates' courts and Kanteerava Stadium). Reflexology pebbles and sandstone pieces will be placed in an aesthetic alignment along the walkers' path. 

At the lotus pond, silt is being removed, and the island is being developed by adjoining the swales to ensure more water retention. Aerators will also be installed. Mild steel foot overbridges and fibreglass reinforced panel (FRP) bridges are also coming up across the swales, said a BengSCL engineer. 

One of the key additions will be a sensory garden containing creepers, shrubs and aromatic herbs. "This garden will have scents that fill the air. You won't have to touch the plants," an official said. 

Then there will be a garden of different plant varieties to attract butterflies. A therapeutic and medicinal garden to benefit walkers and joggers is also coming up, besides an orchid garden with 20 varieties of the flowering plant, an engineer from BengSCL said. 

There will also be a sound garden with sound stones uttara, sound stones lingam and sound stones natural. “There will be a lithophone, a bow harp, a play organ and a humming stone that will emit different sounds and notes,” the engineer added. 

Dr Reddy said: “The planting scheme is aimed at improving the biodiversity of not just plants but also of butterflies, moths, bees and nocturnal flies." 

The second phase entails the redevelopment of Karagada Kunte, setting up natural and heritage trails, building a biogas plant, a bamboo structured cafeteria, tree nomenclature, signage for historic buildings, refreshment stalls, development of a pigeon-feeding area and touch-screen information kiosks, officials said. 

Every tree will have digital signage with its geo-tagged location. There will be an exclusive mobile phone app, too, officials said.  

New attractions

Some of the following facilities are coming up at Cubbon Park: 

* An 8,065-metre improved footpath  

* A 3,575-metre cycle track on the road 

* A 1,475-metre jogging track on the road  

* A 3,955-metre new jogging track made of rammed earth 

* New parking slots at Queen’s Statue, Central Library, Bandstand

* A biogas plant that will process five tonnes of waste per day 

* A 15-foot-tall cascading waterfall

* Over 25 varieties of aromatic plants

* A medicinal garden with 30 species of plants and 20 varieties of orchid

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