Spread over 22 acres, the park is a recreational centre as well as a cultural hotspot. Though many components of the erstwhile Central Jail have been kept intact, the walls have been painted in a different way to integrate the newer changes. There is a green cover, which proves to be a lung space, without diluting the historical significance of the location.
A plaque installed in the park speaks a lot about the history of the prison and the establishment of the park. The design of the park was selected through a national level competition initiated by the BBMP. Architect couple Soumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew Ghosh designed and developed the park on a budget of Rs 17 crore approximately.
The place has plenty of open space with lush grass and a walkway along the high walls. The beautiful park beckons the visitors with a state-of-the-art information corridor, children’s play areas, a fountain, an amphitheatre and most importantly, ample of space to sit and chat for hours without any disturbance.
“I think this is a good step taken by the government. It’s good that they established a recreational hub here instead of coming up with more buildings or shopping complexes. It is a nice place to relax. Whenever I need a break from my routine life, I simply come here and sit for hours,” says Kishan Gaikwad.
Even the public can take a walk around the six barracks, which show how prisoners used to stay in the cells. A watch tower immortalises the historical significance of the place and succeeds in creating a feeling of nostalgia.
An open-air amphitheatre, wherein 300 people can sit comfortably, is another attraction here. The place is generally overcrowded during weekends as it witnesses cultural programmes after 6 pm. There are performances on government holidays too.
“There are a couple of security guards to keep a tab on the movements of visitors. It is difficult to manage the crowd during the weekends. Exhibitions keep on happening at the information corridor and people rush to the venue mostly in the evenings,” says Basavaraju, a security guard.
Suleman, who had come to the park with his family, opines that there is a lot of scope for development. “The authorities should take extra care as far as maintenance is concerned. The green lawns are fading away. And the heaps of mud prove to be an obstacle while walking. I also wish they would open a canteen soon,” he includes. The Freedom Park is open on all days and the entry is free.