Follow Up

Kochi’s Historical Subhash Park wears new Look

Monday, Sep 28, 2015,16:55 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Subhash Bose park is of course a nostalgia to a Kochi native, who played, enjoyed childhood in the city. In their adolescence, there was no other beautiful place here in Kochi city to learn how to dream. Yes, Subhash Park had a golden past to ruminate. Many love songs of yesteryear’s films were shot here as it was the favorite spot to the directors.
Subhash park also had a bitter past having rusted statues and weeded lawns. By seeing the pathetic condition a Kochi-based organization came forward with the proposal to renovate and maintain the park, that too at zero cost to the Corporation.
Now Kochi’s Subhash Park has a new look. It is not exaggerated to say, being in Subhash Park is somewhat like to be in a fantasy world. That much it is decorated with new ornaments to attract everybody and to retrieve bygone royal days it has had once.
Subhash Park is a public park, which is located in the heart of Ernakulam city. Towards the western side, this park overlooks the backwaters of the Vembanad Lake and Cochin Harbour. Close to the park, there is an ancient Shiva temple, which is enshrined with the deity of Lord Shiva, which is also known as ‘Ernakulathappan’.
Renovated Subash Bose Park was inaugurated last week. Landscaping, musical walkways, meeting area, new lighting system, gardening, replacement of the electric post and ornamental lighting also form part of the modified park.
The main attraction of the park is a beautiful ‘Koothambalam’ built in the traditional architecture of Kerala. 150 persons can be seated at a time. It is mainly constructed to arrange cultural programs. A light food restaurant is to be opened shortly. A ring walkway is also set here. A glamourous fountain enhances the beauty of the park. The old and damaged toys for kids would be replaced with modern ones.
History narrates many details on the park coming into existence. The idea of the new road nearby came up in 1903, when Kochi Maharaja Rajarishi Rama Varma (1895–1914), was travelling to attend the Kochi Durbar. The king was well known for his deep passion for gardening and nature. He felt a need for beautiful tree-lined roads similar to those in Europe and America then.
He directed the Diwan to lay a new park where the public can unwind in the evenings. Thus a new park came up in the barren space opposite Shiva temple facing sea, named as Rama Varma Park. The king ordered for beautifying the road bordering the park with various varieties of flowering trees like Gulmohar. The king even passed a law prohibiting any person cutting down the trees there, even branches without sanction of the Royal court. The beauty of road impressed the Hon. British Resident of Kochi, that he renamed the street as Park Avenue.
This park was a silent spectator for many historical moments. In the 1930s, the students of the Maharaja’s College led a major agitation against Kochi Kingdom which was brutally suppressed with the help of armed police. The Park was the main venue for Civil Disobedience movement in Kochi. It was for the first time, a major agitation called against an Indian princely state, which spearheaded the move by Indian National Congress to spread the Independence movement into princely states.
The Park Avenue was one of the first places where Aikya Kerala Vedi (Forum for United Kerala) started its agitations for uniting the princely states of Kochi and Travancore.
On August 15, 1947 the Park witnessed the ceremony lowering of Kochi Kingdom’s Flag for fluttering Indian Tricolor as per Kochi Raja’s directive (Who was the first Indian prince to join the Indian Union willingly). After Independence, the road was taken over by Ernakulam Municipality and retained in the same way as desired by its founder- Maharaja Rajarishi.