Nageswara Rao Park becomes aaratha kuttai once again

Nageswara Rao Park turned into the kuttai that it originally was. But now, water seems to have drained off, slowly.

Since Sunday night, the water flooded in patches to start with, and then the entire campus held rising waters, not just the rain that fell here but it was receiving floodwaters flowing from the streets that border it.

Vidya, the head of the horticulture firm which manages this verdant park for Sundaram Finance which has taken care of the green space for many years says her workers could only look on as the rainwater filled up.

The photo used here was among many shared by her team.

This park has witnessed the worst of the weather.  It was laid bare, almost in one cyclone and it needed devoted replanting and care to green it the way it is today.

Historians say that when the rains are heavy the park is bound to fill up, since it has been a natural ‘kuttai’ space. The Aaratha kuttai as locals called it. The 18th century records as do the early maps of Madras  clearly show the flow of the floodwaters then.

Historian Venkatesh Ramakrishnan notes that Desodharaka K. Nageswara Rao Pantulu, founder of the Amrutanjan balm brand who bought the Sribagh property nearby, also owned part of the kuttai and donated it to the civic body when it was decided to convert it into a park. ( The park was formally opened in 1940 – a few others who also owned the land of and around the kuttai donated it to form the park).

“The floodwaters from the Mambalam Tank would flow into the kuttai and overflows would move into the P. S. School campus zone,” Venkatesh notes.

In a way, this pattern of water flow still takes place at monsoon time. Flows that end up in the twin temple tanks.

Even as the sun shone this weekend, the walk paths remained slushy – walkers are advised to avoid the park for walks.

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