Photo Credit : Yair Aronshtam
Cubbon Park is a landmark ‘lung’ area of the Bangalore city, located within the heart of city in the Central Administrative Area.
It was originally created in 1870, when Major General Richard Sankey was the then British Chief Engineer of Mysore state. It has been spread over an area of 100 acres then and subsequent expansion has taken place and now it has an area of about 300 acres.
It has a prosperous testimony of abundant flora and fauna plantations attached with several inspiring and aesthetically located buildings and statues of famous personalities, in its limits.
This public park was first named as “Meade’s Park” after Sir John Meade, the acting Commissioner of Mysore in 1870 and later renamed as Cubbon Park after the longest and best serving commissioner of the time, Sir Mark Cubbon.
In 1927, on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar’s rule in Mysore State the park was again renamed as “Sri Chamarajendra Park”, as an honour to the 19th century ruler of the state Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar, during whose rule the park came into existence.
The landscape setting in the park artistically assimilates natural rock projections with groves of trees, enormous bamboos, with verdant expanse and flower beds and the monuments within its boundaries, synchronized by the Horticulture Department of the Government of Karnataka.
The mostly green area of the park has many motor able roads, and the well laid out walking pathways running through the park are frequented by early morning walkers and the naturalists who study plants in the peaceful natural environment.
Bangalore got its nick name as Garden City due to the presence of this park. The significance of the Park to the city’s environment is best stated by two Urban Architects who have won the national competition to design ‘Freedom Park.’
Indigenous and exotic botanical species found in the park are about 68 genus and 96 species with a total of around 6000 plants/trees. Indigenous species found in the park are: artocarpus, cassia fistula, ficus, polyalthias etc., and exotic species such as araucaria, bamboo, castanospermum australe, grevillea robusta, millettia, peltophorum, schinus molle, swietenia mahagoni, tabebuia. etc.
Among the ornamental and flowering exotic trees lining the roads in the park are the silver oak the first oaks introduced to Bangalore from Australia and the gulmohar tree with bright red flowers with long petals along the Cubbon road in the park, which is extensively cultivated tropical ornamental tree around the world.
The avenue of araucarias along with canna beds on either sides of the road from the Central Public Library to Hudson circle, avenue of Swieteninas in the Northern side of the park, the Java fig avenue along the road leading to the Government Museum, polyalthia avenue along the road from Queen’s statue to King Edward statue and the chestnut tree avenue from the Chamarajendra statue to Siddalingaiah circle are testimony to the botanical richness of the park. From the Attara Kacheri towards the East, terrace garden developed on a gradient provides a beautiful vista.
Other attractions at the Park are the Ringwood circle, lotus pond and bamboo grove nook. The formal gardens, from the central hall of the original Attara Kacheri – now the Karnataka High Court extends along the ceal esplanade developed symmetrically with avenues, to the Museum building.
Another impressive artistic structure is Iyer Hall, which houses the Central Library with a rose garden as a frontage.
Other buildings located within or at the fringe of the park are the Indira Priyadarshini Children’s Library, the Venkatappa Art Gallery, the Aquarium (stated to be the second largest in India), the YMCA, Yuvanika — the State Youth Centre, Century Club, Press Club, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Tennis Pavilion, the Cheshire Dyer Memorial Hall and the Ottawa Chatter.
A bandstand, in an octagonal shape made with cast-iron, was built in the early part of the 1900s. Before India’s Independence, the British Royal Air Force used to play western band music at the band stand every Saturday evening.
An attraction for children here is the well planned children’s amusement park as part of Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which has the toy train, Puttani Express that runs within the Park, the Doll museum and a boating facility. A 20-million-year-old fossilized tree — a gift from the Geological Survey of India, is also cited at the park.
Memorials in the form of marble statues in honour of Queen Victoria (installed in 1906), King Edward VII (installed in 1919), Major General Sir Mark Cubbon, Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar (installed in 1927) and Sir K. Sheshadri Iyer (installed (in 1913) are located in front of the historical buildings within the park.