Many Chennai residents would’ve heard their grandparents or parents reminisce about going boating in the city. Now you can do it too and go a step further: you can fish in the heart of Chennai city.
What was once a clogged, filthy marshland, is now a flourishing eco-park where you can go fishing, boating, walking, pick up seafood, and do a whole lot more.
“The lake almost became invisible at one point because of the wild vegetation, garbage that was seamlessly dumped, and the pollution it inadvertently caused. The work they have done is remarkable,” says Radha Ramakrishnan, adding that the eco-park could be an example for all the other pending environment projects in the city.
The Tamil Nadu government spent around Rs 42 crore to rejuvenate the 16-acre Chetpet lake and add infrastructure that includes recreational activities and a pollination centre.
Inaugurated in February, the eco-park recently installed a 3-D theatre predominantly for children’s films and especially during the summer vacations.
But there’s something that’s bound to get little kids really excited: fishing lessons.
“It doesn’t matter if one even takes a whole day to catch three fishes. We will make sure that the experience is worth the money. It takes a knack and timing to catch one, and it’s very exciting to see how people react after catching their first fish,” the fishing-trainer says, as he teaches a bunch of thrilled kids how to angle.
In case someone is actually skilled enough to catch fish, the Fisheries department has put in place arrangements to them home. The seafood kiosk on the other hand, can lend you equipment to cook the food right at the park.
But if these are too adventurous for you, you could get a monthly pass that would allow you to exercise on the 1.5km walking path lined with carefully planned saplings.
A multi-level parking lot, capable of handling 100 two wheelers and around 60 cars at a time, prevents major traffic congestion outside the park on Poonnamallee High Road.
Entrance to the park is priced at Rs.25 for adults, and Rs.10 for kids under the age of 12.
While a boat ride is priced at Rs.50, the park charges Rs.300 for fishing. Equipped with five peddling, and five rowing boats, apart from the motor boats, and the visitors who use them are supplied with life jackets.