Smack in the middle of Chennai is a 2.8 square-kilometer national park – one of India’s smallest – which is an extension of the Tamil Nadu Governor’s residence. Along its fringes can be found the Snake Park, which I’ve posted about previously, and the Childrens’ Park, which on most days is filled with uniformed schoolchildren and young couples seeking a private place far from prying eyes. While the other attractions can be visited, the majority of the park itself is generally off-limits to the public. Understandably so – in the middle of a city of 8 million, it would be difficult to maintain the pristine natural environment that exists within its boundaries.
We’ve been trying to figure out since we got here, how or to whom one must apply for permission to visit the park itself, and finally one of our work colleagues figured it out and we got a chance to see it.
Accompanied by uniformed policemen who both provide security for the Governor’s residence and function as park rangers of sorts, we got to do an early Saturday morning walk through the park. Many of the animals can be tricky to spot, especially when you’re in a group of people, but we did get to see some of the interesting plants and trees, as well as several types of deer, to include the threatened blackbuck.
Despite its small size, the park is nice because the animals and plants are largely left alone in their natural state. It’s full of birds, and if you look carefully, many of the park’s smallest life forms are quite fascinating.
Along its edges, the animals do come into contact with humans however. And this can make for interesting photo opportunities.
What on Earth was this deer up to??