The increasing urban density of our rising metropolises exerts immense pressure on its natural resources. The increase in population has a direct correlation with increased pollution in our cities. It is here that the parks and green spaces in a city offer a breather from the stifling heat and pollution. Community spaces like parks bring people together from across the socio-economic spectrum of the city. A patch of green in an increasingly concretised world, these parks are today considered an essential feature of a well planned urban centre.
Once renowned for its beautifully laid out gardens, Lucknow has always been an environmentally aware city. It has several green spaces littered through the city like Janeshwar Mishra Park, Dilkusha Garden, Residency, Dr.Ram Manohar Lohia Park, Botanical Gardens etc. These parks attract thousands of visitors throughout the year as picnic spots, jogging tracks or simply as oases of green that provide succour to tired eyes.
Spread over Eighty acres of land in the trans-Gomti area, lies a beautiful park called Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Park. The park is named after the great socialist philosopher and a nationalist political leader, Ram Manohar Lohia. The park was built to commemorate his legacy.
Designed and constructed by LDA, Lohia Park is one of the most preferred place for joggers and morning walkers of the nearby areas. “In the morning, apart from the I.A.S, P.C.S officers from the nearby colonies, people of all age groups flock the place. Some are seen exercising while some running and jogging round the park”, said Shashi Kumar, an attendant at the park. “The park is an ideal place for the fitness lovers and the children”, chimed in another worker named Vijay Shanker.
A place of serenity and lush, rich foliage the park contains a striking statue of Dr. Lohia. The path ways inside the park are patterened on light rays spreading in all directions and are aptly called Light Beam Pathways. A 500 metres long semi-circular path runs along a wall engraved with the thoughts of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya. A synthetic Jogging Track, a 100 metres long Acupressure track and a well-established Fitness Zone makes the park a favourite of the fitness enthusiasts. Lohia Park also houses a system for Rain Water Harvesting, some beautiful ponds and a 1500 sq. Meter artificial lake with some powerful fountains.
It also houses a fantastic open-air amphitheatre for cultural and social programs. During the winter months, when the evenings are cool, the amphitheatre comes alive with several cultural and musical performances. It is also a favourite gathering place for various city based groups for discussions on literary, artistic or social issues.
A nature lover’s dream, the park houses more than 50 different species of trees and flowering shrubs. Trees like Neem, Lady of the night, Bargad, Floss silk tree, Sheesham, Gulmohar, Cylon oak, Imli and many other Ayurvedic plants are found here in abundance.
The park is a paradise for birding enthusiasts. From Eurasian Golden Oriole, Black Drongo and Jungle Owlet to Plain Martin, Common Hoopoe and Alexandrine Parakeet, the park is a home to some of the most varied avifauna in the state. To watch these exotic creatures of flight is an infinitely rewarding experience.
UQ CEED researcher Danielle Shanahan says, “Kids who grow up experiencing natural environments may benefit developmentally and have a heightened environmental awareness as adults than those who don’t.” Keeping with this view, Lohia Park is indeed an ideal place for the kids to to have fun and explore the outdoors instead of wasting away in front of TV sets or hooked onto video games. Several swings, tunnel sets, slides etc are available for the kids to enjoy themselves in fresh air.
A favourite hangout for college going youth, it is also a perfect destination for a romantic stroll in the lap of nature. The serenity of the environment, the call of the birds, the refreshing greens and the intoxicating smell of flowering bushes planted strategically throughout the park make it a refuge for tired souls.
A getaway from the city’s noise and pollution, Lohia Park is a natural sanctuary that provides respite from the concrete grey surrounding us in this day and age.