Gandhinagar is a busy neighbour-hood in central Bengaluru. This constituency has 7 wards. One of the known place in Gandhinagar is the Freedom Park.
Freedom Park is located in the Central Business District of Gandhinagar, city of Bengaluru. It was formerly the Central Jail.The most awaited park of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike, the Freedom Park, opened to the public in November 2008. This, over-20 acre park, built on the former Central Jail premises on Seshadri Road is mainly constructed for arranging rallies, dharnas and protests and, therefore, not affecting the flow of traffic on such occasions.
The design to convert a prison into a park was done by Soumitro Ghosh and Nisha Mathew Ghosh of Mathew & Ghosh Architects Pvt Limited, a husband and wife team. They were chosen after they won a nation-wide contest in 2003. The competition was initiated by the BBMP and the Bangalore Agenda Task Force. It is another unique & a very interesting park in Bangalore. This park is inspired by the Hyde Park and the Kensington park of London. This is probably the 2nd jail to be showcased for tourists. The first being the cellular jail in Andamans. The Park, now a vital green lung space in fast-concretizing Bengaluru, has a long history to it. The plans for the park were finalized as early as 2002. The project was conceived in 2004 and the work started only in 2006.
This park has various parts. There are massive barracks which were used to keep common prisoners along with a VIP enclosure which was used to accommodate high profile prisoners. There is also a central tower which was used to observe the activities of the prisoners.
According to the Engineer-in-Chief, A K Gopalaswamy “it is a masterpiece in itself. No one imagined that the Central Jail could get this makeover while retaining its historical significance.” The barracks and the hospital blocks are retained as heritage structures. The Old Building of Central Jail has been preserved because of its historical significance. The central tower and the prison’s entrance block are the other structures that have found their way into the park. The park has been categorized under six broad areas: general, museum and exhibition, contemporary art, retail, performance spaces and water features.
The park has more to it than just the rally area; it has a jogger’s track (3000 sq.m), children’s [;ay area (5200 sq.m), jail museum, information corridor gallery, book museuym, children’s interactive museum in the old cells yard, tree museum and an outdoor exhition park. The Freedom Wall stretch of he old jail house a permanent multimedia art sculpture court, pathway junctions, designer souvenir shops, book shop, traditional craft stalls, 150-seater amphitheatre, 50-seater enclosed theatre space and an open plaza for gathering. A water pool at main entrance and natural localized water percolation zones are visible only in the rainy season. There is also a cafeteria as well as ample of parking space.
Originally a place which was used to prison those against British rule since 1857, Freedom Park sees many interested visitors. As symbol of freedom, it was inaugurated by Shri L.K.Advani, who, coincidentally about 31 years earlier had been imprisoned in the jail premises during the 1977 emergency imposed by Smt Indira Gandhi (the then Prime Minister of India). At that time, other political leaders like Shri AB Vajpayee, Shri Ramakrishna Hegde and Shri H D Deve Gowda were also imprisoned at the Freedom Park jail.
It also hosted the India Against Corruption (IAC) supported by Anna Hazare’s indefinite fast for governmental action in the enactment of the Lok Pal Bill.
Must See Attractions at Freedom Park
The Jail Museum has some antique photos and has a great view of the whole Park.
The original Watch Tower and some of the Barracks have been left untouched and surprisingly have been designed in such a way that they blend very well with the park. The Hospital Block has been retained as heritage structure. The Children’s play area is a big boon to the kids of the area and is very popular even with the parents. A 300 seater Amphitheatre and the Musical Fountain are the other added attractions.
Overall Freedom Park is a very peaceful & beautiful park for reading, walking and relaxing. The Freedom Park is sure to become a major tourist attraction of Bengaluru in the years. It’s a must visit place at Bengaluru.