MAnAnchira, the heart of Calicut city has been revamped into a beautiful park called MAnAnchira square. The MAnAnchira, (a pond) the nearby Tagore and Ansari parks, and the large maidanam (grounds) have been fused together into one mananchira square. The ancient side walls and the roads that crisscrossed this busy intersection have been eliminated. The maidanam has now a green carpet lawn and the whole complex is circled by a laterite (a kind of stone) sculpted wall. The entire complex is circled by 250 lamp posts that are designed in the colonial style and each post will have a pair of lamps.
They have two statues, one of V.K. Krishna Menon and another one called padayAli. New trees have been planted all around, and two entrances one across the PattAla palli (military mosque) and the other across from the commonwealth factory, both designed to reminisce the Huzur kacheri building (which was the head quarters of the East India Company and later the Malabar Presidency) which was demolished to be replaced by the new mammoth LIC building. The exit is accross from the model school/old law college junction built in a similar style (tile roof, white/peach colonial walls with a typical keraliya touch).
There is also an artificial stream, a musical fountain (separate ticket to see this 3 Rs per adult), an open air theatre Kalakrithi , a music stage and concealed speakers that will pipe music during open hours.
So old kozhikodans we will have fond memories of the mananchira juntion, onachanda, universal arts competations, Indira gandhi, C.H. Mohammed Koya, K.P. Keshava Menon and Chinmayananda speacking from the old mud maidanam. Watching cricket matches on sundays, P.T. Usha running the 100 meters and G.R. Vishwanath hitting a huge six into the sub collectorate building. My fondest memory is seeing the wood barrel water cart (vellavandi) getting filled with the chira water for distibution and then being pulled away with it leaking all over the place !! But the new mananchira square is predicted to wipe out all such memories. It is ecologically concieved brainchild of the new collector and acting mayor Amitabh Kanth although plans for such a revival was in the greater calicut development authority office for a decade. The project is said to have cost 700 lakhs. (some say 1 crore).
MAnAnchira square was opened to the public on November 9, 1994 by CM, Karunakaran.
Thanks to Subramanian Thyagarajan for the write-up. The pictures are from the Mathrubhumi special supplement, Nov 9, 1994.
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