Chennai’s New 8km Health Walk: Hop, Skip, and Step



Explore the New Eight Kilometer Healthwalk in Chennai’s Besant Avenue Road

On a rainy morning at 6:30 am, the sky looks ominous as I stand at the corner of Besant Avenue road, next to Dr Muthulakshmi Reddy Park. A new addition to the corner stands tall – a towering arch in green and orange. The well-lit sign declares ‘Healthwalk Start’ and silhouettes of two runners flank the arch, marking an exciting addition to this idyllic stretch. Besant Avenue Road, known for delighting pedestrians and motorists alike with its beautiful canopy of trees, is now part of a designated eight kilometer Health Walk, initiated by the Tamil Nadu Health Department. Inspired by walking tracks in Tokyo, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian, an avid marathon runner, announced the creation of these designated spaces across all districts. The website of the Directorate of Public Health lists the starting point of the walks. Curious to explore this new addition, I decide to take a quiet and calm walk along the path.

As I hesitated to walk through the arch due to the weather, two runners jog past me and provide the motivation I need to begin my journey. Walking briskly with her friend and carrying umbrellas, Girija Venkatesan, a resident of the area, pauses to share her experience. She covers this stretch daily, from the corner of Besant Avenue Road to Arundale Beach Road and back, expressing her hope for a properly paved area throughout the stretch, especially for senior citizens. S. Ravichandran, another long-time resident who has been walking in the area for decades, also expresses his hopes for more people to come and enjoy the peaceful, neat, and clean stretch.

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Continuing through the Health Walk, the rain-drenched roads and lush greens add to the peaceful and calming ambiance. The walk is punctuated by bright pink bougainvillea, benches placed at regular intervals, and striking sculptures that are a new addition to the stretch, adding to the fascination of the area. Along this picturesque path, walkers are seen capturing moments with the sculptures and enjoying the serene surroundings.

Uma, Akhila Venkat, and Maheswari Mohan, long-time residents of the area, express their admiration for this beautiful walk and hope for a speed limit to be imposed on vehicles. They note the helpful signages and distance markings throughout the stretch, further enhancing the experience. The distance markers indicate different points along the walk, guiding the walkers through the journey.

The scenic walk eventually leads to the beach, where the newly installed benches are already being utilized by walkers and joggers. The beautiful statues and the continuous stream of walkers add to the vibrant atmosphere along the beach. The walk is marked by the distance, and it is a delightful experience to take in the sights and sounds along the way.

As the walk continues, the road becomes busier, with small tea shops, restaurants, and nurseries offering early morning services to residents and visitors. The ambience changes to a vibrant morning hustle, with businesses and early risers enjoying the start of a new day.

Approaching the completion of the eight-kilometer walk, the Olcott Memorial School marks a milestone for those who wish to complete the full stretch. The area provides a resting point for walkers to take a U-turn and retrace their steps toward the beach before continuing the refreshing walk down Besant Avenue Road.

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Completing the journey back to the arch, the walk culminates in an area that provides something for everyone – whether it’s an eight-kilometer walk, a jog, or even a rejuvenating power nap amidst the serene surroundings.

Exploring the new eight-kilometer Health Walk in Chennai’s Besant Avenue Road reveals a peaceful and picturesque stretch that offers a delightful experience for residents and visitors alike. As more people discover and enjoy this designated walking space, it is poised to become a cherished part of the city’s landscape.



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