POST TIME: 3 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Gymkhana Lake
A breath of fresh air for Narayanganj

A breath of fresh air for Narayanganj

People come to Gymkhana Lake, locally known ‘Hatirjheel of Narayanganj’ for recreation. UNB: Photo

Narayanganj: In rapidly urbanising, largely industrial Narayanganj, restoration work on the man-made Gymkhana Lake is proving literally to be a breath of fresh air for the city’s nearly 1.5 million dwellers, reports UNB. Part of the larger Baburail Canal Restoration project undertaken by the Narayanganj City Corporation under mayor Selina Hayat Ivy, the lake named after the city’s historic Gymkhana Club is already a popular recreation spot, where residents flock to avail the opportunities it provides for play, enjoying some leisure time or just to hang out with friends in an outdoor setting without the feeling of choking yourself on smog.

Some of them call it the ‘Hatirjheel of Narayanganj’- after the sprawling, mid-town drainage and sanitation project that, with some choice beautifications, turned into something of an urban oasis for the besieged residents of capital Dhaka.

The much smaller, more compact Gymkhana Lake is bordered on its south side by the Morgan School in Deobhog, from where it stretches till the Mobarak Shah Road.

There is seating provided by the NCC at the north side of lake, while Sheikh Russel Park is an emerging east side development, currently featuring an open stage that gives it the feeling of the Rabindra Sarobar on Dhanmandi Lake. Though the park has no lighting system yet, illumination is not a problem thanks to the NCC’s recent shift to LED lighting  

A pedestrian bridge in the middle of the lake is another beautiful spot on the Gymkhana Lake. Elevated and secluded, it is particularly attractive to young couples on moonlit


A public toilet, a gymnasium and intriguingly a ladies’ swimming pool are in the pipeline of plans around the lake, under the Sheikh Russell Park development component, according to Mayor Ivy.

Already different cultural and political programmes have been held by the lake, including during the last Pohela Boishakh, the biggest such occasion.

The Baburail Canal Restoration project, claimed to represent ‘a revolutionary milestone’ in urban development by its supporters, is still nearing completion.

Yet the residents of Narayanganj already display a distinct affinity for one small component of the overall project, which once complete will do the important work of reestablishing the old link between the Shitalakkhya and Dhaleshwari rivers that cradle this important port city on the commercial route to Dhaka.

With important implications for commuting in the city, the two rivers’ navigability, and dealing with waterlogging for the city corporation, Narayanganj residents are likely to love it even more still.