Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Semmozhi Poonga: A Green Oasis

On Ramzan last week, we finally made our long-due trip to Semmozhi Poonga, a botanical garden in the heart of the city. Located on Cathedral Road and surrounded by several multistorey buildings, this urban garden is a green haven amid all the city clamour. Aesthetically designed and well maintained, this is probably Chennai's best urban park.

Entrance of the Semmozhi Poonga
Vertical Garden
The entrance is singularly elegant. The archway has a vertical garden filled with numerous plant species and is a fantastic showstopper. Nearly 15 feet high it compels visitors to linger and survey the passage, before they pay the nominal entrance fee of five rupees. Semmozhi Poonga literally translates as "Classical Language Park" in Tamil. To the uninitiated, this might sound an odd name for a park. But it was named thus to immortalize the World Classical Tamil Meet, which was held around the same time as the park was built.
A Riot of Colour
As per Wiki, the 20 acre park has been built at a whopping cost of Rs.80 million. Evidently, plenty has been spent on procuring plants from other countries. The garden abounds with native species interspersed with several exotic ones. But what I found enchanting were the very old native trees that were there even before the park.  In fact though the bonsai garden is pretty, I can't say I'm elated over all the foreign plants it houses. I have come to terms with consumer goods that are "Made in China", but when a park commemorating Classical Tamil, sources its plants from China, it seems a tad ironic. I am also led to believe that some plants have gone missing since the park's inception, going by early newspaper reports. Could it be that the missing plants were imports not suited to Chennai?

A Rockery
Geese in the Pond, Climbing Up and Down the Ladder
The Park Amidst the Concrete Jungle
Bonsai Garden: Made in China

Ficus with Shaped Tree Trunk
What is faultless though, is the maintenance of facilities. Here, there are no broken benches or litter. The toilets are spotless. The play equipment in the children's park is top class. The food counters are unobtrusive, yet largely successful. All in all, Semmozhi Poonga is a lovely hang-out. Wish Chennai many such parks in the future.
Entrance to the Children's Park

Old Trees; Part of the Amphitheatre is Visible on the Left


  1. Hi Anita...thank you for posting these fabulous images! My sister had told me about such a park coming up in Chennai. It's certainly on my must-see list when I visit your city!

    Fantastic variety of blooms in your collage and the water bodies look most peaceful. Not a tern one can associate with large cities. Chennai-ites are lucky to have such a wonderful facility. The vertical garden looks most interesting!

  2. vasanti said:

    Beautiful place. I,too, like the old trees. Nice piture of geese!

  3. Beautiful gardens! The bonsai garden is nice but I much prefer the look of the old tree in the last photo, it's so much more natural.

  4. Thanks for taking us on this amazing tour! Our urban jungles need more of such gardens. In Delhi, we have 'The Garden of Five senses' built along similar lines.

  5. Are you sure those are Geese, not ducks???

  6. Lovely park. I especially liked the shaped ficus tree trunk.

  7. It looks beautiful and your pictures are great. I particularly like the tunnel-like entrance gate with the integrated vertical gardens - so lush and intricate!

  8. Hi Mark, I'd thought the birds were small geese, but now I'm not so sure. Usually, if the bird has a long neck, I assume it's a goose, else it's a duck. In this picture, most of the birds, are in the water, and their necks do look short and stout, but when I'd seen them on land, I thought they were more upright and long necked. I'll confirm the next time I visit.

  9. lovely. i'm looking forward to my next chennai visit! :)

  10. The next time I visit Chennai, I will definitely visit the place. Thanks to your blog. First time here, will be back.

  11. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

    Flower Shop Chennai

  12. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing them. It is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and spend quality time. Visitors should know the Semmozhi Poonga timings and other information to avoid hassle.