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|
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?
|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|
|Entrance to the Children's Park|
|Old Trees; Part of the Amphitheatre is Visible on the Left|