Semmozhi Poonga in Chennai
The literal meaning of the name Semmozhi Poonga is; Classical Language Park. On 24th Nov. 2010, the Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu inaugurated the first botanical garden of the city on Cathedral Road, Anna Salai junction and named it “Semmozhi Poonga”.
The garden occupies the area of around 20 acres and the cost of developing the park was approx. 8 crores or 80 million. There are around 500 species of plants in the garden out of which 80 were already in existence before the botanical garden was developed in the area. Some of these pre existing plants are even more then 100 years old.
Where on one hand Semmozhi Poonga botanical garden houses some popular exotic plants, it also has some rare species of plants. Herbs used for medical purposes and also aromatic herbs are all grown here. Some important plants are even imported from countries like Thailand and China.
History of Semmozhi Poonga:
The land on which the botanical garden stands today was once the location of the city’s first drive- in restaurant, Woodlands Drive-In and the Agri Horticulture Society. The land of 18 acres was subleased in April 1962 by Agri Horticulture society to the hotelier K.K Rau, who was the founder of the Woodlands drive in hotel on 15th Apr. 1962.
After two years the restaurant stopped operating by the order of the High Court. After a prolonged battle in the court room the land was handed over to the government. Government planned to develop the botanical garden, a green house and a research center here. The consent of the Supreme Court was attained on 13th Nov. 2009 for setting up the botanical garden on the land.
In the year 2010 the conference of Classical Tamil Conference was held here. The initial estimated cost was Rs. 10000 million. The city based firm of architects, Rajendra Associates, was appointed as consultants, design, supervise and manage the project.
What to look for in Semmozhi Poonga Garden:
- The varied variety of flora is displayed in eight sub gardens of this botanical garden.
- The main features are a tree court, herbal and exotic gardens, mural walk, bonsai and an artificial duck pond.
- The elements of an Indian-Buddhist garden have been incorporated to beatify the garden.
- The wide variety of original species is spread over 22 areas in the garden. Such areas are named as the Palm Court, Golden Garden, the Tree Court, Rock and Water Garden, Fern Garden, Butterfly Garden, Theme Garden and Sunken Garden.
- There are 25 thematic gardens, like aromatic, herbal, maze and on every corner of the park you can see cascades.
- The garden boasts its collection of exotic herbal species and also there are multi branched miniature trees which are grown in the containers and ninety spiral shaped.
- The height of the Bonsais in the park ranges from 1 to 4 feet.
Vertical Garden Entrance of the Semmozhi Garden:
The unique feature of this garden is the vertical garden near the entrance. The vertical garden has an inbuilt system of irrigation and drainage system, which makes it easy to maintain. It is 22 feet long and 14 feet high and it surely adds to the beauty of the garden which was its main purpose. The arch at the entrance plaza is covered by 7000 plants of 35 different species including, lilies, dracaena, schefflera, ophopogon, phyllodendron and krishnagantha.
The plants on the green wall which is 10 feet high are raised in a poly trace and are imported from Canada. For watering these plants a micro tube has been arranged. The plants cling on the entry wall which is 700 sq. ft. There is a garden with the name of a butterfly and hence is carved in the shape of a butter fly. There are more than 30 species of flowering plants in it. The winged visitors are welcomed by the Aroma garden with the species like Pavalamalli and Parijatham.
There is an Amphitheatre which has concrete benches and is covered by ferns, it is located on the rear side of the garden and is used for hosting cultural and social functions. Other features of this beautiful garden include a mural walk through, fountains here and there, vertical gardens, cascades and ponds.
During the course of construction this garden has imported about Rs.8,00,000 worth of plants from China. Some of which are flowery cacti, non flowering cacti, lucky bamboo, bonsais and ficus etc. There are also water lilies which are from Thailand and also lovely orchids. A monolithic structure which is 10 ft. high is also built on the entrance with the help of the plants and on which the name of the garden is carved. The open auditorium of the garden is available on hire for the purposes of organizing functions.
Information for the Visitors in Semmozhi Poonga:
For morning walkers the garden remains open from 6 A.M to 8 A.M. For all visitors the garden is open from 10 am till 8 pm. It remains close on Tuesdays. The parking lot of the garden can accommodate 100 cars and about 500 two wheelers.
- Kuttu Kalai Kudam - 0.2 km
- Lakshmi Super Market0.7 km
- Sathya Plaza - 0.7 km
- St George Cathedral Church - 0.2 km
- Plaza Centre - 0.2 km
- St George's Cathedra - l0.3 km
- Paras Plaza - 0.5 km
- Ispahani Centre - 0.6 km
Entry fees: Rs 15 (for all visitors over 10 years of age or is above 130 cm in height)
A monthly pass of Rs 150 is made and morning walkers with pass are only allowed to enter the garden premises.
GN Chetty Road
Ellaiamman Colony, Teynampet
Chennai - 86