Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Summer Travels 2012 - Part 8: Semmozhi Poonga, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

From Gwalior I continued on to Bhopal and then Hyderabad. I got to stroll through quite a few parks in both cities - Bhopal in particular surprised me with the quantity and quality of its public landscaping - but somehow failed to take good pictures. My next stop was Chennai, the capital city of the southern state of Tamil Nadu formerly known as Madras. One of India's industrial and high-tech hubs, it is not a city particularly rich in open spaces, though it does have a lot of trees for being as densely built up as it is. One of the more prominent - and newest - among the public gardens the city does have is the Semmozhi Poonga செம்மொழிப் பூங்கா or "Classical Language Park" in the Teynampet area, just opposite the American Consulate. This was also quite close to where I was staying, so of course I made sure to have a look around. Opened in 2010 and apparently named for a Classical Tamil Conference that also took place that year, the relatively small park is clearly meant to be hip and modern, as is evident immediately from the planted walls that frame the entrance.

One of the planted walls at the entrance

The central plaza

A pergola clad in Urechites lutea leading to the children's play area

Unfortunately, the garden is not very well maintained. Especially considering that it is just two years old, the glaring signs of decay and lack of care in many places are really rather disappointing. Granted, I visited during a particularly hot and dry part of the year, but even so those responsible for this rare bit of urban green space could really do better, particularly since they charge admission. Of course, my photographs hardly show this negative side, since I always tend to focus on capturing the pretty bits when taking pictures.

The pond

Double rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica)

Beds of foliage plants

Close-up of an Urechites lutea flower

The obligatory bonsai corner

This could be a lovely public green space in a city that has oddly few of them, and one probably has to be thankful that the land was used for this purpose rather than commercial development which would have probably been much more lucrative. However, it really has to up its game in terms of maintenance.

2 comments:

  1. i visited the poonga earlier this year as well.. i agree with you.. wish there were more parks and wish they were better maintained. still in a city that did not have any until a few years back, one is thankful for even this.

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  2. I remember passing by this area when I was 18 and lived in India for a few months, travelling around on my spare time. Your photos brought back great memories!

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