INNOVATIONS AND INITIATIVES UNDER PARKS AND GARDENS IN TANHODA
There are 50 State Horticulture Farms and 7 Parks and Gardens in Tamil Nadu. They are functioning under the control of Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Agency (TANHODA) from 2008 onwards.
After 2008, efforts have been taken to run the Farms with profit motive. All practical impediments are being thrashed out periodically for smooth implementation of farm and park activities.
Further, action has also been taken to effectively utilize the potentiality of each farm for better prospective. So also the financial returns derived from these farms and parks are utilized in a purposeful way to regenerate the source of income with a new concept developed by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Agency from the year 2009 onwards as described below -
a) Establishment of New Parks and Garden by converting the existing State Horticulture Farm with a view of attract more tourists,
b) Maintaining a balance in the Eco system
c) By way of planting rare species, to help researchers and students for study purpose.
Accordingly, the following projects were developed and implemented by Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Agency from 2010 onwards.
1. Establishment of an Eco park at Courtallam in Tirunelveli District at State Horticulture Farm, Courtallam.
2. Establishment of Government Botanical Garden at Yercaud in Salem District.
3. Establishment of Ornamental and Demo Garden at State Horticulture Farm, Madhavaram near Chennai.
4. Improvement of Bryant Park, Anna Park and Chettiar Par at Kodaikanal in Dindigul District.
5. Establishment of Kurinji Genetic Heritage Garden at Yercaud in Salem District.
6. Establishment of Paalai Genetic Heritage Garden at Achadipirambu in Ramanad District.
Similar projects with the said objectives are in pipeline as listed below:
1. Establishment of Rose garden and Cut Flower Demo Garden at Kodaikanal.
2. Establishment of Eco Park at State Horticulture Farm, Kanyakumari.
3. Improvements to the Government Botanical Garden, Ooty and Sims park, Coonoor, etc.
II. Brief outline about the Existing Parks and Gardens
Parks and Gardens (under Horticulture Department) of TANHODA
1. Government Botanical Garden, Nilgiris
2. Government Rose Garden, Nilgiris
3. Sims park, Coonoor
4. Park, Kattery
5. Anna park, Yercaud
6. Bryant park, Kodaikanal
7. Semmozhi Poonga, Chennai
a) Government Botanical Garden
Among the gardens, Government Botanical Garden, Udhagamandalam is one of the world famous public gardens and attracts visitors from all over India and abroad also. Early in 1847, Marquies Tweedale, the Governor of Madras, started a Horticultural Society to develop Botanical garden, Udhagai. The garden lay out was started on the year 1848 by Mr. J.W. McIvor and completed in 1867.
The garden covers an area of 22 ha with an elevation of 2400 – 2500 meters MSL. It is a treasure house of temperate flora, consisting of flowering trees, beautiful shrubs, curious cacti and succulents, pleasing pteridophytes, breath taking glass house plants, charming annuals of bright colours covering more than 2000 species. The main attractions are lawn, gate house, fern house, glass house, Centenary pillar and India map, Fossil tree trunk of 20 millions year old, Lily pond, Rose garden, India’s emblem, Tamil Nadu emblem, Italian garden, water cascade, Conservatory, Bog Garden, Sunken garden and beautiful flower beds.
Every year about 20 lakhs numbers of tourists including foreigners are witnessing the garden. Besides this, Botany and Forestry students from India and abroad are also visiting for updating their knowledge. To attract various categories of people and students, a Flower Show is being conducted in every year in the month of May, which is a famous International level festival. To create greater awareness among the flower growers, garden lovers and farming community, a garden competition is also conducted involving the estate gardens, private cottage gardens, public gardens and various other categories of the garden.
b) Government Rose Garden
Centenary Rose Park, Udhagamandalam owes its genesis to the Centenary Flower Festival. It covers an area of 4.00 Ha comprising of five terraces. The Rose Garden is situated in the lower slopes of the Elk Hill in Vijayanagaram Farm on the North Western side facing the Udhagamandalam Town.
The Rose varieties planted in this Garden were assembled from different sources i.e., Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kodaikanal, Yercaud besides Nilgiris and more than 25,000 Rose plants of 3800 varieties have been planted. The collection includes Floribundas, Polyanthes, Miniatures, Hybrid Teas and Creepers. Gradually, it is proposed to increase the number of varieties to 50000 by introducing new varieties from different Centers in India and abroad. The Garden includes major attractions such as Arches, Bowers, Tunnels, Umbrellas, Green Houses, and Fountains and ‘Nila Maadam’ stone lanterns, rockeries, etc.
The first terrace is situated just below the approach road from Bombay Castle and this terrace has Miniature Gallery. The Second Terrace is the main part of the Garden. The main entrance leads to this terrace. This is the biggest terrace in the Rose Garden. The slopes on the upper side are beautifully landscaped with kikiyu Grass. This terrace accommodates large varieties of Rose plants and are grouped and planted based on the colour shades on either side of the terrace caving the centre part for the lawn. The Lawns are laid out with kikiyu Grass and Blue Grass. The Nila Maadam is the viewer’s gallery and is located in the vantage point in this terrace. The arches, bowers, benches, summer houses, Rose umbrellas, rose tunnels etc. also find a place in this terrace and merges with the landscaping.
The third Terrace is a small and elegantly designed terrace and accommodates mostly Floribunda Roses. The Fourth Terrace is a wide terrace just below the service road and planted with beautiful varieties of Roses leaving the footpath in the middle and in the northern end of the terrace a Lawn was laid with Kikiyu grass and ball fountain is an attractive part in this terrace. The slope between the fourth and fifth terrace is the largest steepest and looks like a majestic Green wall. The zig zag footpaths on the slopes, structures, plants and sit outs gives real thrill and adventure to the visitors. After visiting the Fifth Terrace, one has the satisfaction of having seen almost all the varieties of Roses available in India in one place.
c) Sim’s Park, Coonoor
The Sim's Park, Coonoor came into existence in the year 1874. This park is situated in deep ravine, at an elevation of 1780 to 1790 Mts. above MSL. It extends over an area of 12.14 ha. The park is of undulating nature and possesses a number of admirable features. This park is in the midst of all the main attractions of the town and no visitor ever misses the opportunity to step in and enjoy the unalloyed bliss of direct communion with the beauties of nature.
There are over 1200 species of plants representing 86 families grown in this garden. Some of the rare trees available in this park are the Rudroksh (Eleaocarpus ganitrus), the Paperwood tree (Melaleuca stypiloides), the camphor tree (Cinnamomum whitii), the Turpentine tree (Syncarpia laurilfolia), the Flowering Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus ficifolia), the Elephant leg tree (Araucaria bidwilli), the Tree Strawberry (Arbutus unido), etc.
There are two well laid out terraces for growing flowering annuals at the top of the park. The lawns remain evergreen and are well kept. Beds of annuals in the different terraces with their variegated array of colours enhance the charm of these lawns still further. The edges and borders of the park are planted with varieties of ornamental shrubs, especially with Azaleas, Abelia and Cupressus. This park possesses rich collection of Roses exceeding 200 varieties.
The rockeries maintained in appropriate places in the different regions, contribute to the total effect by providing rugged beauty, refreshing contrast to the beauty in order which we see otherwise in the park. The pond with its two islands at the lower regions of the park was recently de silted and the surrounding areas were landscaped with undulating lawn with flower beds. The adjoining summer house and the well laid out lawn with many varieties of rose plants and other shrubs all around are the added attractive. In spite of the contrast improvements in features of the park, it is gratifying to observe that the original layout has not been disturbed and the flora of the Nilgiris has also been maintained to advantage.
A small but expanding nursery is also functioning inside the park in the North Eastern side; engaged in propagation and multiplication of plants of various ornamental trees, shrubs, rose plants, etc. to meet the growing demand of the garden-loving public.
The annual Fruit Show is being organised every year at Sim's Park in the last week of May which attracts large gathering from far and near. From May 2003, introduction of boating in the lake situated in the lower garden and establishment of a children’s park are added attraction to this park. Further the park has been further expanded around the lake area and most of the areas around the lake are nicely turfed and new varieties of plants are introduced. In almost all the areas of the park shade loving plants are planted below the shade trees which give further attraction to the visitors. Annually about four lakh numbers of Visitors come to Sims park.
d) Bryant park, Kodaikanal
Bryant Park was established in the Year 1908. Area of this park is 20.5 acres. Until 1960 this park was maintained by various Departments and the Horticulture department is maintaining this park from 1980 to till date. Soil pH is 5.5 to 6.2 and is lateritic in nature. Annual rainfall is 2075 mm. Maximum Temperature is 24oC and Minimum Temperature is 3oC.
The infrastructure facilities available in this park are flower show Stall, Glass House, Mist Chamber, Permanent Stage, Drip irrigation, Sprinkler Irrigation. An open pond is available for irrigation and musical fountain. The Annual receipt from visitors entry fee is Rs.1.1 Crores with 5 to 7 lakhs number visitors.
This Park extends over an area of 4.15 Acres and was established by the Kodaikanal Municipality in 1924. It is situated 5 Km away from the Bryant Park in the North eastern corner of the town, near Kurinji Andavar Temple. This park was maintained by Agriculture Department from 1961 to 1980. From 1980 onwards the park is being maintained by the Department of Horticulture. One open pond with 5 HP electric motor is available for irrigation purpose. Soil pH is 4.8 to 6.2. The Annual receipt from visitor’s entry fee is Rs.26 Lakhs.
e) Anna park, Yercaud
This Park was established during 1999 with an extent of 4.00 ac. Altitude of this park is 1450 mts. Above MSL. Open lawn is in an area 1.0 ac, Children play area in 0.25 ac., Japanese Garden was established in an area of 0.5 ac. In Japanese Garden, there are components such as Fountains, Japanese Lanterns, Sculptures, etc., are also present. There is a Glass House with an area of 500 Sq.ft. and Nursery area with shade net to an extent of 0.5 ac. In the nursery, Rose, Hibiscus, Ornamentals are being produced. Annual Flower Shows are being held regularly during the month of May, displaying various varieties of Roses and other Ornamental flowers. Regarding Visitors, 1.5 – 2.0 lakhs visitors are visiting annually with revenue around Rs. 25.00 lakhs / year. Adjacent to this Park, Lake View Park and summer festival ground are also established in an area of 3.25 and 3.00 ac.
f) Semmozhi Poonga
Semmozhi Poonga has been established at Cathedral road, Chennai in an area of 7.92 acres at a cost of Rs. 7.96 crores. It was opened to the public on 24.11.2010.
Ongoing projects and development works
Ornamental and Demo Garden at SHF, Madhavaram
The establishment of Ornamental and Demo Garden at State Horticulture Farm, Madhavaram is under progress in an area of 28.51 acres with an outlay of Rs. 5.93 crores.
Government Botanical Garden at Yercaud
In Salem district at Yercaud, a Government Botanical Garden is under way at a cost of Rs. 7.45 crores in first Phase. The Gardens works are being established in an area of 40.00 acres.
Eco-Park at Courtallam
The establishment of an Eco-Park at Courtallam in Tirunelveli district is in an area of 37.23 acres at a cost of Rs. 5.92 crores.
Improvement of Bryant Park, Anna Park and Chettiyar Park at Kodaikanal
The development works are undertaken at Bryant Park, Anna Park and Chettiyar Park at Kodaikanal at a cost of Rs. 1.59 crores in an area of 24.65 acres.
Development works in Nilgiris district
In Nilgiris district, development works are being taken up in Government Botanical Garden, Ooty, Upper area development work at Government Botanical Garden, Ooty, Government Rose Garden, Ooty and Sims Park, Coonoor at a cost of Rs. 3.24 crores, 2.52 crores, 4.23 crores and 5.72 crores respectively.
Up gradation of Horticulture Management Institute at Madhavaram
It is proposed to up grade the present Horticulture Training Centre as Horticulture Management Institute at Madhavaram at a cost of Rs. 4.95 crores.
Horticulture Training Centre, Thally
It is proposed to establish a Protected Cultivation Training Centre at Horticulture Research and Training Centre at Thally in Krishnagiri district at a cost of Rs.3.30 crores.
Beautification of Parks in Nilgiris District
Beautification and development of infrastructure facilities at Government Botanical Garden, Ooty, Government Rose Garden, Ooty , Sims Park, Coonoor and SHF, Kattery was taken up with an amount of Rs.1.44 crores during the year 2010-’11.
III. BRIEF OUTLINE ABOUT THE ONGOING PROJECTS
a) ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ECO PARK AT COURTALLAM IN TIRUNELVELI DISTRICT
The Establishment of an Eco Park at Courtallam is implemented in the State Horticulture Farm, Courtallam in Tirunelveli District. This is also very nearer to the famous “Five Falls” of Courtallam. The total extent of the Park is 37.23 acres. The total project cost is Rs.573.00 lakhs. The Eco Park forms part of the Western Ghats.
Some of the tourist attractive feature of the Eco Park are Adventure Play Area, Sunken Garden, Fern Garden, Royal Drive, Bamboo Avenue, Rock Garden, Children Play Area, Murals, Butter fly Garden, Eco pond, Stream walk, etc. The Eco park is illuminated with colourful lights and high mass inside the park. Food court is provided for refreshment and much more attractive features are available for the tourist. (See the pictures)
b) ESTABLISHMENT OF GOVERNMENT BOTANICAL GARDEN AT YERCAUD IN SALEM DISTRICT
The establishment of Government Botanical Garden is implemented at Yercaud in Salem District at 1515 metres MSL. It is located at a distance of 36 Km from Salem well connected by road, nearby Rail way Station and Airport located at Salem. The total extent of the Park is 36.00 acres. The total project cost is Rs.745.00 Lakhs. Yercaud is already a famous tourist spot as a hill resort in Tamil Nadu. Establishment of Government Botanical Garden is an added attraction.
Some of the attractive features of the Government Botanical Gardens are Tourist facilitating Centre, View towers, Gazebo, Amphitheatre, Glass house, Fern house, Flower show gallery, Bonsai Gardens, Lawns, Shelters, etc. All these features are connected with beautiful pathways.
To enrich the beautification of the garden, it is provided with colourful LED lighting with the decorative street lightings, focusing lamps, etc. The entire landscape gardens are provided with drip and popup sprinklers systems. No doubt that this garden would attract more visitors in addition to other sight seeing spots. (See the Picture)
c) ESTABLISHMENT OF ORNAMENTAL AND DEMO GARDEN AT STATE HORTICUALTURE FARM, MADHAVARAM, NEAR CHENNAI
The establishment of Ornamental and Demo Garden is implemented at State Horticulture Farm, Madhavaram and Near Chennai City. It is located 6 km from Perambur Rail way Station and 18 Km away from the Chennai Broadway. The park is coming up adjoining the road side, which leads to Moolakadai to Madhavaram Milk Colony, on Ennore Main Road and well connected by road. The total extent of the Park is 28.51 acres. The total project cost of the Park is Rs.573.00 Lakhs. Since there is no tourist attraction place in the outskirt of the North Madras, the upcoming park is a gift to people of the North Madras. It will be the biggest park in and around Chennai and will attract everyone coming to Chennai City. Some of the attractive features are fountains, Artificial Water Cascade, Aviary, Kids Play Area, Trellises, Garden, Space maze, Wall maze, Lake with aerator fountain, Bridge with view Deck across the lake, etc.The garden will be fully illuminated with decorative foot path lighting, focusing lamps, street lamps, etc. Landscaping gardens are provided with automatic drip system and top up sprinkler systems. It will function as a large and beautiful sight seeing spot in around to the Chennai City. (See the pictures)
d) IMPROVEMENT OF BRYAND PARK, ANNA PARK AND CHETTIAR PARK AT KODAIKANAL
The park was established by British people several decades earlier. Kodaikanal is one of the tourist attractive hill resorts in Tamil Nadu. Bryant Park, Chettiar Park and Anna Park are already tourist attractive points. To face lift these parks, plenty of improvement works were taken up at an out lay of Rs.113 lakhs. The Bryant Park at Kodaikanal is functioning in an area of 25.72 acres, in order to improve the existing park’s beauty; the entire pathways were re-laid with attractive Antiskid tiles. Vacant spaces are covered with attractive flower species. The entire Anna Park was renovated with compound wall, illuminated with attractive lights, provision of Lilly Pond, Fountain, etc. Like wise the existing Chettiar Park was also renovated with new Antiskid tiles foot path, Children play areas with play equipments and Garden were developed. No doubt it will attract more visitors. (See the Pictures)
e) ESTABLISHMENT OF KURINJI GENETIC HERITAGE GARDEN AT YERCAND
To establish and to educate the old history of “Sangam Literature” and the way of life style of the people in those days, to the younger generation, the concept of Establishment of Kurinji Genetic Heritage Garden at Yercaud in Salem District was taken up. The total project cost is Rs.816 lakhs. The object of the garden is to recreate the Flora, fauna, Life Style, Architectural style of period, Folk, love, etc., of the various landscapes existed during the Sangam literature. This garden will be established with the Flora, Fauna, Architecture, Culture and Life style of Sangam age. It would be a model park teaching the ancient culture. The garden will accommodate the flora of that region including the cultivable and wild, endangered, endemic species of that area during Sangam period. The entire garden is illuminated with beautiful lightings and l equipped with drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. It is of no doubt that this particular Genetic Heritage Garden would create awareness to the visitors and to enjoy KURUNJI landscape effect of Sangam Literature. (See the pictures)
f) ESTABLISHMENT OF PAALAI GENETIC HERITAGE GARDEN AT ACHADIPIRAMBU
The establishment of Paalai Genetic Heritage Garden is implemented at Achadipirambu in Ramanad District. The total project cost is Rs.784.00 lakhs and the total extend of the area is 10.00 acres. The site is located in the highway of Tuticorin and 5 km away from the Ramand Town and well connected with Roads and Railways. The famous pilgrimage place of Rameswaram Temple is around 40 Km. away from the Garden. Hence, pilgrims and tourists who visit the famous Rameswaram Temple should not miss to enter into this Garden. The object of the Garden is as said in the Kurinji, to create awareness of the life style of the people of ancient Sangam Literature period.
NEW PROJECTS PROPOSED FOR IMPLEMENTATION DURING THE YEAR 2012-13
1. In Kodaikanal, the State Horticulture Farm is proposed to be converted and established as a Rose Garden and Cut Flower Demonstration Unit in an area of 4.40 acres at an out lay of Rs.900.00 lakhs.
2. In Kanyakumari, the State Horticulture Farm is to be developed into a Bio Diversity and Eco park in an area of 15 acres at an outlay of Rs.650.00 lakhs.
3. In Krishnagiri District at State Horticulture Farm, Thally is to be developed with infrastructure facilities to impart Training to the field functionaries and the Farmers from the State as well as near by States. The infrastructures are to be developed at an out lay of Rs.400.00 lakhs.
4. In Chennai, at Madhavaram the existing Horticulture Culture Training is proposed to be up graded a Horticulture management Institute. A multi story Horticulture Management Institute construction will be provided with all modern facilities to impart training to the field functionaries and the farmers from the state, as well as, from all over the country with International Standard at an outlay of Rs.725.00 lakhs.
FUTURE PLAN OF ACTION
In addition to the above projects Tamil Nadu Horticulture Development Agency has planned to implement projects like, Creation of an Eco Park at Vathalmalai in Dharmapuri District, Improvement works at Government Botanical Garden, Ooty, Government Rose Garden, Ooty and Sims Park Coonoor in the forth coming year.