December 31, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Chennai - Maadi Poonga

Hanging Gardens, which is called as "Maadi Poonga" is an unknown heritage site located in North Chennai, Tamil Nadu state of India.

Chennai, the erstwhile Madras, is the gateway to South India. This is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India. Chennai has a lot of tourist sites including Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. The "Hanging Gardens" which is popularly called as "Maadi Poonga" in Tamil language, the language spoken in Chennai, is one of the heritage sites which remains unknown to the current Chennai public.

Maadi Poonga is located in Royapuram area of North Chennai. The British East India Company which ruled India once after settling down in Madrasapattinam (the current George Town Area which was the original Madras/Chennai), constructed a six km long fortification to protect the residents of Madrasapattinam.

In 1768 CE, it was decided that the walls need to be built to protect the Black Town from the potential enemies like the French and Hyder Ali. Paul Benfield was the contractor and John Call was appointed as the Chief Engineer for this work.  The work started in 1769.

The north side wall was more or less over. It was decided that the tax would be levied to the merchants who pass through the walls to fund the construction of the west side wall. Due to opposition from the public, it was not implemented fully. Even the west wall was never completed. However, the Road alongside the western wall was named as Wall Tax Road.

The fortification had 17 bastions and six gates. One of the gates was Elephant Gate. Even today, the locality is popular in that name.

In the 19th century AD, when almost the entire India was under the control of British, the British government didn't find the necessity for the fortification, and hence it was brought down. Only a small portion of fortification was not destroyed, which is found as Maadi Poonga today.

It is unfortunate that this park is being mainly used by anti-social elements today.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Maadi Poonga 
Site Type: Heritage site, Park, Garden
Location: Royapuram, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Heritage site which belongs to British period
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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