About Botanical Garden
Credits: Barry. Pousman
The Botanical Garden in Pondicherry is a landmark site on the map of the city in terms of its great recreational and educational value. The entrance to the garden bears the nostalgia of the French colony that was set up here during 1816. The garden stands out from its surroundings in terms of its location. It is situated right in the middle of old Tamil Nadu town.
The garden was established in 1826 in a very authentic and ornate French style. Right from the architecture to arrangement of trees and materials used to deck up the garden, all bear the deep reflections of French culture.Pruned flower beds, well arranged tall columns of trees, fountains and gravel lined paths are some of the essential features of the Botanical Garden in Pondicherry which is spread over a sprawling 22 acres of land. In this garden, you will witness more than 1500 species of trees of both native and international origins.
All plants and trees carry their respective placards containing information such as name, origin, medicinal value and the amount of oxygen created by that particular tree among such things. Many plants and trees are often used from this botanical garden in various research to manufacture medicine. The Pondicherry Botanical Garden qualifies as one of the best botanical gardens of south India
How to Reach Botanical Garden
The distance between the Pondicherry Botanical Garden to Pondicherry bus stand is just around 1.5km. The garden is situated on the south end of the new bus stand. If you board a bus from the Pondicherry bus stand, it will take just 5 to 7 minutes to reach the botanical garden.
If you are game to take a stroll down the garden from the bus stand, you can easily to do as it will take around 10 to 12 minutes to get to the botanical garden.
Best Time to Visit Botanical Garden
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For being located on the seaside, Pondicherry witnesses a pleasant weather round the year.
Summer: The summer times, especially May and June should be avoided as the temperature reaches soaring high causing inconvenience to tourists. One cannot comfortably take a comfortable tour across the garden due to the humid weather.
Winter: The rise in tourists’ footfall occurs in the months of December, January and February when the weather remains very comfortable and one can roam around the state as per their heart’s content.
Monsoon: A handful of tourists also like to enjoy visiting a seaside city during the rains to watch the showers hitting the sea shores. For them, anytime between July end to September is a good time to visit the botanical garden in Pondicherry. During monsoon, the garden becomes lush and opulent with its bounty of floriculture beauty.
What Not to Miss at Botanical Garden
Attractions near the park
1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Located at Rue de la Marine, this is among the most visited places in Pondicherry. The ashram is located just 2.2km. The ashram was set up by Mirra Alfassa, popularly known as The Mother. The Samadhi or the mausoleum is situated at the central courtyard where floral tributes are paid every day.
The main building and the library are located nearby it. There is a meditation hall too. You can purchase things like handmade soaps, incense sticks, clothes, showpieces and other such stuff from the Auroville shop. Children below 3 years are not allowed inside the ashram. You get strictly instructed by the ashram authorities to maintain silence inside the ashram.
2. Immaculate Conception cathedral: The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is one of the pious places of prayer for the thousands of believers of Christianity in Tamil Nadu. The church is situated in just 1.5km from the botanical garden. You can easily spend over 1 hour at the church by witnessing the white ornate architecture of the building, it's gorgeous interior and exterior designs overall calms the already serene atmosphere.
Located on Church Street, this church is dedicated to Saint Peters. The church was built in 1686. This is a heritage place that you can visit with your family. Every day prayers are performed here at 5pm.
3. Bharathi Park: Bharathi Park is another major attraction located in the vicinity of Pondicherry Botanical Garden. It is just 2km from the garden that can be reached on foot in 10 to 15 minutes. The park is maintained by the Tamil Nadu government. It is a serene place to walk around and take refuge. It is situated in White Town nearby the Beach Road.
This is a peaceful place with lots of greenery. The famous Aayi Mandapam is located here which has its historical roots back to the 1800s. This is a great place to be with your family members.
4. Pondicherry Museum: If you would like to gather information about the history of Pondicherry and its rich heritage then visiting the Pondicherry Museum must be in your itinerary. The distance between the botanical garden and the museum is just 2km. Sculptures, burial urns, weapons, paintings, ancient porcelain crockery, lamps, furniture mirrors among other things of the Franco-Indian cultural effusions can be witnessed here.
5. Aquarium: There is a vast aquarium at Pondicherry botanical garden which collects a plethora of various unique marine species. The facility is well managed and maintained. Your kids will love an outing here and gather knowledge about various fish and water species. All displays at the aquarium carry detailed presentation of their origin, function and characteristics among other such information.
Therefore, it is a fun zone for children who take pleasure in learning science. An entry to the garden will cost Rs 10 for adults, while it is just Rs 5 for kids.
6. Toy train ride: There is a toy train facility inside the premises of the Pondicherry Botanical Garden. This is a fun ride in this two-bogey train that takes you on a tour of the entire garden in around 15 minutes. A ride to the toy train is priced at Rs 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children.
The train moves along the narrow paths surrounding towering trees and colourful flower beds across the garden. You can hop on to the train with all your family members and enjoy the ride while taking plenty of photos during your journey.
7. Children’s play area: The Pondicherry Botanical Garden is spread across a vast area and therefore, there is enough room for children to roam around and play. The garden has been maintained well by the authorities to ensure that young adults and kids have a great time here. Lots of structures and equipment have been installed here for kids to play.
8. Musical fountain: You can witness the brilliant musical fountain shows here. The fountains are made of white marbles following the typical French architecture. Regular musical fountain shows are a great draw for visitors at the park.
Highlights of Botanical Garden Pondicherry
1. The signs of French culture and heritage can be spotted everywhere, right from the main entrance to every nook and corner of the botanical garden at Pondicherry.
2. The lush garden is spread across 22 acres. It the house of more than 1500 species of unique flora.
3. The garden was established by the French colonial ruler in 1826.
4. Some very rare and endangered species of flora can be found here.
5. The garden is the hub of knowledge for students pursuing botany and biology among other such disciplines.
Other Essential Information About Botanical Garden
Location: Maraimalai, Maraimalai Adigal Salai, near Anna statue, Orleanpet, Pondicherry
Timings: The botanical garden is open all days in a week from 9am to 6pm.
Entry fee: Entry to the botanical garden for children below 12 years is free, while it is Rs 20 for adults.
Visitor's Facility: Besides witnessing the botanical garden with its rich flora bounty, visitors can go for the toy train ride, or enter the aquarium that is full with nice collection of marine lives. Separate play area for kids has been designed too. The garden is centrally located so one can avail of any transportation facility to reach the garden.
Parking Facility: Car parking facility is available adjacent to the park.
Distance from Pondicherry bus stand: The distance between Pondicherry Botanical Garden and Pondicherry bus stand is around 1.1km via the Maraimalai Adigal Salai. It takes just 5 minutes to reach the garden via car from the bus stand.
Flora and Fauna of Botanical Garden Pondicherry
The Pondicherry Botanical Garden houses over 1500 species of unique trees and plants. Among them are exotic collection of bamboos, aquatic plants, mad tree, banyan tree, water lilies, Cuban palms, Mahogany, jasmine, hibiscus, tamarind, orchid, mango trees and the like are in huge numbers. The aquarium at the garden possesses beautiful range of marine lives. Tropical fishes like Badis, Danios, Colisa, Rosy Barbs, eels, locahes, glass catfish are available here.
Rabbits, field rats, porcupines, mongooses, lemur can be found across the garden. The place is maintained by the department of agriculture of the Tamil Nadu government. Several native and foreign plant species with great medicinal values can be found here. Research students from across the country should make a visit to the botanical garden for its great educational potential.
The garden was established to promote in depth study of various cultivated plants.
Places to Stay Near Botanical Garden Pondicherry
If you are planning to spend a few days in Pondicherry, then booking your accommodation near the botanical garden area will be great as the surroundings are nice, peaceful and calm with all modern amenities.
1. La Maison Radha: La Maison Radha is a popular home stay near the botanical garden with free wifi and power backup facility. Good comfortable rooms, decent food facility and easy transportation are some of the essential features of this place. You will have to shell out around Rs 1400 per night at La Maison Radha. This is an ideal place for a family stay. The staff here is warm and very hospitable.
2. Villa Kalifie: Villa Kalifie is just 0.2km from Pondicherry Botanical Garden. This home stay facility is equipped with modern AC rooms with wifi, attached bath with all necessary amenities for your comfortable stay. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is just 0.9km from this place. The place will charge you Rs 1300 per night. Great food facility is also available here. This place is quite popular, so you need prior booking.
3. Micasa Hostels: The distance between Micasa Hostels and the botanical garden is just 0.5km. The hostel has air-conditioned clean rooms at an affordable price of Rs 700 per night. You can reach the Promenade Beach in just 10 minutes by walking from here. Shared lounge with all modern facilities are available here. This place is ideal for backpackers and a great deal for budget travellers.
4. Hotel De Petit: This hotel is located within 1.1km of the botanical garden. The place has nicely equipped modern allergy-free rooms. It provides express check-in and check-out facility. You can reach both the garden and the Aurobindo Ashram on foot within 10 minutes from this hotel which will charge you around Rs 6800 per night. Lavish atmosphere and plush draw a niche tourists here.
Places to Eat Near Botanical Garden Pondicherry
1. Zuka Choco La: Located on RD Mission Street, this is one of the finest cafes in Pondicherry that is considered as the hub for desserts in the city. Finest and freshest cupcakes, biscotti, puffs, cookies, brownies, pastries and sponge cakes are available here that taste heavenly. The prices of all items are reasonable. The place has great both seating and takeaway facilities. It is located within 2km of the botanical garden.
2. Les Chefs: Les Chefs that specialises in Mexican and Italian cuisine is located in White Town. Various north Indian an continental dishes are too available here. Be it soups, salads, starters or chef special main course menu, you will relish all the delicacies here. Don’t forget to try the famous bamboo biryani at Les Chefs. The eatery is placed within 1.5km of the botanical garden.
3. Villa Shanti: Villa Shanti is situated on Suffreen Street in White Town. This is a fine diner with a plethora of continental food options. A full-fledged bar is available at Villa Shanti. The seating area here is huge with brilliantly decorated interiors. Right from breakfasts to soups, salads, pastas, sides, seafood items, and some authentic French dishes are available here. You can also opt for the north Indian tandoor dishes. The staff of the restaurant is cordial and the service is swift.
4. Baker Street: Baker Street is one of the popular French breakfast places in Pondicherry which is located in the vicinity of the botanical garden. Located on Bussy Street, MG Road, this place offers a varied range of burgers, wraps, sandwiches, cakes, puffs, breads, chocolates and tea and coffee. The ambience here is nice like a traditional cafe in a French town.
Tips before visiting Botanical Garden Pondicherry
The Pondicherry Botanical Garden is a well maintained and well guarded place. The garden authorities have provided ample time and effort to ensure that visitors, especially children, have a safe and happy hour here. If you are visiting the garden for the first time with your family, you may want to follow these tips.
1. Carry water bottles, umbrellas, caps etc if you are visiting the place in summer as the seaside city witnesses a very high temperature.
2. Do not litter the garden. Collect the stuff to be discarded and dispose them in litter bins spread across the garden.
3. Try to visit the garden in the morning hours to avoid the rush.
4. Do not touch the plants or trees as it is strictly prohibited by the garden authorities.
5. Do not touch any of the display units at the aquarium as well.
6.To ride the toy train, maintain a queue, especially during rush hours.
7. Park your car at the designated car parking slot.
8. Keep a close watch on your children as they roam or play around the park.
9. Follow the instructions offered by the guards and other staff of the botanical garden.
10. Buy tickets for each and every facility that is charged at the garden.