Chennai’s green names

A walk down memory lane would remind us of several localities in the
city that were named after trees

We don’t think twice before axing trees these days, and so do not pause to realise that this city once had a close connect with trees. In fact, many of areas of Chennai derived their identity and their names from the trees that were locally grown. were harboured

Proof of this still exists, though sometimes, we tend to be oblivious to the obvious. For instance, there is Pelathope in Mylapore (derived from Pala Thoppu or jackfruit orchard), Mambalam (Mango fruit), Triplicane (Thiru-Alli-Keni – sacred lily pond), Teynampet (Thengai or coconut trees), Purasawalkam (from the Purasu or the flame of the forest tree), Vepery (Neem), Koyyathoppu (Guava orchard), Pulianthope (tamarind orchard), Panayur (palm village) on the ECR, Poonamallee (which was originally poo-virunda-malli – malligai or Arabian jasmine), Perambur (cane trees), Alandur (Banyan village)………

“Well, the people of this region were innately eco-sensitive, and it was a tradition to name localities after the flora of the place,” remarks Nanditha Krishna, founder-director C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC), and author of books like Madras-Chennai: Its History and Environment, and Sacred Animals of India. The CPREEC and Dr. R. Pauline Deborah, Professor of Plant Biology, Women’s Christian College, in her doctorate thesis ‘Tree Diversity in Urban Landscaping with Special Reference to Chennai’ have independently compiled lists of areas in the city named after trees.

Full report here Hindu


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