Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, Mauritius Overview
Popularly famous by the name of Pamplemousses Botanical Garden and being one of the most visited tourist attractions in Port Louis, the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden (SSR Botanical Garden) is the largest in Mauritius. Featuring an extravagant variety exotic and rare specifies of plants along with some endemic animals on the verge of getting endangered, this massive garden covers ground of over a whopping 37 hectares!
The garden exemplifies an assembly of beautiful tree and shrubs; there are some perennial species as well which can be found only during specific months in the year. The tourists can explore the 85 varieties of palm trees curated from several parted of the world. Another attraction for the visitors is the giant water lilies in the huge pond. The garden is enriched with a diversified fauna with species like tortoises and turtles, deer, fish and numerous birds and bats.
The entire premises of the garden are filled with monuments and tourists sites that give a glimpse of the colonial period. The historical background of the SSR Botanical Garden goes back to 1735. This property was purchased by Mahe de Labourdonnais for vegetation purposes that were an active supply for the import-export trading ships in Port Louis. After that, during the era of slavery, it was used as a plantation field; at other times, it was abandoned without any supervision. This went on until 1770 when Pierre Poivre bought it and along with his successor Nicolas Cere, work effectively for the establishment of this famous garden. Most of Cere's life and investments were involved in the upheaval of this garden. Together, they introduced a variety of herbs and spice species like cloves and nutmegs as well as the large pond and the lilies in them. The arrival of the British led to the degradation of the garden. It was James Duncan who renovated it and brought back its former beauty with the introduction of several kinds of palm trees. The Department of Agriculture overtook the garden's responsibility in 1913 and it was renamed after the first Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, because of his love for nature and hence, his funeral monument is a part of the garden.
Monuments and Sites
Other than an exhibition of vivid flora and fauna, the SSR Botanical Garden also has a number of historical monuments and sites which attract a lot of tourists.
The former residence of Mahe de Labourdonnais, the Chateau de Mon Plaisir is a significant structure in the premises. It was built as an office-mansion by the British in the 19th century. It has undergone a series of changes from being an administrative office to been used as an exhibition hall for photographs. As per the Protected National Monuments of Mauritius list, the building is renovated on a regular basis to maintain its historical significance and is closed for public visits.
The Victoria Amazonica Pond is the central attraction of the garden. Name after Queen Victoria, the huge rectangular pond of gigantic lilies was constructed in the garden in 1927. The diameter of the leaves of the lilies can go up to as big as 3 meters. Blooming for a short period of two days, the flowers then sink to the bottom of the pond.
The garden also has a model of an old sugar mill that was constructed by the Mauritian Chamber of Agriculture in 1953 for educational purposes as well as to preserve the island's history. The model is based on an ox-drawn mechanism which was used to crush the sugarcanes and produce sugar from the collected juices after all the filtering and refining processes.
The SSR Memorial is the funerary monument or the ?Samadhi? of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, commemorating his significance and love for gardens. It is a beautiful structure with a lotus on top and an inscription ?In Beloved Memory of the Father of the Nation?.
Flora and Fauna
The enthralling flora and fauna of the garden is a classic retreat amidst all the historical depictions. Endless lands encompassing more than 650 variants of plants including medicinal herbs. It showcases the talipot palm that blooms flowers once in 50 years. The largest tortoises in the world, the Aldabra tortoises, were brought to the garden in 1875 and are a special attraction now for the tourists as well. Several birds including the Bulbul, Moorhen and the Mauritian Olive-White eye catch the attention of bird watchers.
Timings and Facilities
The SSR Garden provides its visitors with facilities like guided tours, rental golf cars, free parking and wheel-chair for the physically disabled. It is open to the public every day; open from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM.
This flora and fauna enriched garden is a getaway for historical rejuvenation and a place full of natural spectacle, making it ideal for trips with family and friends for getting close to an environmental wonder and for tweaking the educational knobs as well!
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