The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A visit to Botanical Garden

The only time I visited Botanical Garden was in my childhood. It was my father’s office picnic. So, a visit to this place so near Kolkata was long due.

The garden, commonly known as Indian Botanic Garden and formally known as Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, located in Shibpur in the city of Howrah, is one of its kind in India. Spread over 109 hectres, it has a collection of 12,000 specimens of plants and trees from all over India.

After I stepped into this heritage garden with my family last month, it didn’t take me long to connect with nature. Maybe because we entered from the second and relatively new gate, I didn’t spot too many people around. This urban forest offers complete tranquility and the only sound that breaks the silence is chirp of birds. Such a welcome break from the daily grind!

The main gate, adjacent to the bus stand

The second gate

If you like nature, and the stress at work becomes too much to for your nerves, a day trip to this place is what the doctor ordered. Nothing soothes the frayed nerves as much as nature and you shall come back rejuvenated. If you have some creative work to do, a place like this can aid the thinking process by a great deal. You can just be with yourself at the lap of nature with nothing to distract your mind (other than your mobile phone, of course).

I came across various types of trees and creepers as well as blooming flowers and fruits I have never seen in my life.

One of the many species of bamboo tree

The garden was set up by Colonel Robert Kyd in 1787. It was known as ‘Company Bagan’ then (after the name of East India Company). Kyd also served as the Honorary Superintendent of the garden from the beginning till 1793. The primary objective of the garden was identifying new plants of commercial value, such as teak, and growing spices for trade. According to Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century, the introduction of the tea plant from China may be considered one of the greatest accomplishments of this botanic garden. This led to another significant contribution- according to Sir Hooker, the establishment of the tea trade in the Himalaya and Assam is almost entirely the work of the superintendents of the botanic garden of Kolkata and Saharanpur.

The garden has a rare variety of water lily (Scientific name Victoria amazonica). Its leaves are so large and robust that it is said that a leaf can hold an infant.

Came across a palm house but unfortunately it was closed. Here’s a peek from the gate.

There are battery-operated cars of various sizes that can take visitors to a paid guided tour of the garden. They can be booked at the main gate.

Despite housing a mammoth collection of plants and trees, including countless rare species, the garden is pretty ill-maintained. Many of the trees are not labelled with name, scientific name and other details and road directions to visitors like which sections are located where are poorly maintained. The roads are kept clean but.

The faulty tap that throws water in all directions

The garden is by the river Hooghly (also known as Ganga or The Ganges).  There is a promenade by the river and sitting there can add to the experience.


The garden is a no-plastic zone. So, don't carry plastic bags. Also, bring your own food if you wish to eat, as, unfortunately, there is no food kiosk/ eatery inside. Even outside the main gate there is a sole low-end restaurant which is the only decent place to have a meal.  

#BotanicalGarden #NaturePark #KolkataTravel #TouristAttraction #StressBuster

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