Kolkata Botanic Garden

By Aashima Chowdhry

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Image by Rachel King, Pinterest

‘The Great Banyan at the Howrah Botanical Gardens in Calcutta. Photo by Francis Frith, 1850-1870.’ – Rachel King

The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden dates centuries back. It is popularly known as the Kolkata Botanic Garden and has been a symbol of pride for the city.

With the idea of enabling trade of teak and other spices, Colonel Robert Kyd laid the foundation stone of the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanic Garden in 1787. Just years later, in 1793, the garden found itself serving an even larger purpose by becoming the Central National Herbarium of Botanical Survey of India through the efforts of the botanist and then superintendent, William Roxburgh.

Since then, the botanic garden has been home to a varied collection of rare species of plants, animals, insects and birds that attracts tourists, photographers, researchers and academicians from across the globe.

Trees like mahogany, mango, Sicily coconut along with a range of orchids, aquatic plants, ferns, water lilies are found in this garden. Some rare varieties like the Shivalinga tree, Bread Fruit tree, Double coconut tree are also preserved here. The garden is also the abode of animals like the Indian mongoose, Rooftop Turtles, Indian Fox and a wide variety of birds and snakes.

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Image by Upayan Chatterjee, Facebook
Upayan Chatterjee captures the return of the Roofed turtles at the Kolkata Botanic Garden after they became a rare sight for nearly 5 years due to excessive human activity.
While the heterogeneity of plants and animals are a big attraction, the Great Banyan Tree, a 250-year-old heritage has always been the highlight of this garden. With an area coverage of nearly 14,000 square feet, this tree holds the honour of having the second largest canopy in the world. A forest in itself, it maintains an aura of mystery and magic around it. Despite facing two major cyclones earlier and Cyclone Amphan recently, the tree still stands tall in all its grandeur bringing people to admire its stature and beauty from all parts of the world.
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Image by Sanchari Chaudhuri, Facebook
Like the numerous admirers of the Great Banyan Tree, Sanchari Chaudhuri captured the beauty of the tree on a rainy day. She describes the tree as truly hypnotic and most importantly resilient.
The picturesque garden is a perfect place to mingle with nature along with friends and family, best enjoyed in the months of October to March. This natural gem is located in close proximity to the Elgin Fairlawn, Kolkata and with a travel time of just 7 minutes by car, it is a must visit to fully enjoy and blend into the art and culture of the city of joy, Kolkata.

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