Botanical Gardens in Kolkata

Weather :

Timings : 10:00 hours to 19:00 hours

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : Indian Nationals: INR 10,
Foreigners: INR 100,
Camera: INR 20

The annual membership fees for all cardholding daily walkers is INR 200.

Botanical Gardens in Kolkata, Kolkata Overview

The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, better known as the Botanical Garden, is a sprawling garden spanning a total area of 273 acres that is located in Shibpur, Howrah, near Kolkata. The gardens were established in the year 1787 and were commonly known as the Company Garden in that time. It is presently under the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. Today, the vibrant garden is considered to be one of the most stunning landscaped gardens in the entire country with undulating land topography and astonishing artificial lakes. It is a pure delight for nature lovers to visit this area and to spend some quiet and peaceful time in the lap of nature at the gardens. 

The Botanical Garden boasts of being home to 12,000 living perennial plants as well as thousands of dried out plants which have been collected from all across the globe. Thousands of astounding orchids and multicoloured flowers can also be found in the garden. The major attraction of the garden, however, is the vast and widespread Banyan tree, which is popularly known as the Great Banyan Tree. This enormous tree is reputed for forming the second most extensive canopy in the entire world. The Botanical Gardens were originally founded in 1786 by Colonel Kyd, and are the oldest botanical garden that can be found in the whole country. In fact, the tea that now grows in Assam and Darjeeling was first developed in these gardens.

Photos of Botanical Gardens in Kolkata

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Attractions at Botanical Garden

A total of 12,000 trees and shrubs which belong to 1,400 exotic species can be found at the Botanical Gardens, along with a range of other herbaceous plants. This entire flora is nurtured in 25 divisions, glass houses, greenhouses and conservatories. Rare species of trees that have been specially brought in from Nepal, Malaysia, Java, Brazil, Sumatra and Sicily among other places can also be found here.

The garden also houses mango trees, banyan trees, tamarind trees, Cuban Palms, mahogany trees, multi-hued bamboo trees, coconut trees from Sicily, the mad tree, orchids, branching palms trees from Brazil, various kinds of cacti, Bougainvillea, Bamboos, Citrus, Pandanus, Jasmine, Water Lilies, Ferns, Creepers, Ficus, Hibiscus and a range of other aquatic, floricultural and arboriculture plants.

Some of the most exotic plants that can be found here include the Bread Fruit Tree, Giant Water Lilies, Double Coconut, Krishnabot, Giant Water lilies and the Shivalinga tree. The Botanical Gardens also has a serpentine lake where tourists can enjoy boating. The library in the Botanical Garden also boasts of an extensive and impressive collection of books.

Great Banyan Tree at Botanical Garden

Perhaps the most famous attraction that can be found in the Botanical Gardens is the 250-year-old massive and colossal banyan tree, which is fondly known as the Great Banyan Tree. Even though the exact time of the planting of this tree and its entire history is unknown, the tree does find mention in travel books that date back to around the 19th century. The majestic tree was damaged by two great cyclones that took place in 1864 and 1867, and some of the branches of the tree broke down in this natural phenomenon, exposing it to the attacks of fungus.

The main trunk of the tree decayed and had to be removed in 1925, but till date, the tree continues to live in perfect health. The tree is renowned for having the largest spread in India, and the present crown of the tree has a circumference of 450 metres. It has 2880 aerial roots that reach the ground, and this marvellous creature of the plant kingdom also finds mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.

History of Botanical Garden

The Botanical Gardens were founded in the year 1786 by Colonel Alexander Kyd, who was an army officer of the British East India Company. The primary purpose of creating the garden was to identify new plants of commercial value, such as teak; as well as to grow species of plants exclusively for trade. Sir George King initiated the design, and significant changes were introduced by the botanist William Roxburgh after he became the superintendent of the garden. He proposed that plants be brought in from all across the country, and consequently, an extensive herbarium was developed. 

The collection of dried plant specimens at the Botanical Garden eventually became the Central National Herbarium of the BSI and comprised of 25,00,000 items. The lush garden was known as the East India Company's Garden or the 'Company Bagan'. After India gained independence, the garden was renamed as the 'Indian Botanic Garden' in the year 1950. It was later on designated the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden on June 25 in 2009 in honour of the great scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose.

Best Time To Visit Botanical Gardens

The ideal time to visit the Botanical Garden is from October to March during the winter months.

Tips For Visiting Botanical Gardens

1. The Botanical Garden is a no plastic and no smoking zone, so make sure that you abide by the rules.
2. Visitors are not allowed to carry food and drink into the gardens. There is, however, food available for purchase within the premises.
3. The garden is too huge to be covered on foot and a guide is required if you wish to know peculiarities of the plants. You can engage a six-seater car at the entrance gate of the garden which will take you through the entire area. The driver stops at various locations and explains details about the different plants.

How To Reach Botanical Gardens in Kolkata

One can take easily take a private car or a taxi to the Gardens. The Botanical Garden is located on the Howrah side of the Hooghly River on the West Side of the Kolkata City Centre. It is advised to travel to it via a private vehicle or a cab. You can even hop on to any city bus which says "B Garden" and it will drop you at the entrance to the garden. The Shalimar Railway Station is the closest to the garden, however, it is not connected to any suburban train stations in Kolkata except Santragachi.

There are no metro stops or other public transport alternatives that will drop you at or near the Botanical Gardens.

If you're wondering about trains, the nearest Railway Station is Shalimar. However, it is not well connected with Kolkata's suburban rail network and only links to Santraganchi Railway Station. It does, however, connect to a few places outside the city.

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