Kolkata, the original ‘British era’ capital of India,is a city  most famous for its colonial era architecture and legacy; the grand Victoria Memorial, old world charm of Park Street, gothic St. Paul’s Cathedral and the vast Maidan are some of the most visited places in the city. Not surprisingly, these places are the most crowded too, making Kolkata one of the most crowded and congested cities in India.
However, if you are in Kolkata and want to escape to a natural retreat  (and lose the crowds), there is no better place than the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanical Garden or as its simply called as ‘The Botanical Garden’. Located on the banks of Hoogli River, this  garden is a favorite natural retreat for the residents of the city.

I spent a lazy afternoon at the Botanical Garden with the family and it was a wonderful day spent in the company of interesting flora under the winter sun.

The Botanical Garden was established way back in the year 1787, making it around two centuries old and it is the oldest (and largest) botanical garden in south East Asia. Covering an area of 106 hectares, it is just not large it’s HUGE!!
The only way to get enjoy this garden is to walk  and what a wonderful walk it is; the tree lined paths, the very unusual trees and random growth of foliage alongside the paths gives a feeling of untamed nature.
One of the first amazing flora we came across was these big lotus leafs in a pond, I mean they were really BIG and it’s a fact that they are so sturdy that an an eight year old child can safely sit on the leaves.
The views were lovely, almost out of a picture postcard. Soon, we came across a natural canal which meanders along the entire garden and makes for some really pretty scenery.
At one point in the canal, there were boating facilities and we saw people merrily paddling boats,enjoying the breeze and the sun. The husband suggested we do it too,but I wasn’t in mood for any kind of exercise other than walking, so we moved on.

Walking for about an hour, we came to ‘THE’ attraction of Botanical Garden,which is The Great Banyan Tree – it is around 250 years old and looks like a miniature forest. In fact,the husband who did not know about the tree, was gobsmacked on seeing the extent of the tree from a distance. 

The Great Banyan Tree – yeah this is one tree, not a forest !!

Some facts about The Great Banyan Tree in the below image πŸ™‚

Walking inside the tree is is strolling inside a giant canopy forest and makes for interesting photography.

We came out of the Great Banyan Tree and rested for a while, admiring the views and clicking photographs. 

It was almost 2.5 hours of wandering inside the garden and we loved every minute of it. We left the garden with a sense of peace and relaxation. As I left the garden, these words echoed in my mind:-

β€œThose who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 

― Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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  1. Very inspiring post. Whrn i was in town, i wqlked from Bapu ghat till princep ghat. Next time botanical garden would be the place for walk and some fresh air. Vibha loves visiting gardens , forests and botanical landscapes. Thanks !

  2. What a beautiful botanical garden you have there. Those lotus leaves just wowed me .. and then I saw the Banyan tree. I don't know that I would have realized that those prop roots were not tree trunks had I not read it. I would be thinking.. which tree? There's a forest full of them. It's truly amazing. Your photos are lovely. Thank you for sharing this visit and thank you also for your kind words during your recent visit to my blog. Much appreciated.

  3. What a wonderful place to explore! Thank you for sharing this amazing garden which has a long history.
    Banyan tree shows the miraculous power of nature!

  4. What an interesting place this is!! The Great Banyan Tree looks almost divine. It must have witnessed the history of 250-year-old as a guardian. I wish I were here!

  5. This is the place I’m after as I like walking, nature, and discovering something new. As I walk with you, I got more and more interested in that place through your fabulous photos. Thanks for your visit.


  6. A lovely write up about a beautiful , old, garden. I had visited it about 3 decades back,and your photographs indicate the present conditions. I have to fish out my old ones and compare πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. What you wrote about the lotus leaf is right. We saw this type of leaf in Kew gardens in the UK. We had been to Kolkata once for a short period but didn't visit this place. We should have done it.

    The Great Banyan Tree…the pictures are lovely.

    Thanks for the information about this garden. I will visit this soon.

  8. When I was working in my Bank, I was posted to Kolkata for one year. At that time we visited Darjeeling and other places of attraction in and around Kolkata. We planned to visit the Botanical Garden but somehow could not make it.

    You have partially filled that gap by your wonderful shots.


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