botanical garden

The extensive Botanical Gardens, on the west bank of the Hoogly river, strech forever 1 km along the river and occupy 109 hectares. The gardens were originally founded in 1786 and administered by Colonel Kyd. It was from these gardens that the tea now grown in Assam and Darjeeling was first developed. Trees of the rarest kinds, from Nepal, Brazil, Penang, Java and Sumatra can be found here. There are towering Mahogany trees, an avenue of Cuban Palms and an Orchid House. Mango and Tamarind trees shade the grassy lawns. But the main attraction of the garden is the 200 year old Banyan Tree, claimed to have the second largest canopy in the world. It is the world's largest, having a circumference of 330m.

The Palm House in the centre of gardens is also well worth a visit.The gardens are over the Howrah Bridge, 19Km by bus from Chowringhee. The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset, and although they tend to be very crowded on Sunday, on other days they are peaceful and make a pleasant escape from the hassles and crowd of Calcutta.