Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden also known as Indian Botanic Garden is located on the west bank of river Ganges in Shibpur which is a suburb of Kolkata. It lies on the Howrah side of river Hooghly and is located 12km west of the city center. It is spread over 109 hectares of land and boasts a collection of 12,000 specimens of rare plants. It is managed by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of ministry of Environment and Forests coming under the Government of India, which took control on 1st of January 1963.
The garden was founded in the year 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an officer of the British East India Company. The main purpose of constructing and maintaining this garden for him was to cash in on plants that had commercial value such as teak and various spices that could easily be traded. The biggest achievement at the time for the garden was the fact that the present day tea grown in Assam and the Himalayan regions find their humble beginnings in this very garden. The tea plants were bought all the way from China. This feat was acknowledged by the famous British Botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker himself.
Sir George King in 1872 is responsible for the designing of this unique and amazing landscape. It is said to be one of the most beautiful landscape gardens with amazing land topography and artificial lakes. It was called the East India Company’s garden or Company Bagan. Only post-Independence in 1950 it was renamed Indian Botanic Garden. One of the most well-known and sought after attraction in the garden is Ficus Bengalhensis or the “Great Banyan Tree” which is over 200 years old and is said to have the largest Canopy in the world. It holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The garden has 25 divisions, glass houses, greenhouses and conservatories. It nurtures a wide variety of the rarest species of trees which are bought all the way from Nepal, Brazil, Java, Sicily, Malaysia etc. They have Mahogany tree, Cuban Palm tree, Coconut Trees, Multi-hued Bamboo trees, branching palms trees from Brazil, the mad tree, orchids, a range of water plants etc. They also have a collection of Bougainvillea, creepers, water lilies, jasmines, bamboos, Ficus, Hibiscus and a range of foricultural and arboricultural plants. The most exotic plants grown here are Double Coconut, Bread Fruit Tree, Giant water lily, Shivalinga tree and Krishnabot.
It is a leading institute for horticulture and botanical research in India. It helps in increasing the population of birds and insects along with encouraging development, research and educational values. The best time of the year to visit is from October to March. It has an Entry fee of Rs 5 without camera and Rs 10 with camera. It’s open from morning to evening except on public holidays.