Last Sunday was yet another World Environment Day, I was having a walk by the Hoogly after having a quick lunch. There was lot of activity as usual at the Babu Ghat. Some people were getting ready to have dip in the holy waters after worshipping, some women were walking upstairs after their Puja. A barber was sitting below a shady tree and was trimming beard of an old man. By the side of the stairs people were relaxing and having body message by traditional masseurs.
The wind was humid but it was pleasant in the shades of those old trees lining the old Strand Road. suddenly I saw a ferry coming near the ghat and I felt like crossing the river to reach the other side . Took a 5 rupee ticket and boarded the ferry. Instead of getting inside I stepped up to the upper deck to enjoy the cool breeze.
The ferry was about to leave the ghat when an old man came running with his bicycle wearing umpire cap, thick black spectacles and quickly boarded the ferry along with his cycle.
It was sailing smooth as river was calm and within few minutes we were at the ghat on the other side. This is Howrah and few kilometers from here is historic and very relevant place, The Royal Botanical Garden, Kolkata.
Officially it is Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Indian Botanical Garden . Before it was renamed in the 2009 after a bengali naturalist, it was known as Royal Botanical Garden, Calcutta.
The Garden was founded by Robert Kyd, an army officer of the British East India Company. Later William Roxburgh became its superintendent in 1763, who developed extensive collection of dried plant specimens, technically known as The Herbarium .
The Garden has a wide variety of plants and trees from more than five continents spread in over more than 100 hectares.
The most interesting thing which attracts thousands of visitors each year is ‘The Great Banyan Tree’ , a 250 years old banyan tree considered to be the largest tree spread in more than 1.5 hectares through more than 3500 aerial roots.
The tree is protected by a boundary of 330 meters of circumference! The Garden also has separate extensive palm grooves, enormous collection of Bamboos and Orchids, Palms and what not.
There are few small lakes in the Garden which adds to the beauty of the whole place. The ambiance is perfect for quite pleasant walks in the woods with river Hoogly flowing besides the boundary of the rich Garden on one side.
The Garden can also be reached easily by Taxi from Kolkata main city. Local bus connectivity is also quite frequent.
Took a local bus from the main gate of the garden and reached Esplanade to catch a Tram for Ballygunj.
The Day ended well with light rain and pleasant evening. It was a perfect setting to be at, on the World Environment Day and I enjoyed the scenery ,the walk and also the ferry ride across Hoogly.