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Marble Palace, Kolkata

  • (worth a detour)
  • 1-2 km
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 2 hours
  • 2 2

One of the best-conserved and most graceful houses in Kolkata

645, James Long Sarani, Das Para Road, Thakurpukur, Kolkata - 700063 West Bengal
The main cuisine in Kolkata is Bengali, however, the city is also famous for its Mughlai and Chinese cuisine. Kolkata famous for its street foods as well. When here, you have to try 'phuchka' (also known as paani puri in Mumbai and gol gappa in Delhi), kathi rolls at Anamika Roll Centre, Triangular Park ( for non-vegetarians), Chop and Cutlet, Jhaalmuri, and Ghughni Chaat. If you wish to experience a more authentic Bengali cuisine then you must go to Oh! Calcutta at Forum Mall (Elgin Road), and Bhojohori Manna at Esplanade. Arsalan (Park Street Area) is famous for its Biryani and Marco Polo (Park Street) is famous for Lebanese chops and Hungarian-sauce veg gratin.
Most parts of the Palace are now open to the public, however, a portion of the house is still inhabited by the descendants of Raja Rajendra Mullick. Entry is free to the palace, but a permit must be acquired from the West Bengal Tourism information Bureau at BBD Bag, Kolkata, at least a day before the intended day of visit. Photography is strictly not allowed inside the palace. You will be met with guides who can help you with the history and give you a tour of the house in lieu of a small baksheesh (fee).

Marble Palace is one of the most underrated jewels of Kolkata. Named after the material used to carve its walls and floors, the palace is a 19th century mansion located in the heart of North Kolkata. It is believed that the marbles used to built this place include 126  different types of colorful Italian Marble, and that the house was named ‘Marble Palace’ by Lord Minto. The palace is often referred to as one of the best-conserved and most graceful houses dating back to 19th Century Kolkata.

 

The house was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835, who was known to be an affluent Bengali businessman with a passion to collect exquisite works of art. Raja Rajendra Mullick was the adopted son of Nilmoni Mullick, who erected a Jagannath temple which antedates Marble Palace, and still stands within the grounds of the Palace, but is only open to members of the family.

 

The house is built following the Neoclassical style of architecture whereas its gardens reflect a purely traditional Bengali style. Next to the courtyard, there is a dedicated place for the family to worship, known as thakur dalan.  The expansive gardens and grounds surrounding the house comprise countless figurines, a pond with an intricately designed stone-fountain, featuring mermen and mermaids, which may or may not be functional at this time , the Marble Palace zoo and a mini rock garden. Reportedly, the Marble Palace Zoo is the first zoo ever opened in India. It was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick but in 1845. Once a proper zoo, it now acts mostly as an aviary with inhabitants such as toucans, peacocks, cranes, pelicans,and storks. There are no big or fascinating animals as such except for a couple of deer species such as barking deers and spotting deers. Dispersed all over the area (except for the house) are statues of lions in different forms, sculptures of Gautam Buddha, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, etc. There are seating arrangements all across the grounds, at times accompanied by impressive marble top tables.

 

Guests are only allowed to enter inside the house through a side entryway which leads you straight into the Billiard Room. It’s almost like time travelling to the yesteryears. The Marble House Palace houses many Western sculptures and Victorian furnitures, paintings by many notable artists, and valuable art objects. It is believed that the Marble Palace holds two paintings by Rubens namely The Marriage of St. Catherine and The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. It is also reported that there are two paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds as well –  The Infant Hercules Strangling the Serpent and Venus and Cupid. Other prominent artists whose works are included and displayed in the collections include John Opie, Murillo, and Titian.

 

At first look, you will get really confused and baffled with the disharmony between the objects in the hall and the overall building but you have to know that most of these objects on display were gifts to Raja Rajendra Mullick. It may be difficult but you need to overcome the feeling of shock or dismay of both seeing several ancient civilizations and beliefs all jumbled up together, and only then you can enjoy and appreciate the jewels that are stored inside this magnificent old building.

 

Opening hours

Open from 10:00 till 15:00 every day except Mondays and Thursdays

How to get there

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is the main international airport in Kolkata which is well connected to all major cities in the country and abroad such as Bangkok, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and Paro.

If travelling within India, there are regular trains connecting Kolkata's Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah Railway Station to all the major parts of the country.

Getting around within the city is very easy as the city offers multiple transport options - metered taxis, shared auto rickshaws, normal buses, AC buses, Metro, and Suburban Trains.

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