Indian Museum in Kolkata is the largest museum in India. It is the ninth oldest regular museum of the world and oldest institution of its kind in Asia Pacific region. Indian Museum is a multipurpose and multi disciplinary institution of national importance. The museum was established at the Asiatic Society, the earliest learned body in the country on 2nd February 1814. Dr. Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist, was the founder curator of the museum. Indian Museum was transferred to the present building in 1878 with two galleries. Today, the museum has over sixty galleries of Art, Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Zoology and Botany sections, spreading over ten thousand square feet area. Many rare specimens of both Indian and Trans-Indian origin relating to Humanities and Natural Science are preserved and displayed in museum.
Largest Planetarium in India
The M. P. Birla Planetarium in Kolkata is the largest planetarium in India. The planetarium started functioning from September 29, 1962 as an educational, scientific and research institution and was formally inaugurated on July 2, 1963 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. M. P. Birla Planetarium is established on an acre of land leased by the West Bengal Government.
Since its inception, M. P. Birla Planetarium has designed and presented more than 350 astronomical projects dealing with many facets of astronomy, astro-physics, Celestial Mechanics, Space Science, History of astronomy, Centenaries of famous astronomers as well as mythology concerning stars and planets. The Planetarium owns an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD Camera, Solar Filter etc.
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The National Library in Kolkata is the largest library in India. It is an institution of National importance under the Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. National Library is situated on a scenic 30 acres Belvedere Estate, in Kolkata. The library is designated to collect, disseminate and preserve the printed material produced in the country.
The origins of the National Library can be traced back to 1836 when the Calcutta Public Library was established. The then Governor General, Lord Metcalf transferred 4,675 volumes from the library of the College of Fort William to the Calcutta Public Library. In 1891, the Imperial Library was formed by combining a number of Secretariat libraries. Lord Curzon, the then Governor General of India, conceived the idea of opening a library for the use of the public. He amalgamated Calcutta Public Library with the Imperial Library. The library was formally opened to the public on 30th January 1903 at Metcalf Hall, Kolkata. After independence, the library was renamed as the National Library.
Indian Botanical Garden situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata is the largest botanical garden of India. The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and have a collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares. The garden is renowned for The Great Banyan an enormous banyan tree (Ficus bengalhensis) that is considered to be the largest tree in the world. It has a circumference of more than 330 metres. The gardens are also famous for their rich collection of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus. Indian Botanical Gardens were previously known as Royal Botanic Gardens and were founded in 1786 by the British East India Company.