Marble Palace, Kolkata is one of the most famous attractions of Kolkata and it was constructed by the Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835. He was passionate about collecting art and antiques. The palace is the most preserved structure of the 19th-century era. The palace gets its name as it is built of Marble and has intricately carved pillars and walls.
This palace comprises a large number of western sculptures, paintings and other antiques such as chandeliers, clocks and urns. The Marble Palace houses a rare collection of original paintings of the European stalwarts like Rubens, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Titian, Murillo, and John Opie.
The Marble Palace is a private residence which is being inhabited by the descendants of Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur. Entry to this place is free, but you have to get a special permit 24 hours in advance from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau at BBD Bag, Kolkata. The photography is prohibited in the palace as it is a private residence and the inhabited area is off-limits. There is also a zoo besides the palace, which happens to be the first zoo opened in India. It has birds, few species of deer and other small animals.
The whole Marble Palace is built in traditional Bengali architectural style with Thakur-Dalan and open courtyards. The premises of the palace also comprises a rock garden and a lake. This Palace is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Kolkata.
Architecture of Marble Palace
The Marble Palace was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835 on the site of Jagannath temple which was built by his father. He loved the lavish architecture, the main building is a perfect blend of a Neoclassical style with Corinthian columns. While the grounds and courtyards are built in a more traditional Bengali design.
The palace is divided into five halls - Reception Hall, Painting Room, Sculpture Room, Billiards Room and Thakur Dalan (place of worship). The main façade is built in Neoclassical style with tall fluted Corinthian columns and bas reliefs which opens into courtyards that are largely traditional Bengali style. The palace comprises a small place of worship which is located just adjacent to the courtyard and is also called the “Thakur Dalaan”.
The marble pillars, floorings and walls of the palace comprises intricate carvings. The massive corridors are lined with chandeliers, Victorian furniture, sculptures and portraits. The fretwork of the verandas and balconies are inspired by Chinese elements and the sloping roofs are inspired by Chinese style pavilion. The spacious grounds also contain everything from a lake, to a rock garden, to a zoo.
Structure of Marble Palace
The Marble Palace comprises Victorian furniture to priceless sculpture. The rooms of the palace house the plethora of artefacts, statues, furniture and paintings which will make you overwhelmed; considering the fact that all these are part of a personal collection. The statues and other sculptures here are a fine medley of Greek, Roman and Indian mythology, many of which are imported from beyond the seas and some of them probably Raja had received as a gift. There is one room in the palace which contains a statue of Queen Victoria which was carved out of a single tree trunk. Marble Palace accommodates 126 different types of imported Italian marbles which were used to build the mansion, its floors and the walls. A wooden staircase leads to the upper stories of the palace where the descendants of the Raja still continue to live. This quarter is off-limits to the common visitors but the rest of the section of the three-storied building has been converted to a museum. The palace accommodates one private Jagannath Temple where visitors are not allowed. There are some full wall-sized mirrors in some of the rooms and many other original Belgian glass mirrors which are baroquely enclosed in a gold polished frame. Make sure that you visit the Nach Ghar or the dance room which once used to be fully carpeted with upholstered sitting arrangements around the centre. There are a beautiful chandeliers hangs from the high ornate ceilings which exhibits the glorious past.
The ballroom is still lined with candle chandeliers and silvered glass balls from a collection of original 19th-century disco balls that spread the illumination of the chandeliers. The palace comprises 76 rare artworks which were brought here from Italy and Belgium in 1830. There is a massive Japanese bronze vase resides in the doorway which has the full potential of grabbing immediate attention of any visitor. There are Belgian glass mirrors that adorn the walls and provides more depth to the ambience of the place.
From the surrounding verandahs, the wide courtyard in the middle of the house is visible. The outside lawn of the marble palace houses a pond which has a beautifully engraved stone fountain in the middle though it does not sprout water anymore. The whole garden area is strewn with stone statues of a lion, fallen angels, Buddha and also marble top tables, benches.
How to reach Marble Palace
The most recommended mode of transport to reach the Marble Palace would be by metro. The nearest metro station to reach Marble Palace is Girish Park Metro Station. The mansion is about 5-minute walk from the station. Another alternative way to reach Marble Palace is renting a cab or hire yellow taxis or one can book a private cab from top car rental companies in Kolkata during their entire stay in Kolkata.
Places to visit near Marble Palace
Nakhoda Mosque: The construction was started by Abdar Rahim Osman of Kachh in 1926 and was completed in 1942. The Indo-Saracenic structure was built as a replica to Sikandra of Agra (the tomb of Emperor Akbar). There are two minarets with a height of 46 metres. The mosque is situated at the crossing of Jackeria Street and Chitpur Road.
Adi Brahmo Samaj Prayer Hall: The Brahmo Samaj was started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1828. This building was built around 1875. It is of great historical significance to Bengalis and Bengals history and it is a wonderful Victorian piece of architecture.
Armenian Church: Armenians are still a small community living in Calcutta and this Church is located in a crowded street, Armenian Street. The church marks the history and the lives lost in the wars. It is probably the only Armenian Church in the country.
Best time to visit Marble Palace
Best time to visit Marble Palace Kolkata is during winters from November to October. During the summer months, April to September, outdoor locations the weather gets too hot and humid.
Marble Palace Entry Fee:
Though the entry to the Marble palace is free one has to collect a permit from the office of West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau at BBD Bag – one day in advance. You have to hire ‘tour-guides’ to take you around the building. Tourist entry is not allowed through the grand portico but a small entrance beside.
Marble Palace Kolkata timings: 10 A.M to 4 P.M except for Monday and Thursday.
Note: Photography is strictly not allowed here.