Built by a wealthy Bengali merchant with a penchant for art and luxury, the Marble Palace in Kolkata recalls a time when Calcutta was known for its opulence.
The palace was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835 on the site of a Jagannath temple which was built by his father. A lover of lavish architecture, Mullick constructed the main building in a Neoclassical style with Corinthian columns and bas reliefs, while the grounds and courtyards maintained a more traditional Bengali design. The intricate architectural details are all arrayed in over 100 different types of marble, giving the palace its colloquial name. The spacious grounds also contain everything from a lake, to a rock garden, to a zoo.
Inside the gorgeous palace walls Mullick’s art collections give the palace the rightful feeling of a hoarders museum. Containing everything from Victorian furniture to priceless sculpture to kitschy knick-knacks, the palace is decorated with an eye towards whatever Mullick happened to want in the moment.
The Marble Palace is still a rich private residence, although tours are available. No matter the cultural consideration of Calcutta as a crowded metropolis, this palace recalls the city’s more regal history.
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