The Marble Palace, one of Kolkata’s (Calcutta) odder landmarks, was constructed in 1835 by a wealthy merchant and art enthusiast by the name of Raja Rajendra Mullick. Made from more than 90 varieties of marble, the palatial mansion draws inspiration from nearly every cultural influence imaginable.
The Romanesque structure houses a collection of Buddhist, Catholic and Hindu religious relics as well as Ming Dynasty vases, Egyptian statues and works of art from more than 90 different countries, all lit by Venetian chandeliers. Authentic Rubens and Renoir pieces are said to adorn the walls. The neighboring Marble Palace Zoo is more of an aviary with several varieties of impressively feathered species with a few monkeys and deer as well.
The Marble Palace remains privately owned by Mullick’s relatives, and while admission is free, you’ll need to secure a permit at least 24 hours in advance. Be prepared to pay what you saved in admission on tips for everyone from the staff tour guides to the bathroom attendants.