Around the corner from the museum, the Asiatic Society, established in 1784 by Orientalists including Sir William Jones, houses a huge collection of around 150,000 books and 60,000 manuscripts, some dating back to the seventh century. The society has a reading room open to the public as well as a gallery of art and antiquities that holds paintings by Rubens and Reynolds, a large coin collection and one of Ashoka’s stone edicts. Around 2km east along Park Street from the Maidan, the disused Park Street Cemeteryis one of the city’s most haunting memorials to its imperial past. Inaugurated in 1767, it is the oldest in Kolkata, holding a wonderful concentration of pyramids, obelisks, pavilions, urns and headstones, under which many well-known figures from the Raj lie buried. The epitaphs make fascinating reading.

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