One of the best places to visit in Kolkata, West Bengal, the Victoria Memorial was initially made as a memorial to Queen Victoria (1819-1901), but now, it serves as a museum with a huge collection of art and workpieces. It is located on the banks of River Hooghly, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road. It is also a noted tourism spot at national level and attracts a huge number of tourists from inside and outside the country also.
Let’s have a look at it’s details-
History and Some Information of Victoria Memorial-
- The Victoria Memorial’s foundation was laid on 4 January,1906 by the Prince of Wales, later King George V, and the building was opened to public in 1921. The work of construction was given to Martin and Co. of Calcutta.
- It has a huge collection of around 30,000 workpieces of art, books, papers, paintings, and statues of various officials of the British Era.
- The total cost of construction came out to be One Crore and Five Lakh Rupees at that time and all this money was given voluntarily by the Indian States during the British Raj.
- On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, the then Viceroy of India, suggested the creation of a memorial for the queen, having huge building, museum and gardens.
Architecture of Victoria Memorial-
- The architecture of the memorial is done in the Indo Saracenic Revivalist Style, that includes a mixture of Mughal and British elements along with 4 other types, i.e. Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic influences.
- The chief architect of Victoria Memorial was William Emerson (1843-1924).
- The building is constructed of White Makrana Marble, and is in the shape of a rectangle having length as 103 metres and width as 69 metres. The building rises to a height of 56 metres.
- Museums and Galleries-The Victoria Memorial houses 25 galleries. It also has a collection of rare books such as the illustrated works of William Shakespeare, the Arabian Nights and the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam.
- The National Leader’s Gallery-The National Leader’s Gallery was added after independence of India and features portraits and scenes from the life of leaders and personalities associated with the Indian freedom struggle and their significant roles.
- Calcutta Gallery-The Calcutta Gallery is the newest addition to the museum on the occasion of the 300th Anniversary of the city.
- Victoria Memorial Gardens-The gardens surrounding the main building cover an area of 64 acres or 260,000 metre sq. These gardens were designed by Redesdale and David Prain, and now, they are maintained by a team of 21 gardeners. On Esch’s bridge, there is a bronze statue of Victoria, by George Frampton. Various other statues of British officers are present in the garden.
How to reach Victoria Memorial-
- The museum is around 25 km away from the Netaji Shubhash Chandra Bose International Airport and can be covered within an hour by taxi on a regular day with average traffic conditions.
- From Kolkata Railway Station, Victoria Memorial is about 10 km distant and can be reached through a taxi within 40 minutes on a regular day.
- The place is nearest to the Babughat Bus Stand, about 4 km away and can be reached within 10 minutes. People from nearby towns and cities travel through buses to visit the City of Joy.
- There are three metro stations that lie in the close vicinity of Victoria Memorial. These are Rabindra Sadan metro Staion, Maidan Metro Station, and Netaji Bhawan Metro Station, all three are about 1 km away from the Memorial.
Timings of Victoria Memorial-
- The timings of Victoria Memorial Gallery are from 10 am to 5 pm.
- The gallery remains closed on Mondays.
- The opening hours of Victoria Memorial Garden are 5.30 am to 6.15 pm.
- The garden is open on all days of a week.
- The light and sound show is not conducted between July to September.
Tickets and Entry Fees-
- For Indians- INR 20 per person.
- For Foreigners- INR 200 per person.
The place is a must-visit if you are in Kolkata to have a look at the fine art of the artisans. You should also visit the nearby places like Birla Planetarium. The place is best suitable for photographers and to visit with family members. It takes around 1-2 hours to visit the memorial with complete details.