Exploring the Historic Beauty of the Victoria Memorial at Kolkata
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- December 22, 2022
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The Rich History and Beauty of the Victoria Memorial at Kolkata
Kolkata is known for its cultural heritage, and one of the most iconic landmarks in the city is the Victoria Memorial. Built in the early 20th century, this magnificent structure is a reminder of the imperial presence of the British Raj in India.
The Victoria Memorial is situated in the city’s heart and is surrounded by lush greenery. It is a majestic building of white marble, and its architectural style combines Italian Renaissance and Mughal influences. The building is adorned with several sculptures, memorials and ornamental gates, making it an awe-inspiring sight.
Visitors can explore several galleries inside the memorial, which contain artefacts and paintings related to the colonial era. There is also a library, which has a collection of rare books and manuscripts. The memorial also houses a museum dedicated to the life and works of Queen Victoria.
|Who built it:||Conceptualised by George Curzon, Viceroy of India|
|Where is it located:||Kolkata, West Bengal, India|
|Why was it built:||To commemorate Queen Victoria|
|Architectural Style:||Indo-Saracenic revivalist style|
|When victoria memorial was built:||Between 1906 and 1921|
|Victoria Memorial visiting hours / Victoria Memorial timings:||10 am-5 pm (Monday-Sunday)|
|Where is victoria memorial located:||Howrah to Victoria Memorial Distance|
|Victoria Memorial ticket price:||₹30–500|
The Victoria Memorial is a colossal structure constructed of white marble that stands in the centre of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in West Bengal, India. It is one of the most well-known landmarks in the state and has been turned into a museum and tourist attraction.
This stunning memorial to Queen Victoria was the vision of George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India (1819–1901). This magnificent monument is a reminder of the time when India was ruled by the British and is a stunning example of the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. Those looking to taste the Victorian period in the heart of Kolkata’s modern metropolis should not miss this landmark.
The History of Victoria Memorial
On January 22, 1901, Queen Victoria, who had reigned as monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland since June 20, 1837, and as Empress of India since May 1, 1876, died away. She had been ill for a long time before her death. After her passing, Lord Curzon erected a massive and stately tower with a museum and gardens where people of all ages and backgrounds may visit to get a taste of the prosperous past.
On January 4, 1906, the foundation stone of the monument was placed by Prince of Wales George V, who would go on to become King George V on May 6, 1910. This event took place in the United Kingdom.
The monument was opened to the public in 1921; however, it was included in a provincial city rather than the capital city since, by the time its construction was finished, the capital of India had been moved from Calcutta to New Delhi on the direction of King George V. Curzon’s call for donations to help pay for the building of the monument prompted many people, including members of the royal family, members of the public, and the government of the United Kingdom headquartered in London, to step forward and offer their support. The entire amount spent on the monument’s construction was Rs. 105,000.
The Splendor of Victoria Memorial’s Monumental Architecture and Craftsmanship
The monument was constructed in an Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. The project’s principal architect was William Emerson, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The style was characterised by incorporating elements from various Islamic architectural traditions, including Mughal, Deccani, Egyptian, Venetian, and other Islamic forms.
It was constructed out of Makrana marble that was transported from Jodhpur in the state of Rajasthan, and it has dimensions of 103 metres on a side and 69 metres in height. It was entrusted to Scottish physician and botanist Sir David Prain and Lord Redesdale to create the expansive garden areas encompassing 64 acres.
On the other hand, the garden gates and the bridge of the north face were designed by Vincent J. Esch. Messrs. The garden is being looked after by a crew of twenty-one gardeners. Martin & Co., based in Calcutta, was the company that was responsible for the memorial’s construction. Following India’s attainment of its independence, the monument was enhanced by the installation of certain features.
The Attractions of Victoria Memorial
The monument has 25 galleries, some of which are named after prominent individuals or cities: the royal gallery, the sculpture gallery, and the Calcutta gallery. In the royal gallery, visitors may see several portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, as well as oil paintings depicting various events from their life.
The Calcutta gallery is a more recent addition; it was championed by Saiyid Nurul Hasan, minister of education in the 1970s. In 1986, he was appointed Governor of Bengal and Odisha, and in 1992, the Calcutta gallery was inaugurated under his leadership as Chairman of the Memorial’s Board of Trustees. From Job Charnock’s time in the city in the 17th century until 1911, when New Delhi supplanted Calcutta as India’s capital, the gallery’s visual exhibits provide a glimpse into the past of Calcutta and its progressive evolution. Also, the National Leader’s exhibit has artefacts and photos of notable Indian freedom fighters.
The palace preserves the Queen’s writing desk, chair, and scrapbooks in addition to her extensive collection of artwork, artefacts, weaponry, fabrics, coins, and stamps. Volumes like Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat and William Shakespeare’s canonical works are among the rare books kept here.
Queen Victoria is shown in bronze, sitting on a throne while draped in Star of India robes, and is displayed on the marble staircase that leads up to the memorial’s main entrance. Edward VII, Curzon, Dalhousie, and Hastings’s sculptures may also be seen outside the structure. The memorial’s Angel of Victory, cast in black bronze, stands atop its dome as another point of interest. The ball-bearing-mounted Angel of Victory spins on her pedestal when the wind picks up speed. Several sculptures in and around the dome depict British virtues such as Justice, Motherhood, Architecture, Learning, and Prudence.
Visiting the Memorial:
The monument has become one of Kolkata’s most popular tourist attractions, and it is also a popular gathering place for friends and family, as well as a romantic destination for many. The Victoria Memorial is even more breathtaking when lit up at night.
The museum at Victoria Memorial Hall is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day save Monday. This establishment is closed in observance of Republic Day, Holi, Independence Day, Id-ul-Fitr, Gandhi Jayanti, Dusserah, and Christmas. The museum charges visitors Rs. 10/- (one Indian rupee) and Rs. Uniformed school pupils (up to the age of 12) and military personnel are admitted free of charge.
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The Victoria Memorial and its surrounding areas may have changed since the time this article was written. Please exercise caution and follow all safety guidelines while visiting the Victoria Memorial or any other public place. The authors and publishers of this article do not accept any liability for any injury or loss that may result from the use of the information contained in this article.
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