The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, West Bengal is reminiscent of the British era and it was the royal heritage of the British era. The Victoria Memorial Hall Kolkata is considered to be the best tourist destination and is being thrived by the tourists throughout the year.
This beautiful edifice made of white marble and was built in the memory of Queen Victoria. It was built to commemorate her 25 years of rule over India. This monument not only bears artefacts of the British era in India but stands out as an example of sophisticated and exquisite architecture in the Indo-Saracenic Revivalist style. The Victoria Memorial hall Kolkata houses various galleries, with the Royal Gallery featuring masterpieces by Janssen and Winter Halter, which skilfully depict the life of Prince Albert while the Calcutta Gallery is revered to be the first City Gallery in the country. The lush and well-maintained garden, spread over 64 acres, has many sculptures. This monument looks very beautiful amidst shimmering lights at night.
The Victoria Memorial Hall was built in memory of Queen Victoria by Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India. The memorial commemorated the 25-year reign of the queen over India. The Victoria Memorial is one of the famous and beautiful monuments of Kolkata. It was constructed between 1906 and 1921.
Architecture of Victoria Memorial Hall
The chief architect of the Victoria Memorial is William Emerson, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He presented the monument in Indo-Saracenic style, drawing inspiration from the Venetian, Mughal and other Islamic styles of Egypt at the same time. The 184 feet tall building is built with white coloured Makrana marble which was brought from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The huge gardens are spread over 64 acres, designed by David Penn and Lord Reddell.
The gardens surrounding the monument, spread over an area of 64 acres, are designed by David Penn and Reddell. The garden is maintained by a 21-member team of gardeners. On the north side of the gate is a statue of Queen Victoria in bronze. A product of Sir George Frampton depicts the queen seated on his throne.
There is an Edward lawn where tourists can see a bronze statue of King Edward 7 under the memorial arch in the southern part of the complex. It was designed by Sir Bertram McNeil. Another lawn Curzon Lawn has a Curzon statue designed by Frederick William Pomeroy. Cornwallis, Hastings, Clive, Dalhousie, Bentinck, Wellesley, Ripon, Andrew H.L. There are many other statues including Fraser and Rajendranath Mukherjee.
Galleries of Victoria Memorial Hall
With more than 25 galleries including the Royal Gallery, National Leaders Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Central Hall and Calcutta Gallery, the Victoria Memorial has a commendable and worthy collection of rare and ancient books. These include Shakespeare's illustrated compositions, Arabian Nights and other books written on music and dance. The monument is truly a treasure house of exquisite and remarkable collections of paintings, weapons, textiles, artefacts, stamps, etc. Apart from this, one can also visit The National Leaders Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Central Hall, Sculpture Gallery, Arms and Armoury Gallery.
The Calcutta Gallery at Victoria Memorial is India's first city gallery. Initiative to set up the gallery, the then Education Minister of India, Prof. S.S. Nurul Hasan aimed to attract intellectuals from all over the world to the memorial. The gallery features pontoon bridges (popular as Howrah Bridge) between Bipin Bihari Dutta, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Ram Mohan Roy, Calcutta and Howrah by R. B. Dutta, Devendranath Tagore by card player Bhabani Charan Laha, Pykar or Paddlers by Mrs Belnos, Famous paintings of Goddess Kali by Beni Madhab Bhattacharjee can be seen here.
Here is a piano that was gifted to Victoria in 1829 when she was 10 years old. The piano has recently been moved to the Central Gallery of Victoria Memorial hall Kolkata. A writing desk is also a centre of attraction among tourists which was used by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.
Light and Sound Show in Victoria Memorial Hall
A light and sound show holds from October to June at the Victoria Memorial hall Kolkata called Son-et-Lumiere. This interesting show does not take place on Mondays, Holi festivals, national holidays and is closed from July to September. There is another show called Pride and Glory - Calcutta story. The show was designed as an enterprise with the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, the show is currently held in both Bengali and English languages. The timing of the show is as follows:
October to February
- Bengali: 6:15 pm to 7:00 pm
- English: 7:15 pm to 8:00 pm
March to June
- Bengali: 6:45 pm to 7:30 pm
- English: 7:45 pm to 8:30 pm
How to reach Victoria Memorial in Kolkata?
The Victoria Memorial hall Kolkata is easily accessible by all modes of transport. You can travel to this place by taxi, bus or auto-rickshaw. If you are going by flight then you will get many flights to Kolkata. The Victoria Memorial is 22 km from Netaji Subhash Chand Bose International Airport. If you are availing a car or taxi then it will take 1 hour 2 minutes to reach Victoria Memorial. While trains to Kolkata are available from all major cities. If you go by train, you will have to reach Maidan Metro and Rabindra Sadan Metro Station from Kolkata station. Both these metro stations are close to Victoria Memorial.
Best time to visit Victoria Memorial.
The Victoria Memorial hall Kolkata is ideal for travelling in the winter months. The crowd starts coming from November to the end of February. There is also a sound and light show in winter. It is an open-air show that gives you a quick glimpse of the history of Kolkata. There is usually no show from July to September (monsoon makes it impossible to conduct outdoor shows). If you are not a big fan of history, the colourful fountain show is also popular here.
Victoria Memorial Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Monday closed)
Victoria Memorial Entry Fees: INR 20 for Indians, INR 200 for foreigners, School Children upto 12th class do not have to pay entry fees.