Another relic of the British Raj in India, the Victoria Memorial is located in the heart of Kolkata, in West Bengal. This white marbled opulent structure was built in memory of Queen Victoria to celebrate her 25 years of rule over India and is almost a replica of the Victoria Memorial in London. Victoria Memorial is an iconic structure that is synonymous with the city of joy!
The memorial is surrounded by a lush green and well-maintained garden, which spreads over 64 acres and has numerous statues and sculptures in it. A sixteen-foot tall bronze statue of victory, mounted on ball bearings at the top of the memorial, serves to heighten the overall appeal and grandeur of the entire complex. Victoria Memorial is breathtaking and marvellous, especially at night, when it is illuminated. The Sound and Light shows that take place in the evening are an added delight, and a must watch. All in all, the place is a must visit for people to wish to relive the essence of the Victorian era in the modern day world.
History of Victoria Memorial
The reason behind the building of a monument of this grand a scale is indeed an interesting one. This stunning creation is the brainchild of Lord Curzon and was created to commemorate the twenty-fifth-year reign of the Queen over India. The Queen had become the figure head of India after the Revolt of 1857 and successfully ruled over the country until her death in 1901. Lord Curzon wanted that the monument that would be dedicated to her should be stately, spacious and large, with a beautiful garden. In fact, the funds for the construction of the Victoria memorial were raised from the people of India. A sum of 5 lakh rupees was raised, and the result is this awe-striking monument, that is a literal feast for the eyes. King George V and the Prince of Whales laid down the foundation stone for the memorial in 1906, and the memorial was finally opened to the general public in 1921.
Architecture and Design of Victoria Memorial
The chief architect of the Victoria Memorial is William Emerson, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has tastefully lent an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture to the monument, while drawing inspiration from Egyptian, Venetian, Mughal and other Islamic styles at the same time. The 184 feet high building is constructed with Makrana Marble of white colour that was brought all the way from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The vast gardens that surround the monument, and are spread over a sprawling 64 acres, were designed by botanist Sir David Prain and Lord Redesdale.
Victoria Memorial Garden
The gardens of the Victoria Memorial are home to a myriad of sculptures. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria on a bronze throne welcomes the visitor at the entrance of the memorial, while a walk around the garden reveals other statues like those of Edward VII, Curzon, Hastings and Dalhousie. Allegorical sculptures like Motherhood, Architecture, Learning and Justice can also be found here. Spread over 64 acres, the gardens are presently maintained by 21 gardeners and are a favourite destination for morning walkers.
Victoria Memorial Light & Sound Show
Victoria Memorial holds a light and sound show called as Son-et-Lumiere from October to June. This interesting show does not showcase on Monday, Holi festival, national holidays and also remains closed from July to September.
Timings and Entry Fees
Entry Fees : The entry fee tickets are Rs.30 (per person) for citizens of India, BIMSTEC and SAARC countries and it is Rs.500 (per person) for the foreigners.
Timings : 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM
How to Reach Victoria Memorial
The Victoria Memorial is easily accessible by all means of transport. You can visit the place by taxi, bus or an auto rickshaw. If going by metro, Maidan Metro and Rabindra Sadan Metro stations are the nearest ones. Ferries are a cheap and quick alternative too and regularly ply from Princep Ghat and Bindan Ghat.