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The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

The Victoria Memorial Hall was built in memory of the Queen Victoria by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. The memorial celebrated the 25 year reign of the queen over India. She became the figure head of India after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and ruled till her death in 1901. Lord Curzon wanted to demonstrate his gratitude by dedicating a monument to her and the stunning Victoria Memorial of Kolkata was constructed.

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

The history of the Victoria Memorial

Lord Curzon wanted to build an imperial memorial for the late queen and asked for funds from the people of India and mainly the Indian royalty. He managed to raise a sum of 5 lakhs rupees (equivalent to $6million in today’s rate) and selected Sir William Emerson, who happened to be the President of the British Institute of Architects for the project. The construction work was delegated to Messrs. Martin & Co. who belonged to the city itself. The Prince of Wales together with King George V laid the foundation stone on 4 January 1906. The park was finally opened to visitors in 1921 and had been a representation of the British Raj ever since then.

Details and the design of the hall

The design of Victoria Memorial is based on what is known as the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style that uses a blend of architecture styles lent from Egyptian, Mughal, British, Deccani, Islamic and even Venetian elements. This becomes apparent by its great dome, the chattris that is octagonal domed in shape, corner towers that are domed again and the terrace. It has a lush green garden designed by David Prain and Lord Redesdale that covers an area of 64 acres land which is still the main attraction of this place. The building covers 338 feet or 103 m by 228 feet or 69 m with a height of 184 feet or 56 m. Not to forget that gates and a small cozy bridge in the north were designed by Vincent J. Esch who was assistant to Sir William Emerson.

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

The parkland surrounding the Victoria Memorial Hall

What’s inside the Victoria Memorial Hall?

The museum houses a section of artifacts, paintings and memorials from the past. The Royal Gallery also has some more oil paintings mainly depict the life of Queen Victoria that starts from her coronation, marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, the christening of the Prince of Wales and his marriage. Other artistic displays include European artists such as Thomas Hickey, Johann Zoffany, Charles D'oyly William Hadges, Tilly Kettle and William Simpson. Other interesting items include the dagger of Tipu Sultan, a manuscript of Ain-i-Akbari by Abul Fazal and a cannon that was used in the Battle of Plassey.

What else can be done in the local area?

In addition to this one can also set out for a buggy ride by hiring one of the colorful buggies that are parked outside the gates. Otherwise taking a stroll along the stretch of Maiden can be a good option. Paying a visit to the nearby St. Paul's Cathedral can also be an extra addition to a trip or simply walking down to Park Street for a great lunch in one of the many multi cuisines or one can simply enjoy the roadside eateries bang opposite to memorial. All this can surely add delight to a visit to the ever glamorous Victoria Memorial.

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