The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is one of the most beautiful and grand monuments of Kolkata and is also a milestone in the history of Indian architecture. This ethereal and magnificent structure is one of the most prominent reminders of the British rule in India. The majestic marble monument was built between 1906 and 1921 as a memorial to commemorate the twenty five year reign of Queen Victoria in India.
After the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, Lord Curzon who was then the viceroy of India felt the need to build up a unique memorial for the Queen. The foundation of the building was laid on January 4th 1906 and was formally opened to the public in 1921. Built over an area of sixty four acres and a cost of One crore and five lac rupees ,the credit for designing the memorial goes to Sir William Efferson. He designed the memorial after making liberal use of Mughal elements in the architectural style. The spacious and exquisitely designed gardens of the memorial were the handiwork of Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain.
The building has been designed as a museum and houses countless artifacts from the British era in India. It also houses many paintings by prominent European artists like William Simpson, Thomas Hickey, Emily Eden and others. It is built of white Makrana marble and the central highlight of the structure is the dome on the building. The two hundred feet high monument is situated on 64 acres of land and the memorial covers an area of 338 ft by 228 ft.It is surrounded by a spacious and beautiful garden. Another important feature of the monument is a black bronze statue of an angel with a bugle in her hand situated at the top of the huge dome. In days when the wind is strong enough the angel acts as a weathercock. The figures in the monument are based on themes with the group of figures on the North porch representing learning, motherhood and prudence. The main dome is surrounded by figures of justice, charity, art and some others.
The memorial also houses important National treasures like the dagger of Tipu Sultan, rare books, the Ain –i-Akbari written by the royal courtier Abul Fazal, old and valuable stamps and also cannon that was used in the battle of Plassey.
The memorial is situated in Maidan and is centrally located in Kolkata.It lies close to the Jawaharlal Nehru road and hence is easily accessible by numerous buses, cabs and even the metro. The Memorial is situated very close to the Maidan metro station and hence using the subway can be a wonderful way to reach the Victoria memorial.
In the evening the entire monument is lit up and this gives it a complete different effect. It looks amazing bathed in lights of different colours .the monument is open on all days except Mondays between 10a.m. to 4:30 p.m.You should also take the fantastic horse carriage ride that will begin from the memorial and take you through Red road and back.
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