Victoria Memorial – a memorable experience

by Jan 21, 2016Heritage & Architecture, India Heritage, Kolkata, West Bengal

Victoria Memorial is one of the most elegant and grand monuments in the heart of Kolkata. A vast white structure made of marble is a cynosure of all eyes and a respite for the tired feet. Once you are in Kolkata it is a sin not to visit the Victoria Memorial.

Victoria Memorial

The magnificent structure dotting the Kolkata skyline

Victoria Memorial, which is located near the luscious green Maidan, is a testimony of the peak of the British Empire in India. The memorial was built between 1906 and 1921 in the memory of Queen Victoria’s 25 years reign in India.  Lord Curzon, who was then the Viceroy of India suggested setting up a stately memorial in the honour of the late Queen. He appealed to the people of India and the royalties to donate fund generously. The British government surprisingly did not spend a penny on this memorial. A whooping One crore Five Lacs rupees which was the cost to built the monument was donated by the people of India and the royalties!

Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial

Sir William Emerson, the President of British Institute of Architects, designed the building. The construction of the building was done by Martin & Co. of Kolkata. The foundation stone of this building was laid on January 4, 1906 and it took almost 15 years to complete it. The doors were opened for the public in 1921.

The Victoria Memorial is perhaps the most opulent structure if the British Raj in India. The huge white memorial is made from Makrana marble brought in from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It is the same type of marble from which the Taj Mahal was built. Perhaps the British built the Memorial keeping the Taj in mind! The elegant memorial has hybrid features with Italian style statues near the entrance, Mughal domes and other European styles of architecture. The Victoria Memorial also contains a museum which houses the art and artifacts of Victorian era. It also has a collection of oil paintings and water colour paintings of various European artists. After the Indian independence, portraits and relics relating to Indian independence found place in the museum.

Victoria Memorial

The bronze figures are scattered

There are many magnificent bronze statues throughout the sprawling structure. The most famous is the bronze fairy atop the dome.  The fairy is 13 tonne in weight and 16 foot in height and was said to move with the wind! But there are none except a few old timers who have seen the fairy move! But nonetheless, the fairy has become regalia of the Victoria Memorial and the Kolkatans are always optimistic that they will finally see the fairy move!

Victoria Memorial

Fairy tale…

Another beauty of the Victoria Memorial is its sprawling gardens and lush green lawns. Spread across a total area of 64 acres, it has one of the best maintained gardens of Kolkata. Colourful flowers blooming are pleasant sight to the eyes.

Victoria Memorial

Victoria memorial in all its splendor

The gardens provide a relaxing place for the families and a playground for children.

The Victoria looks even more beautiful by the night. A grandiose structure, it is truly the pride of Kolkata.

Victoria Memorial Timings:

  • The garden remains open from 5:30 AM to 6.15 PM everyday.
  • The Victoria Memorial Gallery remains open from 10 AM to 5 PM
  • The Victoria Memorial Hall (museum) remains open on all working days except Monday. It also remains closed on public holidays. The timings are from 10 AM to 5 PM
  • A special sound and light show is held every evening at the gardens of the Memorial. The show depicts the erstwhile Calcutta to the modern Kolkata with all its pride and glory.
Victoria Memorial

The beautiful surroundings | Photo courtesy: Mainak Debnath

Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

You May also like…

Kakanmath Temple, Hidden Gem of Morena – Ruins that Defy Gravity

Kakanmath Temple, Hidden Gem of Morena – Ruins that Defy Gravity

I was looking at the yellow mustard fields as we drove on the almost deserted roads through the fields. My eyes had been searching for another temple after our visit to Mitawali. And then I chanced upon it from a distance standing amidst yellow mustard field. From the...

Bateshwar Temple Complex, Morena – Symphony on Stones

Bateshwar Temple Complex, Morena – Symphony on Stones

There is a typical charm about ruins, old stones and buildings. The stones and ruins all seem to narrate a story – the stories of the past, their heydays and so much more. We have a special attachment to these old and ancient structures. We love to visit ancient...

Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jayanti – A trip to Wilderness in Dooars

Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jayanti – A trip to Wilderness in Dooars

Buxa, Jayanti and Lepchakha hold a very special place in our hearts. This trip to Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jayanti was our first trip to Dooars as well as North Bengal. We had visited these places even before we had explored Darjeeling. The Buxa Fort Trek was also our...

Interesting and Famous Temples in North India & Others

Interesting and Famous Temples in North India & Others

In continuation of our series on Temples of India, this article is dedicated to some of the famous temples of North India. In terms of structure and design, these temples differ than the South Indian temples. The architectural style of the temples mainly classifies...

3 Comments

  1. Brilliant ! Just finished your article. Every picture you have posted in your blog that Tells a story. I stay in Kolkata from my childhood.
    Thanks
    Ruma Dey Baidya

    Reply
  2. Beautiful structure… haven’t been there yet ..

    Reply
  3. Wow, great captures guys. This building is like the icon of Kolkatta and we must say after reading these facts it deserves to be one 🙂

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Meet 2 Backpackers

Indian Travel Blogger  

We are Agni and Amrita, the husband-and-wife storytelling team behind the blog Tale of 2 Backpackers. Find more About Us.

Start A travel Blog

Weekend Getaways

Weekend Getaways from Kolkata

Follow us on Pinterest

Archives

Tale of 2 Backpackers 2020

Subscribe!

Fresh, free and honest thoughts about travel & life delivered to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest