If we are talking about the best places that you can visit in Kolkata then we must mention the name of Victoria Memorial. Victoria Memorial is located in Kolkata, West Bengal and it is one of the places that serve as a holiday spot for picnickers. Not only that, the white architecture of the palace and a museum hall inside makes the spot even more exciting. The extended green lawn looks splendid around the white marbled palace. If you are here to gather all the information about this place in Kolkata, then keep on reading this article.
Victoria Memorial Kolkata Address:
Maidan, Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Kolkata, West Bengal
Victoria Memorial Kolkata Timings:
The garden is open from 5:30 am to 6:15 pm on all days. The Victoria Memorial Hall Museum or Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday. On Mondays the Gallery is closed.
Victoria Memorial Kolkata Light and Sound Show Timings:
From October to February the timings for light and sound show in Bengali version is 6.15 pm to 7pm and the English version is from 7:15 pm to 8 pm. From March to June the Bengali version is from 6:45 pm to 7:30 pm and the English version is from 7:45 pm to 8:30pm.
The Light and Sound Show does not take place during the months of July to September.
Victoria Memorial Kolkata ticket price:
The entry fee for the Victoria Memorial Gallery is Rs.20 per person for Indians and Rs. 200 for foreigners. School children up to class 12 in uniform are free along with Army personnel in uniform.
The entry fee for the garden is Rs. 10. There are monthly as well as yearly tickets available as well. The fee is Rs. 100 for a month, Rs. 1000 for senior citizen morning walkers and Rs.2000 for regular morning walkers.
Ticket price for the Light and Sound Show is Rs. 10 for kids and Rs. 20 for adults. The ticket is sold from the ticket counter from 12:30 pm.
How to reach Victoria Memorial Kolkata:
The closest airport to reach here is the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. From there you can take buses or cabs to reach here.
If you are travelling from nearby cities, then Howrah Junction and Sealdah Station are the nearest railway stations. However, you will have to take buses or cabs from the station to reach here.
Buses are available in abundance. The area is well connected by buses so that would not be a problem at all.
The nearest Metro Station is Maidan Metro station and Victoria Memorial is walking distance from there.
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About Victoria Memorial Kolkata:
The Victoria Memorial palace will make you feel the colonial touch in its grand architecture. The white marbled palace is magnificent and stands out amongst the monuments that will leave you in awe. However the monument was conceptualized by Lord George Curzon who was the Viceroy of India. The palace was constructed as a memorial for the first Empress of British India, the deceased Queen Victoria.
Although built as a memorial palace, right now Victoria Memorial is serving as a museum that displays the artefacts that once were used by the Queen. Along with that, the museum is also filled with valuable paintings, memorabilia of the then Governor Generals and Viceroys and some of the important administrators of the British period and some original manuscripts. The museum gallery is huge and spreads across an area of 64 acres.
History of Victoria Memorial Kolkata:
After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 January, the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon proposed the idea to build a state memorial to honour the reign of the Empress of India at that time. King George V, the king of Wales laid the foundation stone in January 1906. Lord Curzon wanted to make this palace into a national memorial gallery where some of the personal belongings of the Queen would be displayed.
The location where the palace is built was previously the location of Presidency Jail. The Jail was demolished to build the memorial in the same place and the inmates of the jail were later shifted to Alipore.
The cost of the construction of this marble palace was 1,05,00,000 Indian rupees. The amount was funded by the Indian princes as a way to pay tribute to the Queen. Alongside, the British Government from London also contributed a small portion. Construction of the palace started in 1906. It took 15 years for the whole construction and the monument was opened to the public in 1921. The inauguration of the memorial was done by Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor.
Architecture of Victoria Memorial Kolkata:
While walking through the palace, and the big corridors leading to chambers, you will feel the distinct colonial touch and feel. The chief architect of this palace was the then President of British Architects, William Emerson. Vincent Esch was the assisting architect for the construction of this palace who supervised everything. The palace is built with white Makrana marbles which are sourced from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The structure is built following the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. A mix of Venetian, Deccan, Egyptian and Islamic touch is very prominent.
The palace stands on a height of 200 feet including the ‘Angel of Victory’. On top of it the “Angel of Victory” is placed on the central dome which is 16 feet high. The Angel is placed on top of a ball bearing that rotates along with the wind. Not only that, there are 4 more sculptures namely, Architecture, Art, Justice and Charity and they surround the main dome at the centre. There are 3 more structures namely, Motherhood, Prudence and Learning on the front of the northern porsh. All these structures are allegorical in nature which means they represent some morals or hidden meaning as mentioned above.
Additionally, one of the most prominent statues here are the two marble lion statues at the entrance of the ground. These 2 lions represent power. A few metres away from there you will find a bronze statue of Queen Empress. This statue was sculpted by Sir George Frampton in England and then it was shipped from there to India.
Talking about the Garden of the Victoria Memorial, it was designed by Lord Redesdale and David Prain. The lush green lawns encircle the place. Along with it, another important section of the palace is the Bridge of north aspect and the gates of the garden which were designed by the supervising and assistant architect Vincent Esch. You will also find two beautiful pools within the premises.
Victoria Memorial Inside:
The Victoria Memorial Gallery is a huge museum with 25 galleries. The galleries include the National Leader’s Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Queen’s Hall Gallery, Calcutta Gallery, Arms and Armoury Gallery, Sculpture Gallery and many more. You can find more than 30,000 valuable artefacts, photographs, portraits, paintings made by both Indian and Western artists. The museum also has a huge collection of books ranging from books of William Shakespeare, The Arabian Nights, books of dance forms like Kathak, books on Thumri music by Wajid Ali Shah to name a few. Along with all these, the museum also has some illustrated and rare manuscripts like a copy of Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari, who was a famous Persian writer and court historian of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Major attractions inside Victoria Memorial Kolkata:
National Leader’s Gallery
This gallery was added after the Independence of India. The National Leader’s Gallery displays scenes, portraits and pictures from the lives and works of the great Indian Freedom Fighters. Austrian Artist, Walter Langhammer along with Indian Artist Mukul Raj Anand are the chief contributors for this gallery. The gallery is filled with their arts.
The Royal Gallery is undoubtedly the most important and interesting gallery inside the Memorial. As the name suggests, this gallery is all about the royal belongings and royalty. Starting from the Queen’s personal belongings to oil paintings that depict scenes from the life of the Queen, you will get to see a lot here. There are paintings depicting her marriage with Prince Albert, the Queen’s Coronation Ceremony, celebration of her Jubilee Services and more.
One of the most interesting artistic displays is the entry of the Prince of Wales in Jaipur in 1876. The art has been made by Russian artist Vassilli Verestchagin. This painting is one of the masterpieces because this is one of the largest paintings in the world that measures 7 x 5m.
Along with these, cannons used in the Battle of Plassey are also exhibited here along with Tipu Sultans’ Dagger and his artillery notebook. The artillery notebook was donated to the trustees of Victoria Memorial by one of the descendants of Tipu Sultan. Another major attraction in the Queen’s Hall Gallery are the personal belongings of the Queen. You will see her chair, her writing desk along with her piano as well.
The Portrait Gallery has a collection of paintings of the important and influential people from the British times. You can see masterpieces from 18th century painters like Thomas Daniell and William Daniell. Most paintings that you will see in the Memorial are by the Daniell duo.
Besides the paintings of the significant people in the Portrait Gallery, the Durbar Hall Gallery exhibits a collection of heritage paintings that depict the life and culture of both India and Britain. One of the interesting things to notice here is the pictures of various stages of Victoria Memorial during the construction period of 1906 and 1921 at the Entrance Hall Gallery.
The Calcutta Gallery is the newest gallery that has been added to the museum on the occasion of the 300 Years Anniversary of Kolkata. The gallery exhibits the development of the city from the time of Job Charnok, when he bought three villages till the time of Indian Independence. Every important event during these years are depicted really well through different paintings, photographs, maps, sketches and historical documents. The gallery also has a life size diorama that depicts the Chitpur Road during 19th century. The Calcutta Gallery was conceptualized by Saiyid Nurul Hassan, the Governor of West Bengal who is also the chairman of the trustee board of Victoria Memorial.
Victoria Memorial Kolkata Garden
The garden in Victoria Memorial is a beautiful green lawn sprawling across 64 acres. The lawn has beautiful plants and trees with colourful flowers, along with pools and fountains. It is maintained really well by 21 gardeners. The bronze statue of the Queen sitting on her throne stands in the middle and is one of the major attractions for clicking photographs. You will see various statues of important dignitaries of British India like, Robert Clive, Charles Cornwallis, Arthur Wellesley, Lord William Bentinck, George Robinson, Rajendra Nath Mookherjee and more. Outside the south entrance of the hall there is a statue of Lord Curzon as well.
The garden is an ideal spot for the picnickers. You can just visit here with your group of friends and enjoy a good time. For families also this is a good place because the children can play around the park and the elders can visit the museum and enjoy the royal feel.
Light and Sound Show
One of the major points of interest for the tourists visiting Victoria Memorial is the Light and Sound Show in the evening. The show is titled as “Pride and Glory- The Story of Calcutta’. The show depicts the glorious journey of Calcutta. The colourful lights of the show reflect on the white marble making it look splendid. It will be a different experience for everyone to enjoy the show. It is entertaining as well as very well executed along with being informative. So definitely do try to attend this show.
This monument is one of the places in Kolkata that still bask in the glory of age old colonial feel. If you want to experience a dive into the colonial era then you can surely visit the Victoria Memorial. This is one of the gems in Kolkata that is perfect for a day out with your own gang of friends or family. You can gather a greater insight and knowledge about the Pre Independence era as well as the evolution of the city through the different exhibits here.
If you are a history lover who is inclined towards knowing about historical events, then you are going to enjoy this museum a lot. The museum is very well maintained and the garden along with the main structure would be a good option to explore in the city. So if you haven’t visited Victoria Memorial Hall yet, then you must plan a visit soon.