Historical Places in India - Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial is a British carpet memorial located in Kolkata city in the Indian state of West Bengal. This monument, built between 1906 and 1921, is dedicated to the then Queen Victoria of England. This monument has a beautiful blend of diverse crafts. Its Mughal style domes reflect the influence of Saracenic and Renaissance styles. There is also a magnificent museum inside this building where more than 3,000 other objects including the Queen's Piano and Study Desk are displayed. It opens daily from Tuesday to Sunday from ten in the morning to four in the evening, it is closed on Mondays.

On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, Lord Curzon suggested the construction of a memorial. Lord Curzon proposed the construction of a grand building with a museum and gardens. The prince of Wales, who later ascended the throne as George V, laid the foundation stone on 4 January 1906 and formally opened it to the public in 1921. Before the completion of the construction of the Victoria Memorial in 1912, George V announced the transfer of the capital of India from Calcutta to New Delhi. The Victoria Memorial was thus built in a provincial city rather than a capital. The Victoria Memorial was funded by Indian states, individuals of the British Raj, and the British Government in London. The princes and people of India responded generously to Lord Curzon's appeal for funds and the total cost of the construction of the monument, one crore five lakh rupees, was entirely derived from his voluntary donations. Curzon's departure from India in 1905 The construction of the Victoria Memorial was later delayed. The foundation stone of the Victoria Memorial was laid in 1906 and the building opened in 1921. Construction work was entrusted to Messrs. Martin & Company, Kolkata. Work on the superstructure began in 1910.

The architect of the Katoria Memorial was William Emerson (1843–1924) who was president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design is in the Indo-Saracenic Revivalist style, using a mixture of British and Mughal elements with Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences. Buildings 338–228 ft (103 m 69 m) and 184 ft (56) Meter) are high. It is constructed from white Makrana marble. The gardens at Victoria Memorial were designed by Lord Reddale and David Penn. Emerson's assistant Vincent Jerome Ash designed the northern aspect bridge and garden gates. In 1902 Emerson teamed up with Ash to sketch his original design for the Victoria Memorial. After designing the temporary exhibition building for the 1903 Delhi Durbar, Lord Curzon found Ash to be a suitable assistant for immersion.


Above the central dome of the Victoria Memorial is a statue of the Goddess of Victory (Angel of Victory), which is 16 feet (4.9 m) in length. There are other sculptures around the dome which display a sculptural resemblance to art, architecture, justice, charity, motherhood, discretion and education. The Victoria Memorial is made of white Makrana marble. In design it echoes the design style of the Taj Mahal with its main domes, four supporting domes, octagonal domed umbrellas, tall portals, roofs and vaulted corner towers.

The Victoria Memorial has 25 picture galleries. These include the Royal Gallery, National Leaders' Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Central Hall, Sculpture Gallery, Weapons and Arsenal Gallery, and the New Calcutta Gallery. The Victoria Memorial includes Thomas Daniel (1749–1840) and his nephew William Daniel (1769–1837). The largest single collection of works. It also has a collection of rare and archaic books such as illustrated representations of the works of William Shakespeare, the Rubaiyat of Alif Laila and Omar Khayyam, as well as books about Kathak dance and Thumri music of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.

The Victoria Memorial gardens span 64 acres (260,000 m²). It is maintained by a team of 21 gardeners. The garden was designed by Redesdale and David Penn. The building is surrounded by paved posts and commemorative statues of Warren Hastings, Lord Cornwallis, Robert Clive, Arthur Wellesley and Lord Dalhousie. Along with these are statues of Lord William Bentick (1833–1835), Ripon (1880–84) and Rajendra Nath Mookerjee, Governor-General of India in the garden.


HOW TO REACH
You can visit the  Victoria Memorial by taxi, bus or an auto rickshaw. If going by metro, Maidan and Rabindra Sadan Metro stations are the nearest ones.

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