Dedicated to Queen Victoria, the Victoria Memorial was constructed in Central Kolkata and took over a decade to complete. The monument stands in all its glory, showcasing magnificent Anglo-Indian architecture.
Once upon a time, in the heart of Bengal, Lord Curzon conceived the idea of paying tribute to the late Empress of India, Queen Victoria. The British Parliament bestowed upon her the title of 'Empress of India' in 1876, a title she assumed in 1877. Her reign continued until she died in 1901. Despite her desire to visit India, the long sea journey prevented her from doing so, yet the title remained with her.
As a tribute to the British Queen, the monument features classic Anglo-Indian architectural elements that reflect the prominence of India's colonial history. The building measures 338 by 228 feet, with a height of 184 feet. It combines British and Mughal designs, featuring a dome and lush greenery surrounding it. Construction faced delays due to Lord Curzon's departure from India in 1905. Subsequently, the Prince of Wales initiated the project and laid the foundation in 1906, but the actual construction commenced in 1910. The memorial was inaugurated and opened to the public in 1921. Crafted from Makrana marble, this beautiful memorial is adorned with several figurines that represent the country's rich art and cultural history.
Initially conceived as a dedication, the Victoria Memorial evolved into more of a museum over the years. It houses several galleries featuring portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The museum boasts a collection of artifacts and manuscripts, including the Gita Govinda and the Wajid Ali Shah Calendar. Additionally, it showcases paintings by renowned artists such as Gaganendranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, and Emily Eden, along with rare photographs and much more.
The garden exudes a distinct aesthetic charm, enhancing the overall appeal of the place. Spanning 64 acres, it was designed by Lord Redesdale and David Prain. Within the garden, a statue of the late Empress is prominently displayed, seated on the royal throne adorned in the robes of the Star of India. Additionally, there are statues honoring eminent figures such as Lord Bentinck, Lord Ripon, and Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee.
After gaining independence, numerous changes were implemented to adapt the museum to the new political and cultural landscape. The Victoria Memorial, located in Kolkata, is more than just a tourist attraction; it stands as evidence of India's rich cultural background. This monument is a timeless example of art transcending borders, and at night, the sight is illuminated in all its grandeur, creating a truly spectacular view.