Victoria Memorial, Kolkata - Timings, History, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Kolkata Railway Station): 11 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2 Hours

Place Location: At Maidan

Transportation Options: Bus / Cab / Auto

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 11 km from Kolkata Railway Station, the Victoria Memorial is a historical building and museum located in the heart of Kolkata, West Bengal. It is considered one of the most iconic structures in Kolkata and among the best places to visit as part of Kolkata Tour Packages.

Spread over 57 acres of land, Victoria Memorial was built by Lord Curzon in the memory of Queen Victoria to celebrate her 25 years of rule over India. The Queen had become the figurehead of India after the Revolt of 1857 and successfully ruled over the country until her death in 1901. King George V and the Prince of Whales laid down the foundation stone for the memorial in 1906, and the memorial was finally opened to the general public in 1921. It is interesting to note that the Victoria Memorial was built with the funds collected from the people of India.

This white marbled opulent structure was built on the lines of the Victoria Memorial in London. The chief architect of the memorial is William Emerson, the then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design of Victoria Memorial is based on the Indo-Saracenic style that uses a blend of architecture styles lent from Egyptian, Mughal, British, Deccani, Islamic and even Venetian elements. A sixteen-foot tall bronze statue of Angel of Victory, mounted atop the central dome of the memorial, serves to heighten the overall appeal and grandeur of the entire complex. The entire building is constructed with Makrana Marbles from Rajasthan.

The memorial is surrounded by lush green and well-maintained gardens and has numerous statues and sculptures in it. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria on a throne welcomes the visitor at the entrance of the memorial, while a walk around the garden reveals other statues like those of Edward VII, Lord Curzon, Hastings, and Dalhousie. Allegorical sculptures like Motherhood, Architecture, Learning, and Justice can also be found here. Spread over 64 acres, the gardens are presently maintained by 21 gardeners and are a favorite destination for morning walkers.

Today the Victoria Memorial Hall is a museum that houses with over 25 galleries, including the Royal Gallery, the National Leaders Gallery, the Sculpture Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the Central Hall, and the Calcutta Gallery. The Royal Gallery is a storehouse of oil paintings of Queen Victoria receiving the sacrament at her coronation in the Westminster Abbey on June 1838, her marriage with Prince Albert, the christening of the Prince of Wales, the marriage of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) with Princess Alexandra and others. Besides, the memorial also holds miniature paintings of the Mughal School and historical artifacts like the throne of the Nawab of Bengal, the dagger of Tipu Sultan, and a cannon used in the battle of Plassey. Also, it has a collection of works of rare and antique books that include the illustrated works of Shakespeare, the Arabian Nights and other books on music and dance.

Victoria Memorial is breathtaking and marvelous, especially at night, when it is illuminated. The Sound and Light shows that take place in the evening are an added delight and a must-watch.

Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM, Closed on Mondays & National Holidays

Light & Sound Show: 6.15 PM - 7 PM in Bengali and 7.15 PM - 8 PM in English, Closed on Monday, Holi & from July to September

Entry: Rs. 20 for Indians & Rs. 200 for Foreigners, Rs. 20 per Person for Light & Sound Show and Rs. 10 per Person for Park