Victoria Memorial is one of the most popular historical places in Kolkata. It is also known for its large marble building. It also portrays most of the British era between 1757 to 1947. Whether you are from Kolkata or planning to visit Kolkata, definitely visit Victoria Memorial once after reading this article. Today we will share some facts about this memorial, hardly a few of you may know. Do comment if you had this information already and do not forget to mention your experience there.
Many of us had a piece of incorrect information that Queen Victoria used to live here.
Let us sneak peek in history, Alexandrina Victoria was the queen of the British empire from 1837 till her death in 1901, almost 63 years. In 1906 H.R.H George (Prince) came to India and planned to build a museum in memory of his late grandmother. Alexandrina Victoria. According to the plan a hand made wooden model was built and the foundation stone was established on 4th January 1906. But the construction work started in 1911 (got delayed because of riots during Bengal Partition) and finally completed in 1921, the main architect was William Emerson (President of the British Institute of Architects). Since then this museum is open for all.
Different Areas of the Victoria Memorial Museum
There are four main halls inside the memorial namely Entrance Hall, Queen’s Hall or Victoria Hall, Prince Hall, and Darbar Hall.
Good to know stuff, Makrana marble (imported from Makrana, Rajasthan) was used throughout the memorial. The Taj Mahal has similar marble with better quality.
Once you cross the baggage scanning area, you will enter this hall. Currently, many exhibitions take place in this hall throughout the year. On top, you will find a dome of European design and above the entrance gate Islamic (Mughal) design Jafri.
This hall has a Piano; presented by King Edward VII (Queen Victoria used to play during her childhood), wooden model of Victoria Memorial, Sword, and other weapons from that era, a replica ship that resembles Alumgeer (first merchant ship of East India Company to dock in India), the dress of Tantia Tope and a model of Queen Victoria.
There are 12 pictures hanging in the upper wall of the hall which describes the entire lifespan of Queen Victoria. Step up through the staircase, enjoy a few statues, and mainly a top view of the entire hall.
This hall mostly displays the weaponry and technical equipment used in the British era. The original sword of Mirjafar & Aurangzeb and dummy of his lithography (in stone) contract with the British company (just before “Palashi war” in 1757), is on display.
Good to know stuff, Mirjafar betrayed Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah and joined British company with more than 35000 soldiers. This is one of the cause, Nawab was defeated.
Weaponry used & captured in World war 1 (where Indians participated against Germany & Turkey from British army side), one brass ornamental cannon, and two original cannons used during the “Palashi war”, are showcased. You can also see the equipment used for navigation and measuring altitude. The past and present form of Kolkata is also on display at a corner and finally a statue of Robert Clive (First-Major general of British ruled India).
Once you step inside, there are a lot of pictures hanging from famous artists in the wall which describes the old era. All the paintings are colored with vegetable and fruit secretions except one which is painted on skin. Old days pictures of Lucknow, Tajmahal, Jama Masjid, beauties of Madurai, Rameswaram, etc are in the wall. Even the world’s largest “The Great Banyan tree” (Botanical Garden) is on display. One of these paintings is made in such a way (anamorphic) that it feels moving when you move. The same kind of art is also available in Lucknow Picture Gallery.
There is one more picture gallery available on the right side of Prince Hall, which also portrays the history of British ruled India. A well-maintained garden and beautiful water bodies surrounded Victoria Memorial. Altogether a proper beauty spot of Kolkata.
Victoria Memorial Entry Fee & Timings
There is a nominal entry fee of Rs. 30 includes Garden and Gallery for Indian nationalities, for SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Maldives, a passport is mandatory) Rs. 100 and for other nationalities Rs. 500. Army personnel and his/her family based on an ID card and school student in uniform with prior approval from the authority, children below 3 years, and the differently-abled person with a valid ID card will get free entry.
05:30 AM to 06:00 PM (every day) and counter close around 05:30 PM.
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM (Tuesday to Friday) & 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM (Saturday and Sunday after 05:30 PM only north gate counter will be functional). The memorial remains closed on Monday due to maintenance work and all National Holidays).
A free washroom is available near the Administration office for general use and it is very clean. There are many drinking water machines available throughout the premises, few of them have a refrigerator facility.
Free Wi-Fi service is also available from Airtel, anyone can opt, by entering mobile no and OTP. Each session for a number will be 30 mins and a specific mobile number can have two sessions a day maximum.
Parking Near Memorial
This is one of the most problematic issues in this place. Being in a restricted area, parking for visitors is not allowed here. Nearest parking point is in Gokhale road, opposite of Rabindra Sadan, location.
How to Reach Victoria Memorial
You can take Metro or Bus to reach Maidan approximately a kilometer before the memorial, then walk. Otherwise, you can directly reach by cab.
Best time to visit Victoria Museum
The best time is winter due to mild sun heat and pleasant weather. But you can visit any time throughout the year as per your feasibility.
Places to Visit Nearby
You can enjoy a horse cart ride for a few hundred rupees. Also, a light and sound show takes place every evening from 06:00 PM, in the opposite ground of Victoria Memorial. There are few more interesting places nearby like M P Birla Planetarium, Nehru Children Museum, Rabindra Sadan, Aurobindo Ashram, Princep Ghat, Smaranika Tram Museum, etc.
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