The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is much more than an iconic landmark or a historical building in the city. This magnificent monument cum museum stands as a reminder of the city’s colonial and architectural heritage. Nestled against lush green lawns, this opulent memorial made of marble is also one of the top tourist attractions in Kolkata. Whether you are planning to book your hotels in Kolkata for a family holiday or a solo trip, do take out some time to explore this spellbinding legacy of the British Raj in the City of Joy.
Looking for more details about this prime heritage monument in Kolkata? Here’s everything you need to know about the Victoria Memorial Museum in Kolkata, including timings, entry fee, history, architecture, and other interesting facts.
Victoria Memorial Quick Info
|Museum Timings||10:00 am to 5:00 pm; closed on Mondays and National Holidays|
|Garden Timings||5:30 am to 6:15 pm; every day|
|Museum Entry Fee||₹ 30 for Indians; ₹ 100 for foreigners of SAARC countries; ₹ 500 for foreigners of other countries|
|Gardens Entry Fee||₹ 20 per head|
|Annual Fee for Morning Walkers||₹ 2000 per person; ₹ 1000 for senior citizens|
|Nearest Metro Station||Maidan|
Victoria Memorial: History
The Victoria Memorial, one of the top historical places in Kolkata, is the brainchild of Lord Curzon, a Viceroy of India. When Queen Victoria, who was the Empress of British India, died in January 1901, Curzon suggested building a grand memorial to honor her. He proposed the memorial to be a stately edifice with a museum where visitors get a glimpse of the marvels of the past. The foundation for the memorial was laid on 4 January 1906 by the Prince of Wales, who later became King George V. The building was formally inaugurated and opened for public visits in 1921. Later, additions were made to the memorial after India gained independence.
Victoria Memorial Architecture
The Victoria Memorial features Indo-Saracenic revivalist architectural style which displays a blend of Mughal and British elements along with Egyptian, Islamic, Venetian, and Deccani elements. Made of white Markana marble, the edifice has dimensions of 103 meters by 69 meters and reaches up to a height of 56 meters.
In terms of design, Victoria Memorial draws inspiration from the Taj Mahal. It has a main central dome, four smaller domes, high portals, domed chaatris of octagonal shape, domed towers at the corners, and terrace. The Angel of Victory, a 16-feet tall figure, stands on top of the central dome. You can find several allegorical sculptures surrounding the central dome, including Charity, Justice, Art, and Architecture. The North Porch has allegorical sculptures of Prudence, Motherhood, and Learning.
Victoria Memorial: Today
Today, this historical building is one of the top museums in Kolkata. There are 25 galleries inside the memorial, including the Calcutta Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Royal Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, and the National Leaders Gallery, to mention a few. The Victoria Memorial Museum is home to over 28,000 artifacts, including arms and armor, sculptures, and antiquarian books, paintings, etc.
Apart from the magnificent edifice, the sprawling green lawns surrounding the memorial are an ideal place to hang out and go for morning walks in Kolkata. The gardens cover an area of about 57 acres and feature statues of Queen Victoria, Charles Cornwallis, Arthur Wellesley, and Rajendra Nath Mookherjee, among others. The property is now under the control of the Ministry of Culture.
Major Exhibits: Indian landscape paintings by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell, rare books like Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam and illustrated works of William Shakespeare, the hand-written Quran of Emperor Aurangzeb, Kalighat paintings, the personal war diary of Tipu Sultan, etc.
Victoria Memorial Light and Sound Show
In the evenings, the memorial becomes the site of one of the most captivating light and sound shows in India. The Victoria Memorial light and sound takes viewers on a fascinating journey through Kolkata’s heritage and history. Aptly titled Pride and Glory- the Story of Calcutta, it brings alive the innumerable erstwhile glories of the city on the screen.
- Duration: 45 mins
- Bengali Show – 6.15 pm to 7.00 pm (October to February); 6.45 pm to 7.30 pm (March to June)
- English Show – 7.15 pm to 8.00 pm (October to February); 7.45 pm to 8.30 pm (March to June)
Note: No shows on Mondays, National Holidays and between July and September.
- Entry Fees:
Bengali Show – ₹ 10 per person
English Show – ₹ 20 per person
Lesser Known Facts
- Before the construction of the memorial, the location housed the Presidency Jail. The jail was shifted to Alipore and the structure was demolished to make way for the memorial.
- The grand memorial was constructed using funds provided by the Indians. Lord Curzon made an appeal to the public and donations were collected from all over the country. Only a part of the construction cost was shouldered by the British government.
- The Victoria Memorial was painted black in 1943 during World War II. This was done to camouflage the building and prevent it from being a target of Japanese air raid bombings.
Attractions near Victoria Memorial
- Maidan (550 m)
- P. Birla Planetarium (650 m)
- Paul’s Cathedral (700 m)
- Elliot Park (750 m)
- Netaji Bhawan (2.4 km)
- Indian Museum (2.5 km)
- Shaheed Minar (2.8 km)
- Raj Bhawan (3 km)
- Calcutta Town Hall (3 km)
- Tipu Sultan Shahi Mosque (3.1 km)
- Fort William (3.3 km)
- Prinsep Ghat (3.4 km)
- South Park Street Cemetery (3.5 km)
- Writers Building (3.7 km)
- Kalighat Temple (3.8 km)
- Metcalfe Hall (3.8 km)
- Magen David Synagogue (4.4 km)
- Howrah Bridge (5 km)
It goes without saying that exploring the Victoria Memorial Museum is one of the top things to do in Kolkata. So, go ahead and spend a day at this evergreen monument in the City of Joy.