Every year over 2 million tourists visit the poem in marble in Kolkata to know its Victorian secrets. Built on the spot which was once the Presidency Jail, Victoria Memorial - fashioned after the Taj Mahal in Agra, is the ultimate tourist spot when visiting India. The Prince of Wales formally opened this Indo-Saracenic revivalist-style architecture marvel dedicated to Queen Victoria in 1921. The Victoria Memorial took nearly 15 years to complete and is made from white marble. Synonymous with Kolkata, it epitomizes beauty and elegance with the Angel of Victory figure atop its central dome. Her hands rotating with the wind bears testimony to the engineering excellence of its pedestal, as it is mounted on large ball bearings. Here’s a guide to Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.
Things to do
The Victoria Memorial is a popular tourist spot in the city of joy and one of the most-photographed spots in Kolkata. This stunning memorial dedicated to Queen Victoria also houses some amazing sculptures, paintings, and statues inside. Here’s a look at some things to do in Victoria Memorial.
Check out the art galleries
Boasting 25 galleries with nearly 3900 paintings, you can explore these little treasures as you marvel at the artistry. A perfect way to spend the day and get lost in the centuries-old art!
Go back to the golden times of Queen Victoria
Built to commemorate Queen Victoria, visitors can time travel to the past as they absorb her life story. There are several portraits that depict varied moments from Queen Victoria’s life. Also, there are many of her priceless possessions, including 28,394 artifacts, coins, stamps, textiles, weapons, desk, chair, scrapbooks, and even rare collection of books such as those written by Shakespeare.
Get acquainted with the struggle of Indian Independence
The national leaders’ gallery displays many portraits about the struggle of Indian independence and it is a great way to learn about the country’s history.
Explore the Calcutta Gallery
The Calcutta Gallery was added in the 1970s, much before the city’s name changed to Kolkata. The pictures show remnants of its rich colonial past. The black and white photographs are reminiscent of an era gone by and make one nostalgic as they get acquainted with Kolkata’s British Raj connect.
Marvel at the statues and sculptures
If the Angel of Victory statue is an example of engineering excellence, there are many statues that mesmerize with their intricacy and craftsmanship. The bronze statue of Queen Victoria, seated on a bronze throne wearing the robes of the star of India is a treat. You will also spot statues of Edward VII, Dalhousie, Hastings, and Lord Curzon, the British Viceroy instrumental in envisaging the Victoria Memorial. As for sculpture lovers, there are enough allegorical sculptures of Motherhood, Love, Justice, Architecture, and Prudence around the dome.
Find out the Victorian secrets
This mesmerizing memorial built on the place formed by demolishing the Presidency jail has other Victorian secrets like the engraving of VRI near the gate. Many believe it to be Victoria Regina Imperatrix, which translates to Queen Victoria Empress.
Take a walk around the garden
The Victoria Memorial is surrounded by lush greenery and there are plenty of paths for joggers. It also has ponds, adding to the beauty of the landscape. Make sure you walk around the garden area to absorb the beauty.
Best time to visit
You can visit the Victoria Memorial throughout the year, but November to January are the best months if you want to walk around in the garden as the weather is pleasant.
Light and Sound show
The spectacular Son-et-Lumiere or Light and Sound events regularly held will enthrall any visitor. The hour-long show can be caught at 6:30 pm in Bengali and 7:45 pm in English. The fee for foreign nationals from non-SAARC countries is 6.92 USD (500 INR). Those from SAARC nations pay 1.38 USD (100 INR).
Check the timings
If you want to visit the Victoria Memorial’s museum then it remains open from 10 am to 6 pm on all days except Monday. The access to the gardens is from 5.30 am to 6.30 pm from March to August. September to February the gardens remain open from 5.30 am to 6 pm.
If you are carrying a digital camera you need to take a special permit at the entrance for photography and videography and need to shell out additional money for the same. However, no flash photography is permitted.
Yes, it has ramps for wheelchairs and offers easy access for those with disabilities or special needs.
Food and drinks
You are not allowed to carry food and drinks, but if you get hungry you can grab refreshments at the café in the premises.
You can take the audio guide to learn about the history of the place.
The memorial management provides free guided tours that start every hour from 10 am. These guide you through the British Rule of India for more than two centuries for approximately 45 minutes.
How to get there
Take a bus
Several buses ply to Victoria Memorial, but you might have to walk for a few minutes from the bus stop.
Take an uber
You can take an uber or taxi to Victoria Memorial easily from wherever you are in Kolkata.
You can drive to the Victoria Memorial in your rented vehicle or car. However, parking can be an issue if you do not go early in the morning.
You can purchase tickets for Victoria Memorial tours online. You can also purchase tickets at the entrance.
Skip the Line: Victoria Memorial Admission Ticket with Optional Guided Trip
Duration: 4 to 8 hours
Victoria Memorial information
Address:Victoria Memorial Hall, 1, Queens Way, Maidan, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)(closed on Mon)
Entry fee: 6.92 USD (500 INR)
Official website: Victoria Memorial
Department of tourism: Visit West Bengal
Kolkata Tour: St. Paul’s Cathedral and Victoria Memorial
Duration: 4 hours
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