Victoria Memorial, Kolkata- History And Attractions.
The Victoria Memorial is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria, then Empress of India, and is now a museum. The memorial lies on the Maidan, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road (also known as Chowringhee Road). In January 1901, on the death of Queen Victoria Lord Curzon the then Viceroy of India, suggested the creation of a fitting memorial. Lord Curzon proposed the construction of a grand building with a museum and gardens. The Prince of Wales, later King George V, laid the foundation stone on 4 January 1906, and it was formally opened to the public in 1921. In 1912, before the construction of the Victoria Memorial was finished, King George V announced the transfer of the capital of India from Calcutta to New Delhi. Thus, the Victoria Memorial was built in what would be a provincial city rather than a capital. The Victoria Memorial was funded by Indian states, individuals of the British Raj and the British government in London. The princes and people of India responded generously to Lord Curzon's appeal for funds, and the total cost of construction of the monument, amounting to one crore, five lakhs of rupees, was entirely derived from their voluntary subscriptions.
The design is in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style which uses a mixture of British and Mughal elements with Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences. The building is 338 by 228 feet (103 by 69 m) and rises to a height of 184 feet (56 m). It is constructed of white Makrana marble.
Atop the central dome of the Victoria Memorial is the 16 ft (4.9 m) figure of the Angel of Victory. Surrounding the dome are allegorical sculptures including Art, Architecture, Justice, and Charity and above the North Porch are Motherhood, Prudence and Learning.
The Victoria Memorial has 25 galleries. These include the royal gallery, the national leaders gallery, the portrait gallery, central hall, the sculpture gallery, the arms and armoury gallery and the newer, Calcutta gallery. It also has a collection of rare and antiquarian books such as the illustrated works of William Shakespeare, the Arabian Nights and the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam as well as books about kathak dance and thumri music by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. However, the galleries and their exhibitions, the programmatic elements of the memorial do not compete with the purely architectural spaces or voids.
The Royal Gallery displays a number of portraits of Victoria and Prince Albert, and paintings illustrating their lives, by Jansen and Winterhalter. The oil paintings are copies of those in London. They include: Victoria receiving the sacrament at her coronation in Westminster Abbey (June 1838); Victoria's marriage to Albert in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace (1840); the christening of the Prince of Wales in Windsor Castle (1842); the marriage of Edward VII to Princess Alexandra (1863); Victoria at the First Jubilee service at Westminster Abbey (1887) and the Second Jubilee service at St. Paul's Cathedral (June 1897). Victoria's childhood rosewood pianoforte and her correspondence desk from Windsor Castle stand in the centre of the room. Edward VII presented these items to the Victoria Memorial. On the south wall hangs the Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin's oil painting of the state entry of Edward VII in Jaipur in 1876.
In the mid-1970s, the matter of a new gallery devoted to the visual history of Calcutta was promoted by Saiyid Nurul Hasan, the minister for education. In 1986, Hasan became the governor of West Bengal and chairman of the board of trustees of the Victoria Memorial. In November 1988, Hasan hosted an international seminar on the Historical perspectives for the Calcutta tercentenary. The Calcutta gallery concept was agreed and a design was developed leading to the opening of the gallery in 1992. The Calcutta gallery houses a visual display of the history and development of Calcutta from Job Charnock (1630–1692) of the English East India Company to 1911, when the capital of India was transferred to New Delhi. The gallery also has a life-size diorama of Chitpur road in the late 1800s.
Gardens in the Victoria Memorial
The gardens at the Victoria memorial cover 64 acres (260,000 m2) and are maintained by a team of 21 gardeners. They were designed by Redesdale and David Prain. On Esch's bridge, between narrative panels by Goscombe John, there is a bronze statue of Victoria, by George Frampton. Victoria is seated on her throne, wearing the robes of the Star of India. In the paved quadrangles and elsewhere around the building, other statues commemorate Hastings, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis, Robert Clive, Arthur Wellesley, and James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie. To the south of the Victoria Memorial building is the Edward VII memorial arch. The arch has a bronze equestrian statue of Edward VII by Bertram Mackennal and a marble statue of Curzon by F. W. Pomeroy. The garden also contains statues of Lord William Bentinck, governor-general of India (1833–1835), George Robinson, 1st Marquess of Ripon, governor-general of India (1880–84), and Rajendra Nath Mookerjee, a pioneer industrialist of Bengal. Following an order of the Calcutta High Court in 2004, an entry fee was imposed for the gardens, a decision welcomed by the general public except for few voices of dissent.
Victoria Memorial Gallery
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday:
10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
10.00 AM - 8.00 PM
GALLERY REMAINS CLOSED
Monday and designated National Holidays:
Indians - The entry fee to the museum is Rs. 30/- (per head)
Foreigners (For Nationals of SAARC Countries):
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (on production of Passport) - The entry fee to the museum is Rs. 100/-(per head).
Nationals of all other countries: - The entry fee to the museum is
Rs. 500/-(per head).
Free admission to school students up to Class XII in uniform and with School ID; differently-abled visitors with U.D.I.D Card; and army personnel and their accompanying spouses and children on production of ID Cards for each
Please Note : Ticket counter closes half an hour before the closure of galleries
Victoria Memorial Kolkata The Best Popular Attraction