Kolkata is a wonderful city to live in. Bustling with life, the entire city buzzes with an unmatched energy which is best experienced roaming throughout the city. In the hustle-bustle of the daily life in this city, moments of grandeur make Kolkata an amazing travel destination.
Kolkata has a rich cultural, scientific and architectural history which is portrayed in the well maintained colonial buildings of the city, the various museums showcasing its heritage and the manifestations of the appreciation for creative arts stemming from the state of West Bengal. Among the colonial buildings is the grandiose Victoria Memorial. One of the most beautiful reminders of the British Raj in India, this marvellous marble structure is one of kind architectural marvel.
Blending the styles of Victorian and Mughal architecture, it is made from Makrana marbles of Rajasthan. The commemorator of Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, the Memorial was built from 1906 to 1921. The idea, according to the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, was to create a stately, spacious and monumental structure.
Well, the British Raj is dead, but this beautiful structure is surely a fitting memorial to the Queen. On my visit to the place, getting there was fairly easy. Calcutta is well-connected by a network of cabs, city buses, auto rickshaws, the metro train and even trams. Yes, the only city in India to actually have an efficient operating system of trams, the traffic on the busy streets makes way whenever any of these ancient but reliable contraption appears.
The ticket counter dispenses tickets for the garden for INR 4 and the museum for INR 10. For foreigners, the amount is INR 4 and INR 150 respectively (less than 3 USD). The gate has two lion statues on either side. Once you enter, you pass through a beautiful garden filled with rows of marigold, daisies and other flowers. Walking towards the memorial, either side of the pathway has picturesque gardens and water bodies. Sitting in these gardens for an hour and reading a book while sitting there, I felt absolutely refreshed, both physically and mentally. Finally just before the gate of the now museum is statue on a pedestal surrounded by embedded bronze sculptures in the pedestal. Finally entering the museum makes you feel like you have stepped into a holy place.
Housing important pieces of history and important articles like the Dagger of Tipu Sultan and a large collection of oil paintings of immeasurable value, this place’s sanctity is further enhanced by the notable collection of artefacts in it.
Leaving the memorial, I decided to sit once again for an hour in the gardens. As I processed all that I had seen in the last half an hour, I was filled with a sense of fulfilment. This place was such an amazing collection and chronicler of the British Raj in India which is perhaps, unmatched by any other place in India. This makes it not only a place of historical importance, but the marble structure is also famous among architects because of its unique blend between Mughal and British Colonial architecture. This makes it an integral part of Kolkata’s history.
Kolkata is a bustling city with people completely set on their fast paced lives. The Victoria Memorial is the radical opposite of everything in Kolkata, and it is difficult to believe that such a peaceful place exists in the busy city. However, the British have left, but the grand Victoria Memorial Hall still stands as a symbol of beauty, grandiose and the Raj, making it a must visit for travellers.
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