Victoria Memorial, built between 1906 and 1921 and dedicated to Queen Victoria, is now a museum open to the public and a must-see for all travellers visiting Kolkata from all across the globe.
Upon the demise of Queen Victoria in January 1901, the then Viceroy of India and 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston George Curzon, proposed the plan to built a grand edifice with a museum and gardens to honor the queen. Five years later, on January 4th, 1906, The Prince of Wales, later King George V laid the foundation for the building and the memorial was finally opened to the masses in 1921.
Built and designed by Sir William Emerson, the memorial now holds not just the rare pictures and statues of the prominent personalities of Indian history but also many dresses and artillery weapons from the Battle of Plassey. Additional things to see are the Whispering Gallery in the dome and the eminent Rosewood piano.
Victoria Memorial has a total of 25 galleries which comprise the national leaders gallery, the royal gallery, the arms and armoury gallery , the portrait gallery, the sculpture gallery, central hall, and the newer, Calcutta gallery. The Memorial has the most extensive and exclusive collection of the works of Thomas Daniell and his nephew, William Daniell. It also has a compilation of exceptional and antique books such as the Arabian Nights by Omar Khayyam, the great works of William Shakespeare, as well as books on Indian folk dance forms such as Kathak and Indian classical music such as thumri by Wazid Ali Shah.
Apart from the museum and the memorial, another significant and eye-catching characteristic of the premises are its gardens which expand over an area of 64 acres and are managed by a unit of 20-25 gardeners. The gardens were designed by Redesdale and David Prain.
During your visit, don’t miss out on the Light and Sound show titled ‘Pride and Glory – the Story of Kolkata” which the memorial organized as a permanent event. There are no shows between July and September, on Mondays, on Holi, and on national holidays.
Kolkata is also known as the British Capital of India since it was the capital city of the country up until 1912, when King George V announced for the capital of India to be moved to Delhi. Nonetheless, Kolkata still remains one of the metropolitan cities in India and is highly urbanized. Finding an accommodation will never be a problem in the city and you will find all types of accommodation options from the backpacker-oriented lodges in Sudder Street Area to the more luxurious ones at Marquis Street. Prices can start from INR300 and go up to INR4000. The city also has a lot of 5-star properties such as Taj and Oberoi Grand.
For shopping, head to Chowringee Road Hawker’s Market or New Market. For nightlife and drinking, Park Street is the go-to spot.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is the main international airport in Kolkata which is well connected to all major cities in the country and abroad such as Bangkok, Doha, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and Paro.
If travelling within India, there are regular trains connecting Kolkata's Sealdah Railway Station and Howrah Railway Station to all the major parts of the country.
Getting around within the city is very easy as the city offers multiple transport options - metered taxis, shared autorickshaws, normal buses, AC buses, Metro, and Suburban Trains.