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Monday, June 21, 2010

Victoria Memorial - Kolkatta

Victoria memorial is one of the most beautiful monuments of India’s Built entirely of white marble. On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, Lord Curzon, who was then Viceroy of India, placed before the public the question of setting up a fitting memorial to the Queen. He suggested that the most suitable memorial would be a ‘stately’, spacious, monumental and grand building surrounded by an exquisite garden. This was to be a historical museum where people could see before them pictures and statues of men who played a prominent part in the history of this country, so could develop a pride in their past.

Cost of Construction
The Prices and people of India responded generously to his appeal for funds and the total cost of construction of this monument amounting to One Crore, Five Lakhs Rupees, was entirely derived from their voluntary subscriptions. Sir Willian Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects, designed and drew up the plan of this building, while the work of construction was entrusted to Messrs Martin and Co. of Calcutta. Vincent J. Esch was the superintending architect. King George V. then the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone on January 4, 1906. It was formally opened to the public in 1921.

The Building represents a unique combination of classical European architecture and Mughal motifs. The domed and white marble museum sprawls over 64 acres and is set in a landscaped garden at the southern side of the Kolkata’s maidan (ground) near Jawaharlal Nehru Road. The building is 184 ft high up to the base of the figure of Victory which is another 16 ft high. The groups of figures above the north porch represent motherhood, Prudence and Learning. Surrounding the main dome are figures of Art, Architecture, Justice, Charity etc. The Memorial is situated on 64 acres of land with the building covering 338 ft by 228 ft.

Megnificent Collections
In the Royal Gallery there are oil paintings depicting scenes of Queen Victoria receiving the sacrament at her coronation in the Westminster Abbey in June 1838, her marriage with price Albert (1840) in the Chaper Royal at St. James Palace. The christening of the Prince of Wales in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (1842), Marriage of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII ) with princess Alexandra (1863) Queen Victoria at the first Jubilee service in Westminster Abbey in 1887, and the second Jubilee service of Queen Victoria at St. Paul’s Cathedral, June 1897. These are copies of paintings by well-known artists in the collection of the British royalty. The pianoforte on which Queen Victoria received tuition in her childhood and the writing desk and chair constantly used by her for her daily correspondence at the Windsor Castle occupy the centre of the room. King Edward VII presented these to the Victoria Memorial. On the south wall hangs the Russian artist Verestchagins masterpiece depicting in oils the state entry of King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, into Jaipur in 1876. Portraits of Edward VII, as Prince of Wales, Painted in 1863 by Jansen and those of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are place in the hall. Renowned painter of the period, Winter-halter painted these when both of them were young.

Illuminating the Memorial Hall

The Victoria Memorial Hall was illuminated in January 1988 by an extraordinary initiative of the then Governor of West Bengal, Prof. S. Nurul Hassan, Mr. Russi Mody, and Hiren Chakraborty, the then Secretary and Curator, of the Victoria memorial. A large number of valuable manuscripts are in the collection of this memorial, some of which are on display at the Portrait Gallery. Among these are the manuscripts of Ain-e-Akbari by abdul Fazal, the court historian of the Emperor of Akbar, a manuscript of Diwan Hafiz, or the Gazals of Hafiz. The note book of Tipu Sultan in his own hand writing, a volume of copies of Tipu Sultan’s letters. Akbar Namah is in two volumes. A manuscripts of Shah Namah, the famous epic containing the history of the ancient kings of Persia written by Firdausi (999 AD ), the Persian translation of Nala Damayanti by Abdul Fazal. Beside these, there are many manuscripts stored in the High Court room.

The Victoria Memorial has a large number of statues and sculptures in its collection. Many of these are in the garden. Though initially, personalities from the British period were housed inside the memorial and garden, later many statues of Indian personalities were also put on display. The memorial is the largest repository in India for a Visual history of Calcutta. It also has a major collection of paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from the British period. The Victoria memorial has a vast collection of Indian Paintings, which were painted using purely old Indian techniques or using western style.

A Repository of History
The Victoria memorial has large collection of paintings, in oil, watercolours, and aquatints by the Eropean painters like Charles D’oyly, Johann Zoffany, William Hadges, William Simpson, Tilly Kettle, Thomas Hickey, Emily Eden and others, besides the largest collection in the world of the paintings by the Daniells. The Victoria memorial has a good number of Mughal miniatures in its collection. There are some rare books in the library, which dates back to the 1870s.

Some of the books worth mentioning are the collection of plays by William Shakespeare, the Arabian Nights, Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, etc. All these books are exotically illustrated. Costume designers consult and refer these books while designing for Shakespearian plays in Calcutta. The Victoria memorial has a large number of postage stamps in its collection. Only a few are on display at the Calcutta gallery. There are hundreds of original important documents of historical importance in the archive of the memorial. Historians and research scholars often refer to these documents.

Photo Gallery
Victoria Memorial, Kolkatta, India

Victoria Memorial wallpaper

Victoria Memorial Pictures

Victoria Memorial Photo

Victoria Memorial Palace

Victoria Memorial Images

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata

Night View of Victoria Memorial, Colkatta

Queen Victoria's statue inside the memorial


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Julia said...
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Jack Wilson said...

This is the noblest monument constructed as memorial to the great “Queen Victoria”, Empress of India and Queen of Great British. King George V, then Prince of Wales, placed the establishment stone on 4th January 1906 A.D. and released to the public on 28th December 1921 A.D. Book Flights to Kolkata to get more information on this amazing monument.

India's history and civilization is ancient and vibrant, back to the foundation of human development. India starts on with the birth of the “Indus Valley Civilization” in such sites. India has various monuments like - Khajuraho Temples, Taj Mahal, Buland Darwaza etc. Get best flight deals with Flights to India and find your destiny of featured Indian monuments.

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Anonymous said...

Nice blog maiataining, wonderful information.. Thanks

Hai Baji said...
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