Kolkata or the City of Joy is one place that I always remember fondly. There is a certain charm in the city that only those who have lived here and felt the warmth of the people and the place can understand. My first tram and metro rides were here; visit to the vintage car rally, New Market and Park Street during Christmas time evokes a floodgate of fond memories.
I couldn’t get enough of Victoria Memorial when I first visited the majestic white edifice. So, when I moved to the city, every week on my off days with my roommate in tow, we would be there unfailingly for two months; sit under one of the huge trees in the garden and just watch the monument in awe. The façade of the 93-year-old structure, which was built in honour of Queen Victoria after her death in 1901, always fascinated me. Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India, wanted a magnificent monument in her name and requested the people of the country to donate generously for the memorial. Built of white Makrana marbles, it is a fusion of Mughal and British architecture. The 184-feet high building, designed by William Emerson, was finally open for public in 1921.
With an entry ticket of just Rs 10, you can spend as much time as you want between 10 am and 5 pm in the museum, either visiting the Royal Gallery or the museum. The Royal Gallery exhibits portraits and paintings of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, chronicling their lives and the lives of the Royal British family. The museum has a good collection of stamps, maps, weapons, artefacts and coins from the Queen’s era when she ruled as the empress of India to the British rule of the country. I love the hallway of the museum, but unfortunately photography is prohibited.
There is nothing like lazing around in the afternoon at the lush green gardens spread across a sprawling 64-acres of land. There are families that come here just for picnics, but there are couples too, who love this idyllic spot.
As the sun went down and the monument was illuminated, we sat and enjoyed the light and sound show. And as the gates were being closed for the day, we would make our exit, to be back again the next week.
When to visit
Victoria Memorial garden is open throughout the year on all days (5.30 am to 7 pm). However, if you want to visit the museum, do not go on a Monday. It is also a haven for morning walkers.
The Citizen’s Park, next to Victoria Memorial, was another place, where we would just sit and enjoy the sound and light show. St Paul’s Cathedral is also a must-visit nearby. For the movie buffs, Nandan is just a stone’s throw away.