Victoria Memorial Hall

Amitava Ray

Kolkata, India

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The Victoria Memorial, officially the Victoria Memorial Hall, is a memorial building dedicated to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India, which is located in Kolkata, India – the capital of West Bengal state and a former capital of British India. It currently serves as a museum and a tourist attraction. It is an autonomous organization within the Government of India’s Ministry of Culture.

The memorial was designed by Sir William Emerson using Indo-Saracenic style, incorporating Mughal elements in the structure. Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain designed the gardens. The foundation stone of the memorial was laid down in the year 1906. The monument was intended to serve as a tribute to the success of the British Empire in India.

Architect Sir William Emerson, laid down the actual plan of the memorial. The design of the structure represents a fusion of British and Mughal architecture. White Makrana marbles were used in the construction of Victoria Memorial Hall and the building was inaugurated in the year 1921. The massive hall is 338 feet (103 m) by 228 feet (69 m) and rises to a height of 184 feet (56 m). British government money was not used in its construction at all. Rather, the British Indian states, along with the individuals who wanted some favors from the British government, were the main contributors towards the cost of building the Victoria Memorial Hall.

The Victoria Memorial is massive in its size and stands enclosed within blooming gardens that spread over to an area of 64 acres (260,000 m2). It houses a museum containing a large collection of memorabilia relating to Victoria and the British presence in India as well as other exhibits. . The Memorial also contains a Royal Gallery housing a number of portraits of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and paintings illustrating their life…

After India gained independence in the year 1947, certain additions were made to the Victoria Memorial. These additions formed National Leader’s Gallery, containing the portraits and relics relating to Indian independence.

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