10 am: Victoria Memorial On the first day, I decided to explore the heritage belt in South Kolkata. The first pit stop in my sojourn in the city was one of its most iconic structures, the pristine white Victoria Memorial. Built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1901, it was completed only two decades later. Constructed in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style by Sir William Emerson, the monument makes perfect use of white marble.Being the crazy history buff, I was impressed with the extraordinary collection of manuscripts, colonial-era paintings and other remarkable memorabilia. The memorial hall boasts of the largest collection of Indian landscapes in oils and aquatints by Thomas and William Daniell as well as a library with some rare titles of the 19th century. For that perfect selfie, you can then head to the photogenic view of the manicured gardens across reflecting ponds. In case you are in a super holiday mood, don’t forget to take the horse-drawn carriages in front of the Victoria Memorial entrance.11 am: Going vintage
The touch of olden Kolkata is yet again revamped in a full-fledged AC horse carriage. It was the brainchild of Sudip Sil who transformed the horse carriage ride into a hotel ride on wheels. The carriage interior is decorated with thick transparent curtains giving an aristocratic touch to it.Where: A round of Victoria Memorial through the Race Course South gate, moving on to Fort William and then back to the stand. On requests, the round can be extended to Princep Ghat. So depending on your budget one might spend the rest of the hours in Victoria Memorial or Prinsep Ghat.Round near Fort William: Rs 500Round near Princep Ghat: Rs 1,5001 round with A.C- Rs.12001 round without A.C - Rs.5001hr ride with A.C- Rs.6000Full night - Rs.10000-15000Booking: Once you reach Victoria Memorial you could talk it out with the horse carriage owners try out these places for sure.
The only real relic of the Queen's Raj on the country, the Victoria Memorial built, upon the death of the ruling monarch. With a statue of the Curzon on the rear end (the Viceroy who commissioned the Memorial) and a Marble statue of the queen on the front. The white marble structure is one of the grandest in the city. But it also houses the rich history of Bengal through the freedom movement up until the colonial capital was shifted to New Delhi. Thanks to popular movies like The King's Speech and Victoria and Abdul, the names are much more familiar now than they would have been from history books. The 12 paintings depicting the Queen's life are absolutely breathtaking. Finished with HUGE grounds, this would be an ideal outing place in winter, carrying an umbrella in summer is strongly recommended.
Just that on the way, we debated if we want to do a laid back leisurely walk in and around Victoria Memorial or behave like first bench school kids undergoing an education tour under the supervision of Geography teacher. Our forty plus self could not quiet identify with that role. Leisurely walk won.We literally had no plan, except wander.
3. Because history here, is charming.Everything about this city is historic. Once a capital of India, this city has so many stories to tell. Each building has its own charisma and each structure has its own magnificence. Whether it be the world famous Victoria Memorial, the engineering marvel Howrah Bridge, everything is scenic and picturesque. Every street you go into or every turn you take holds something new for you.