The next best architecture would be THE VICTORIA MEMORIAL of KOLKATA.Despite of their remorseless rule, I must say that the British Colonial Era also gave India some of the most amazing architectural gems. Built to highlight the glory of British Empire in India, this monument amalgamates the best of Mughal and British architectures. This imposing monument was inaugurated in 1921 paying tribute to Queen Victoria. At present, this monument has a remarkable assemblage of maps, paintings, weapons, coins, sculptures, artifacts, stamps, etc.
As we approached the memorial, a glimpse of it made it clear that its majesty was an understatement. There was a long queue at the ticket counter, but the wait was worth it. A tall white monument in the midst of a vast green landscape, conveying the grandeur of the colonial architecture, lot of which we still get to see in Kolkata. Most of the rooms in the memorial are kept for public display, with paintings and illustrations of the landmark events of the British rule in India. Having had a walk through all the rooms at the memorial, we rested for a while in the gardens outside. Feeling hungry, we went on to Park Street, famous for its lavish restaurants and cosy eateries. We had the best lunch of our trip at Mamagoto. I sincerely recommend the place for its food and service.Having visited most of the places on our itinerary, we spent the rest of the day in the local market, trying out some local sweets; and talking about how Kolkata was a city with a soul. When you explore a city so rich in its history and culture, you not only move through space but also through time. It is amazing to see a city that has protected the relics of several decades. From hand rickshaws to one of the most complex metro networks, from the poorest slums to astoundingly posh localities, this city will amaze you with its contrasts. Maybe that is the secret to its charm. The past and the present, coexisting together, the present proud of its past. As we took off on our return flight, I was sure I was taking an impression of the city of joy with me, that would last a lifetime.
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.