It was close to 7 o’clock in the morning, as the first rays of the sun came streaming into our hotel room, in the historic and holy city of Kolkata. Having done a little research beforehand, we set out as tourists to visit the landmark of this city, known to everyone as the Victoria Memorial. A short ride in the typical yellow ambassador taxi, also a patent of Kolkata, brought us at the entrance of this old structure. Sprawled across a thousand acres of land, this monument spoke volumes of an era long gone ie. the British Raj in India.
The Victoria Memorial I noticed, was fenced all along by tall iron bars and a small, yet aristocratic gate. The sculpture of two lions on each side sat there as if guarding the serenity of the place, or as if welcoming its visitors. A huge well-maintained garden separated the entrance from the main structure. A row of tall palm tress gave shade to the long pathway. It was only on coming closer, that I realised how much the Victoria Memorial resembled the Taj Mahal. A sneak peek, into the history of this palace explained that it was indeed modeled in white marble on the Taj Mahal, in memory of Queen Victoria.
We reached the porch of the palace after a short walk from the main entrance. The coolness of the black and white marble under my feet felt absolutely blissful. I was left feeling refreshed and ready to explore the palace from within. The Victoria Memorial, being a palace in itself, was also a museum or a gallery preserving the art and culture of yester-years. It was an assortment of some of the most unique and historic paintings, portraits, arms, books and some textile’s collection, each divided and segregated into different sections of the palace. Being an art lover myself, I basked in the beauty of all that this place had to offer. Unimaginable sizes of painting’s and portrait’s, their colour combinations and merely the small detail’s of each of these left me speechless. The calm and quiet of the place was another thing that striked me most. Inspite of being crammed with visitor’s, this place was more peaceful than any other we had seen. People were lost and engrossed in whatever appealed to them. We explored the interior’s of the palace thoroughly and then headed towards the open area around the palace. A small pond in front lent some more beauty to the surroundings. Statue’s of some of the British and Indian dignitaries adorned the outskirts of the palace. As evening set in, I saw the sun set in the horizon in the distance. The Victoria Memorial now illuminated in bright hue’s looked breathtakingly beautiful, as did its reflection in the pond outside. Our visit seemed complete with a horse-carriage ride outside, also known as the Victoria Ride, after this place.