This marvel in white marble is considered to be the Kolkata’s most distinguished landmark. In 1905, Lord Curzon conceived the idea of its construction as a tribute to Queen Victoria, who was the first British monarch to be awarded the title of Queen Empress of India in 1877. The foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales (later King George V) on 4th Jan, 1906. The gigantic monument was built in white marble from Makrana in Rajasthan and a sum of Rs. 7.5 million was spent, which was collected through ‘voluntary’ contributions from the princes and people of India. The memorial was inaugurated by the Duke of Windsor o 21st Dec, 1921 and has now become the most prolific reminder of the British rule in India. The majestic 61 meters high white edifice with its formal gardens and water courses sqrawls across an area of 26 hectares, at the southern end of ‘The Maidan’. The stately building is often compared with the aesthetic beauty of the world renowned Taj. It was designed by Sir William Emerson, president of the British Institute of Architects in the Italian Renaissance style. Emerson incorporated Mughal elements as he was against the exclusive use of European Styles. Vincent Esch was the Superintending architect, Lord Redesdale and Sir David Prain designed the gardens. The work of construction was entrusted to Messrs Martin & Co. of Calcutta (kolkata).
Ornate bronze gateways flanked by Italianate statues lead to the lush grounds with water ponds, trees and flowering plants. An imposing statue of Queen Victoria seated on a bronze throne wearing the regal Order of the star of India fronts the memorial. Above her at the central dome is a revolving 4.9 meters (16ft.) high black bronze figure of winged the Angel of Victory, holding a bugle in her hand. It is fixed to its pedestal wit ball bearings and rotates when the wind is strong enough. The memorial houses rare memorabilia from the colonial days and over3, 500 exhibits are displayed in its galleries. The evening Sound and Light show is worth seeing.