History of Victoria Memorial: In 1901, when Queen Victoria had breathed her last, the Viceroy of India – Lord Curzon had suggested a befitting Memorial for the Queen which in turn resulted in this Majestic Stately Building. This building was also meant to showcase statutes, paintings and pictures of prominent stalwarts of Calcutta’s History.
Indian Princes and Zamindars (landlords) had generously contributed towards this venture and this monument was constructed completely from these funds. The Memorial cost of construction was one crore and five lakhs rupees and was built by Messrs. Martin & Co. of Calcutta with Vincent J. Esch as the superintending architect.
The Marble for the Victoria Memorial was sourced from Makrana in Rajasthan – the same place from where the marble for the Taj Mahal was sourced. It took five huge cranes to build the Victoria Memorial.
The Victoria Memorial Hall sprawls over 64 acres of plum property of Kolkata that encompasses the building, garden area, pathways, green lawns, pathways, trees, visitors’ benches, tanks and nurseries. It takes about 21 gardeners to maintain the garden on a daily basis.
The initiative of the then Governor of West Bengal, Prof. S. Nurul Hassan, Mr. Russi Mody, and Hiren Chakraborty, the then Secretary and Curator of the Victoria memorial cased the Victoria Memorial to be illuminated in 1988.