white marble building at the Southern end of Calcutta's
maidan continues to be the city's pride and joy. The
Victoria Memorial, with its formal gardens and water
courses was conceived by Lord Curzon to commemorate
the British Empire at its peak. Other colonial monuments
within the city have either been obliterated with time
or have been renamed or demolished. But the popularity
of the "Victoria Memorial" seems to endure for ever.
The Victoria Memorial consists of numerous hybrid features: it
has Italian-style statues over its entrances, Mughal
domes in its corners and tall elegant open colonnades
along its sides. The building was designed by Sir William
Emerson and its construction was completed in 1921.
The main attraction at the memorial is the huge sombre
statue of the Queen, which is flanked by two ornamental
tanks. Made of Makrana marble from Jodhpur, the Memorial
is capped by a dome bearing a revolving bronze figurine
There are 25 galleries in a chamber beneath the dome.
These house several mementos of British Imperialism
- statues and busts of Queen Mary, George V and Queen
Victoria; paintings of Robert Clive and the Queen, French
Guns captured at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and a
black marble throne of a nawab defeated by Clive.