Thursday, June 28, 2007

Victoria Memorial : Kolkata

I have passed though the nearby roads, but never seen the inner beauty; have been to the garden once, but never felt to enter the great architectural beauty of modern Kolkata, Victoria memorial. Built in 1921(Started in 1906), by W Emerson in the Indo-Saracenic style, this landmark is considered one of the remarkable monuments of today’s World.

It was made on the honor of British Queen Victoria, who was an Empress of India and a ruler par-excellence, a person close to the hearts of Indians. Unlike other governor generals she helped the natives, understood the grievances and concerns, and taken effective measures.

It looks quite like the Taj Mahal. The white marbles it is made up were came from the same quarries in Rajasthan that supplied the Taj, to the similar main dome, octagonal domed chattris, the high portals, the terrace, the domed corner towers, and the correspondence in the function – both were conceived as memorials to Expresses, Victoria Memorial is evidence of W Emerson’s great admiration of the Mughal masterpiece.

Finally last weekend I happened to witness the inner beauty of this majestic architecture. The paintings, galleries, and the Calcutta museum is something noteworthy, but nothing compare to the Mahal. I liked some of the painting of British painters, on Kolkata; some initial photographs of small townships of Kolkata, some of them are world class, but neglected like nothing, kept open in the hot and humid weather decades after decades.
In the main entrance the gigantic lions (one of them is in the picture below, which is edited in picasa and a part of my virtual series)and in the back the gate and the extremely well maintained greenish garden (which is considered the heavens for couples in Kolkata) are fascinating to watch, a beautiful experience. Specially the view from the balconies of the main building is really enchanting(picture above).

The entry fee Rs 10/- for Indian nationals, but 150/- for foreign nationals. I liked this concept, because Rs 150/- is less then 2GBP, 3Euro, 4USD, which is cheaper than entry fee of any castle or museum. But what I don’t like is the way it is documented and maintained. One foreign traveler was looking to some information in the board in the entrance, but was very unhappy with the outcome. It was some general guidelines to keep the premises clean, not to walk on the grass of the gardens etc. Its simply funny because every visitor expects some historical details in the entrance. What more surprising to me is photography is not allowed in the gallery (museum). May be it is because the flashes of cameras damage the paintings or because of the security reasons photography is prohibited here. We really don’t know how to promote tourism; don’t have the mentality to make something different. The concerns for this landmark has equally expressed in Ananda’s Blog, where he describe the mishandling of 'Angel of Victory' (as can be seen in the photo above, atop the dome). After fifty years of independence why there is no big architectures like this, why the initiative has not taken or we don’t have that projection. Because of we lack our vision; we prefer to work with our personal and self centric goals.
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Sigma said...

Nice pictures ... and the Victoria Memorial looks really lovely in these ...

Pijush said...

@Sigma, Thanks for the comment, undoubtedly VM is impressive and wonderful.