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The Victoria Memorial Hall- the brainchild of Lord Curzon- opened to the public on 28 December 1921, is currently the most-visited museum in India, with a combined footfall in the gardens and the museum galleries pushing towards 4 million per year. The architect of the building was William Emerson, and the approximate cost of building it was little over one crore of Indian Rupees in the first decade of the 20th century, with the bulk of the contribution coming from the Indian subjects. The chhatri-style pavilions on the top of the four corner turrets show a distinctly Indo-Islamic style, which was skilfully combined with the classical features of the Victoria Memorial Hall building. This is why the building is considered to be one of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture in India. The original scheme of the Memorial Gardens was drawn up in the year 1915 in consultation with landscape gardeners and architects, and two remarkable individuals, Sir David Prain – Director of the Botanical Survey of India, the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, and later the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew Gardens, London – and the 1st Earl Redesdale, acknowledged as one of the greatest amateur authorities on the subject at the time. The campus, covering a total area of 57 acres, presently comprises the gardens, the Museum building, six water bodies, paved pathways, benches for resting, nearly 2,800 trees, shrubs and hedges representing approximately 80 species, and a nursery garden for growing saplings for the purpose of fresh planting. The six water bodies encircling the Memorial help in sustaining a complete ecosystem that not only nurture a large number of trees but a vibrant local biosphere that provides habitat for a large range of flora and fauna. Water fountains add aesthetic beauty in the background.
|Address:||1, Queen's Way, Kolkata - 700071|
|Institution Head:||Dr. Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary and Curator|
|Hours:||10:00 am to 6:00 pm|