Kolkatans are proud of their rich heritage. Very proud. To add to that, here’s one more feather in their hat. The city’s very own Victoria Memorial Hall has been rated as India's best museum ahead of other popular museums like Indian Museum in Kolkata itself, National Museum in Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai and Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad. In fact, Victoria Memorial is the only famous Indian museums from metro cities to feature in Asia's top 25 list in the `TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice' awards for museums. The award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the reviews and ratings by various travellers across the globe, gathered for almost over a year.
George Curzon, 1st Marquess Curzon of Kedleston and Viceroy of India, suggested the construction of a memorial in January 1901 after Queen Victoria’s demise. The idea was to have a building, stately, spacious, monumental and grand, to which every newcomer in the then British capital of India will turn, to which all the resident population will flock, where all classes will learn the lessons of history and see the marvels of the past. The Prince of Wales, later King George V, laid the foundation stone on 4 January 1906, and the memorial was formally opened to the public in 1921. Just like the Taj Mahal, the Victoria Memorial is built of white Makrana marble. In design, it echoes the Taj Mahal with its dome, four subsidiaries, octagonal-domed chattris, high portals, terrace, and domed corner towers.
Victoria Memorial houses over 35,000 objects and has seen a rise in footfall from 28 lakh in 2012 to 35 lakh in 2016. 13 lakh of the 23 lakh total visitors in 2016 only toured the surrounding luscious garden while the rest chose to visit the museum. Apart from foreign tourists, the museum also has a large number of domestic visitors.