The 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 "VM" seems to endure for ever.
The 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 symbolizing victory.
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.