Fodor's Expert Review Victoria Memorial
This massive, white marble monument was conceived in 1901 by Lord Curzon and built over a 20-year period. Designed in a mixture of Italian Renaissance and Saracenic styles, surrounded by extensive, carefully manicured gardens, and preceded by a typically sober statue of Victoria herself, it remains a major symbol of the British Raj as well as that of Kolkata itself. Inside the building is an excellent museum of the history of Kolkata (there's a lot to read, but it will really sharpen your sense of the British-Bengali relationship) and various Raj-related exhibits, including Queen Victoria's writing desk and piano, Indian miniature paintings, watercolors, and Persian books. Cameras and electronic equipment must be left at the entrance. In the evenings there's a sound-and-light show, with narration in English, about Kolkata's history. The lawns are used by locals, especially during winter, for family picnics and joyrides on horse-drawn carriages.