Victoria Memorial is one of the grandest examples of the British Empire in Kolkata. But one of the best examples of European Architecture is the Marble Palace. The Mansion was built in the year 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick. Raja Rajendra Mullick was a Merchant with a passion of collecting art. He was the adopted son of Nilmoni Mullick. He was the contemporary to Prince Dwarkanath Tagore and is compared to him for his affluence and wealth. Despite the Mansion being open to public, a part of it is still residence to the decedents of Mullick. It is located at 46, Muktaram Babu Street, Kolkata 700007; which is a 30 minute ride from the city’s nerve centre “The Park Street”.
The Mansion was built by a French architect and was named “Marble Palace” by Lord Minto later on. The Mansion is aptly called so because of the Marble wall Panels and floors which were exclusively made from one hundred and twenty six kinds of colourful Italian marble brought in from overseas. The structure is in Neo classical style and beautifully merges with the traditional Bengali style of architecture and has an open courtyard. It has tall fluted Corinthian Pillars and is a three storied structure. A little influence of Chinese Pavilion style can be seen through its ornamented Balconies, fretwork and sloping roofs. The premise of the mansion contains a temple which predates the house and was built by Nilmoni Mullick, apart from this it also contains a small zoo, garden with lawn, a lake, and a rock garden.
The entrance is rarely used and visitors need to enter from the billiards room. The room after this has a larger than life size statue of Queen Victoria, another bust of her and a statue of Medusa. You will find statues of dancing girls and thinkers, Victoriana, Belgian glassware’s, moose heads won as game trophies and paintings which include originals of Joshua Reynolds, Rubens and Murillo; all overstuffed into the Marble draped hall. The Music room “Jalsha-Ghar” has a lavish marble inlay with three statues of Napoleon and one of Wellington. The ballroom has still retained its array of candle chandeliers which have globes of silver glass. The enormous ground outside contains a number of statues, the pond has a fountain made of stone featuring mermen and mermaids. The ground also contains numerous statues of lions, Gautama Buddha, Jesus and Virgin Mary, and Numerous Hindu Gods. The aviary plays host to a number of exotic birds.
The house requires a little more care as over the years it’s become a forgotten treasure which has taken a back seat in the memories of even the residents. Entry to the Mansion is free but a prior written permission from the West Bengal Tourism is required to visit it.