01 June 2010
The museum gates had not opened so had to shoot from between the gate bars.
Prince of Wales Museum is the erstwhile name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya of Mumbai. In 1905, its foundation stone was laid down, by George V - the Prince of Wales himself, who came on a visit to India. The splendid structure was designed by George Wittet, an architect. The construction work was concluded in 1914, but the structure was converted to a military hospital for the period of World War I. The full-fledged museum was inaugurated by Lady Lloyd in 1923.
Located at M.G. Road, near Gateway of India, in South Bombay, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum has Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Its façade is made of yellow and blue stones, mined from the Bombay region. It has an assortment of details from different Indian styles like small spherical cupolas on towers, saracenic arches with Muslim jalis as fillers, semi-open verandahs and jharokhas (windows) of Rajputs. Its dome has been designed deliberately, so as to append variety in the skyline and make a landmark at ground level.
Art, Archaeology and Natural History are three exclusive sections in the museum. It houses some of finest collections, ranging from ancient Indus Valley relics to the artifacts from the Gupta and Maurya Periods. Here, one can see a few of the rarest and earliest exhibits of Indian history. There are scores of interesting artifacts from foreign countries like Tibet and Nepal. It has one complete gallery comprising the exquisite tankha scrolls of the Buddhists.
Another gallery is devoted to bronze castings and sculptures. In case intricate paintings happen to be your interest, you will be delighted to see the compilation of more than 2,000 miniature paintings from the different art schools of India. The variety of art displayed in the museum is definitely a treat for any art-lover. In concise terms, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum is an important cultural and education centre that certainly deserves a visit.