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Museums In Mumbai

Museums In Mumbai


Museums portray the art and cultural heritage of any place, through rare specimens of artistic sculptures, paintings, relics and artifacts. Mumbai, being the hub of commercial activities in Maharashtra, has always got the attention. Whether it is its own inhabitants or visitors, the City of Dreams has always allured people with its interesting facets. The museums in Bombay can be said one of its facet. Apart from displaying the art, these museums also provide considerable information with reference to pertinent studies. 

Prince of Wales Museum

Location: M.G. Road, Fort, Mumbai
Attraction: Painting gallery, Artifacts of Maurya and Gupta periods etc.
Built in: 1914
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

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.

National Gallery of Modern Art

Location: M. G. Road, Fort Mumbai
Attraction: Works of Pablo Picasso, Egyptian artifacts, etc.
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) of Mumbai is an institution, managed by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, a venture of Indian Government. NGMA displays the Modern Contemporary Art of India as well as the other countries of the world. Located near Regal Cinema at M.G. Road in Bombay, the gallery was opened to the public in 1996. It displays paintings of various renowned artists of India, ranging from M.F. Hussain to F.N. Souza.

Under the Cultural Exchange Programme between various countries, National Gallery of Modern Art arranges exhibitions as proposed by the different Consulates round the year. Besides these special exhibitions, NGMA also showcases the talent of leading and distinguished artists of the country. Earlier India had been known for its traditional art schools, but with the advent of such organizations, the contemporary art lineage is coming on the scene.

To be found opposite Prince of Wales Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art has been the revived form of an old public hall, better called Sir C. J. Hall. This three-storey structure encompasses collected works of eminent living artists of India. The highlights of museum are made by the collection of Pablo Picasso’s works and artifacts like mummies, statues, etc. from Egypt. Thus, NGMA offers an easy and comprehensive overview of the contemporary art scenario in the country.

Nehru Planetarium

Location: Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai
Established In: 1977
Attractions: Planetarium, Discovery of India, Art Gallery, Antique Exhibits
How to Reach: One can easily reach Nehru Planetarium by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Nehru Planetarium is a large domed building at Mumbai (Bombay) that was inaugurated on 3rd March 1977 by Smt Indira Gandhi (former Prime Minister of India). Situated at Annie Besant Road in Worli, Nehru Planetarium was designed by J.M. Kadri – the finest architect of India. It is to be found at a distance of 8 km from the City Centre, right next to Mahalakshmi Racecourse. Nehru Planetarium is popular among the amateur astronomers of the city.

Over the years, the planetarium has evolved into a center for logical study of astronomy and space science. It also acts as a meeting place of scientists and scholars for discussions and lectures regarding different cosmological and Astronomical events. The programmes like science quiz contest, astro-painting, astro-poetry, science elocution etc. conducted by the Nehru Planetarium are meant for inspiring students.

Since its establishment, this planetarium has produced thirty-one astronomical presentations that have been watched by around 10 million lovers of uranology. It’s the only astronomical centre, which encompasses both concert and movie auditorium. Indeed Nehru Planetarium is the best place for those, who are enamored with astronomy and outer space. The domed interior is daily exposed to shows, which reveal the enduring mysteries of the universe.

Inside the planetarium, there are several cubicles that can guesstimate your weight on each of the nine planets of the Solar System. Adjoining it is the Nehru Centre, which has facets like art gallery, restaurant, library, cultural center and a 14-gallery exhibit known as Discovery of India. Thus, Nehru Planetarium provides an insight into the cosmic world and serves as a platform for budding astronomers.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Location: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Byculla, Mumbai
Built in: 1872
Attractions: Archeological findings & relics
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Bhau Daji Lad Museum is the oldest museum in Mumbai city of India. Rani Jijamata Udyan makes the picturesque setting of this historical museum at Ambedkar Road, in Byculla area of Mumbai. Built in 1872, it was initially christened as Victoria & Albert Museum after the museum of London. The museum has a great collection of archaeological relics, maps and photographs that peep into the history of Bombay. It was later renamed after its benefactor, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad, who dedicated his life to this museum.

The history of Bhau Daji Lad Museum reveals that it was planned with an amount of Rupees 6,000, at the initiative of Dr. Bhau. The marvelous structure of building had lost its sheen with the times, but thanks to Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Mumbai (INTACH) that is renovating the museum with utmost care. The treasury comprises of more than 6000 valuable artifacts, including sculptures, pottery, coins, ivory work, paintings, etc. It has special sections on the social and cultural life in India also.

Apart from the above compilation, the museum has over 4,000 reference books and manuscripts in its supervision. The clay models, costumes, finely shaped silver, copper ware etc, are amongst the most-cherished compilation which is worth taking a glance. Victoria & Albert Museum also contains atypical photographs of early Bombay and testimonials from the colonial past. The half-done collection was first exhibited to Lord Canning in 1856. Today, Bhau Daji Lad Museum is revived in its appearance, with gold ornamentations on wall corners, ceilings, hand railings and blue-painted pillars.

Mani Bhavan

Location: Laburnam Road, Near Nana Chowk, Gamdevi, Mumbai
Dedicated to: Mahatma Gandhi
Attraction: Photo Gallery, Memorabilia etc.
How to Reach: One can easily reach Mani Bhavan by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Mani Bhavan is a veritable memoir of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. It is located at Laburnam Road in Mumbai, near Nana Chowk of Gamdevi. Also known as Gandhi Museum, Mani Bhavan served as the residence of the great freedom fighter of India between 1917 and 1934. Infact, Mahatma Gandhi started various struggle movements like Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat while residing here.

Gandhi Museum is certainly a tribute to the torchbearer of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi. This mansion was actually owned by Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri and before him, by the Mani family, who were friends and host of Gandhi during his stay at Mumbai. In the year 1955, the building came under the administration of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and ever since, Mani Bhawan is exhibiting the chronicles of the legend.

It is a two-storied structure, which has a reference library with over 20,000 books and a photo display of the Gandhi’s life. The old charkha or spinning wheel that Gandhiji used to use is the major attraction in the well-preserved memorabilia. Mani Bhavan is closely associated with Gandhiji and his life, which he dedicated to get the nation liberated. It is a place worth-visiting and recalling the days that involved efforts of the freedom struggler.

Bombay Natural History Society

Location: Hornbill House, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai
Established in: 1883
Known for: Education and research in natural history, Conservation of nature
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Established in 1883, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is known to be one amongst the largest non-governmental organizations in India. Since its inception, it has been working whole-heartedly for the conservation of nature and natural resources, education and research in natural history. It instigates discussions and observations on natural history in its forum. BNHS also showcases an interesting collection of specimens from natural world in its museum, called Bombay Natural History Museum.

Over 30 countries, which have joined BNHS as its active members are working with the primary principle of conservation, rooted in scientific research. Dr. Salim Ali, the renowned Ornithologist and Naturalist, fostered the tradition that became the guiding principle of the society. BNHS has its headquarters in the Hornbill House, which was specially constructed in South Mumbai. Being a society, BNHS bankrolls studies in Indian wildlife and conservation.

What’s more, it publishes a four-monthly journal called ‘The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society’ and ‘Hornbill’, a quarterly magazine. The logo of Bombay Natural History Society has been enthused with William, a hornbill that lived in the grounds of the society during its early years. It has been over a century, rare specimens are still being donated to the society from nature lovers across the world.

Here, one can see replicas and rare specimens of vertebrates, insects, beetles, butterflies and embalmed reptiles. A temporary membership of the society is available, which enables one to know more about society’s activities in the sphere of nature conservation. With this, one can even access the library and attend the weekly lectures. Bombay Natural History Society is not open to public, so interested ones are required to take prior permission for admittance.