Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai)

After all my complaints about lack of museums in Mumbai I discovered there was one I hadn’t visited. Ironically, it’s situated in the very building I admire so much (and with countless photos of which I’ve made my Facebook followers sick) – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, former Victoria Terminus. In my defence, the museum is not very popularized and it works only 3 hours a day – 3 to 6 pm., Monday to Friday, and I usually visit South Mumbai early in the morning to explore its deserted streets… Anyway, soon after discovering the museum there I was, impatient to have a closer look at the most beautiful railway station in the world.

How to get to the Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

The lion and the tiger (symbolizing the British Empire and India respectively). Walk towards the arch to find the tickets counter

The lion and the tiger (symbolizing the British Empire and India respectively). Walk towards the arch to find the tickets counter

How to get to the Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Walk past the lion and tiger at the gates of the Central Railway Headquarters towards the arched entrance. The counter of the Heritage Museum is right there. The cost of the ticket is Rs 200 for everyone (including foreigners) and Rs 100 for students.

More info

More info

They give you this beautiful ticket on a cord that you’re supposed to wear around your neck during the tour, so that everyone in the building would know who you are and what you’re up to.

The ticket

The ticket

Inside the museum: exquisite interiors and well documented history of the Indian Railways  

Our guide was a knowledgeable man with a genuine care for the SCT. We started with exhibits on the history of Indian Railways: old engine models, photos, instruments and letters. There was a letter from one poor employee to the administration of the railway company requesting to increase his salary from Rs 100 to at least Rs 150. To be honest, if someone wrote a letter to me in such a beautiful handwriting, I would have increased his salary ten times, no less 🙂 Another thing that caught my attention was a replica of Alex Haig’s painting of the Victoria Terminus as it appeared just after construction in 1888. The station took 10 years to complete and it’s rather exceptional for the city of Bombay of that time. The structure represents Gothic revival style with a heavy impact of the oriental designs and patterns. It celebrates the genius of Frederick William Stevens, an English architectural engineer, and thousands of nameless artisans who carved every bit of the building to make it so beautiful.

Inside the museum

Inside the museum

A scale model of the CST

A scale model of the CST

A replica of Alex Haig’s painting of the Victoria Terminus

A replica of Alex Haig’s painting of the Victoria Terminus

Exhibits

Exhibits

Exhibits

Exhibits

A train model

A train model

Then we went to the Central railway Headquarters, where I forgot of our guide’s existence at once –poor fellow was actually telling something, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the towering dome, stained-glass windows, winding staircase, intricate railings and carvings of flowers, birds and animals. Such a pity there is no afterlife, otherwise I’d love to live in this building as a ghost – to fly up to the dome, to sit with the gargoyles, to look at Mumbai and its people from above, to hide behind the columns and … so on, whatever the ghosts like to do 🙂

The door!

The door!

The view of the dome from the ground floor

The view of the central dome from the ground floor

A lion with a coat of arms of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway

A lion with a coat of arms of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway

A series of arches with delicate floral design

A series of arches with delicate floral design

Stained-glass windows

Stained-glass windows

Birds and animals

Birds and animals

A monkey stealing grapes

A monkey stealing grapes

Then we walked to the station itself and walked along the high corridors of the “Star Chamber” (the ticket booth area). But the most exciting part was going to the balconies and having a closer look at all the architectural elements of the exterior.

The Star Chamber

The Star Chamber

The ceiling

The ceiling

Fragment of the facade

Lovely arches

Lovely arches

Meet the gargoyles

Meet the gargoyles

And more

And more

The central dome with the Statue of Progress on the top

The central dome with the Statue of Progress on the top

In  the dining room my attention was immediately caught by the quaint bookcase, but when I came closer all those thick volumes turned out to be just gazettes and other railway publications. Such a pity 🙂

The dining room

The dining room

I loved that big oval table

I loved that big oval table

The bookcase with gazettes

The bookcase with gazettes

Before leaving I spent quite some time exploring the facade of the Central Railway Headquarters – there are so many details that are not visible from behind the gates. For example, this bas-relief, representing the different types of Bombay citizens of that time.

P1050063

Three different types of arches on each level

Three different types of arches on each level

Goodbye, CST, and thanks - you've been charming :)

Goodbye, CST, and thanks – you’ve been charming 🙂

The memories of this visit kept me happy for quite some time, and if you suspect a similar impact on yourself, don’t hesitate to go.

Pin it for later:

Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai)

Save

Spread the love
  • 2
  •  
  • 104
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    106
    Shares

8 thoughts on “Heritage Museum in Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Mumbai)

  1. Pingback: 3 Mumbai Museums You Don't Want to Miss - indiapalette.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.