Since many of us have been spending our time indoors for weeks, I thought that a virtual museum tour in Mumbai would provide some relief. With the magic of google maps, this virtual tour will allow you to almost step out of your apartment, and into a normal world, touched, not by the coronavirus, but by ‘ordinary’ adventure, travel, historical artefacts, and great art.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to enjoy this virtual museum tour in Mumbai:
- 2 A most charming structure
- 3 The Hall of Indian sculpture
- 4 The gallery of oriental ceramics and sculpture
- 5 The oriental weapons’ gallery
- 6 The galleries of paintings
- 7 The natural history section
- 8 Some other miscellaneous places
- 9 The coin gallery
- 10 Stepping outside the museum
How to enjoy this virtual museum tour in Mumbai:
There will be some pictures that I took of various exhibits in the museum, at the end of this ‘tour’ – but most of the tour will be courtesy of google maps. You will be able to ‘walk around’ the museum and look at exhibits, almost as if you were actually there.
For those not familiar with google maps, all you have to do is press and hold your left mouse button, and by dragging your mouse, you can look around in 360 degrees. Do you want to change your position? Simply click on the place you want to move to, and you will shift there.
And so you can wander the museum virtually.
A most charming structure
Let’s start our virtual museum tour in Mumbai with the exterior of this magnificent building.
The Prince of Wales museum is a very unique and charming structure, inasmuch as it is constructed with Saracenic and Byzantine influences, and by a British architect! It makes for a truly fairy-tale construction, and is a wonderful building in which to house a museum. But see for yourself. Remember that you can not only look around in the view below, but also ‘walk’ up and down the approach road, while continuing to look around…
When you actually enter the building, after passing through the entrance foyer, you find yourself in a magnificent domed hall or atrium, extending upwards through the entire building. Not only is this hall a wonderful welcome to all that the museum offers, but it also provides excellent ventilation, keeping the entire museum structure naturally cool.
The Hall of Indian sculpture
But let’s continue our virtual museum tour in Mumbai. Directly off the entrance hall is a wonderful Hall of Indian Sculpture – this is certainly worth exploring in this virtual tour, as the resolution is certainly sufficient to allow one to truly appreciate the wonderful sculpture.
You may or may not be aware that sculpture is one of the most magnificent arts of India, extending in an unbroken tradition from very ancient times, right down to the present. Yes, modern India today maintains a wonderful tradition of sculpture, with artisans working in everything from clay to plaster-of-paris, and even obdurate black stone. However, and tragically, many of these wonderful sculptors will forever remain nameless, and treated as nameless workers of the ‘lower classes’.
Incidentally, for those experienced in the ways of world sculpture, there is a definite Hellenistic influence visible in some of the sculptures you will see here.
If you enjoyed the Hall of Indian Sculpture, there is a lovely gallery looking out onto the gardens that also has some more interesting Indian sculpture on display… Let’s not omit it on our virtual museum tour:
The gallery of oriental ceramics and sculpture
And now to visit one of my favourite places in this museum, a gallery of oriental ceramics and sculpture. This section has many lovely works of art from all over Asia. You can move around this gallery, and gain some idea of the art it contains.
The vases and ivory carvings are especially to be recommended.
If you step outside the oriental art gallery, you find yourself right under the main dome of the museum, with a selection of cut glass and ceramic art in cases around you…
The oriental weapons’ gallery
After these two art galleries, visiting the oriental weapons’ gallery makes for an interesting change. The case you will see right before you contains weapons common to Myanmar and Thailand. The long flat swords with the squared-off ends are Dahs from Myanmar, while the wavy-bladed swords are probably versions of the Thai ‘kris’. An interesting fact – the most valued thai ‘Kris’ blades were actually made with metal from meteorites, making them, quite literally, ‘weapons from heaven’. Make sure to ‘walk’ around this gallery, as there are a lot of interesting weapons on display…
The galleries of paintings
After that, a visit to two interesting galleries of paintings might be in order on our virtual museum tour in Mumbai. While these might not rank with the best paintings of the world, they have been selected with considerable taste, and are like a breath of fresh air in a world that seems sometimes to be forgetting how to define great art.
After that, let us step into one of the circular galleries around the central atrium. This part of the virtual museum tour is interesting because of the intrcate pillars and woodwork of the gallery itself…
The natural history section
Now we can move to the natural history section. It is very interesting, and there are many exotic species on display here. You can ‘walk’ around and look at the different cases.
This place is a favourite of my 8-year-old daughter Alexandra, who loves an interesting cross-section of a cat…
Here’s more from the natural history section – this area contains Asian animals, but it doesn’t seem to be too easy to move around here.
Some other miscellaneous places
I don’t quite know what this area is, but it seems intriguing…
This area is devoted to religions, I think…
A small area showcasing oriental furniture and vases
The coin gallery
This is the coins gallery – unfortunately, you won’t be able to see much, of course, as the resolution is not enough for one to see any details. However, we can’t skip it on this virtual museum tour in Mumbai as it is little short of fascinating – there are ancient coins from India, from the time of the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great, that actually bear images of Zeus, and Hercules! Meaning that the influence of Greece in ancient times reached thus far into Asia!
Stepping outside the museum
There are many more sections to the museum, of course, but for now this will suffice. Let us, instead step out of the museum, and walk down to the sea front, which is nearby, to see…
The Gateway of India
This structure is very near the museum – It is called the Gateway of India, because, in another age, the immense sailing ships from Britain used to dock here. One can still see the immense metal posts that the ships were moored at. The structure itself was originally built to welcome the then-Prince of Wales to India.
And here’s a view from a ferry docking at the Gateway.
And here we are, on the sea, on a tiny little ferry, with seagulls everywhere!!!
And finally, a small view of some of the rather interesting architecture of Mumbai…
The ferries, as any resident of Mumbai knows, go to the ancient cave temples on the island of Elephanta, which are a wonderful place to visit in their own right.
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