Founded in early 20th century, the Prince of Wales Museum was set up to commemorate a visit from the then ‘Prince of Wales’, King George V. Located in the heart of South Mumbai in proximity to The Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya as it was eventually renamed, is home to a dizzying array of exhibits celebrating ancient India’s history. Outside of courting tourist attention, the CSMVS Museum is an attempt to revive young passions in preserving these priceless artifacts.
The 50,000 plus exhibits at the Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai are classified into three sections, art, archaeology and natural history. Some of the highlights of the CSMVS Museum Mumbai are the artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization and relics from the Gupta, Maurya, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta periods. The sprawling structure of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Mumbai encompasses a lush green space complete with palm trees and flower beds.
The museum stays open between 10:15 am and 06:00 pm except Mondays. The ticket counter closes at 05:45 pm. Also, the museum stays shut on all public holidays such as 26th January, 1st May, 15th August, 2nd October among others.
159-161, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya history goes back to the November of 1905 when Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone for the museum. It wasn’t until 1907 that the Bombay government sanctioned a piece of land called ‘Crescent Site’ for the museum committee, the ground on which the museum presently stands. To begin with it was the Royal Visit Memorial Funds that funded the museum. Soon after the construction was completed in 1915, it was used as a military hospital and a Children’s Welfare Centre in the First World War. Only in 1920 was the structure handed over to the committee and two-years later was inaugurated by Lady Lloyd, the wife of Governor of Bombay, George Lloyd. The rechristening of the museum happened as recently as 1998 when it was called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya after the Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
George Wittet was the architect commissioned to work on the museum design in 1909. Ahead of this stint, Wittet had designed the General Post Office and was roped in to design what is one of Mumbai’s most iconic structure, The Gateway of India. Dubbed a Grade 1 Heritage Building in the city, CSMVS museum is also a winner of the Urban Heritage Award by the Indian Heritage Society Bombay Chapter for maintenance of heritage building in 1990. An Indo-saracenic piece of architecture fusing elements of Maratha, Jain and Mughal styles, the museum complex is a monument in its own right. Spanning across three acres, the three-storied rectangular building with a dome on top is made of Kurla basalt and trachyte Malad stone. The dome soars over a central entrance porch and incorporates Islamic elements like the protruding balconies and inlaid floors. Wittet is believed to have drawn an inspiration from the inner vaulting arches of the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur and the dome of the Golconda Fort for the design of the Prince of Wales Museum. The columns and the banisters are reminiscent of a traditional Maratha mansion while the interior columns that are a part of the central pavilion were modelled on the Jain style. In 2008, five new galleries were added to the museum apart from a conservation studio, a seminar room, a visitors exhibition gallery and a library.
Art Section: Here you can find some gems from the prominent schools of traditional painting such as Mughal, Deccan, Pahari and Rajasthani. Look up palm-leaf manuscripts going back to the 11th and 12th centuries as well as some Pahari paintings from the early 19th century and the Sultanate period. This section houses an invaluable 17th century manuscript of the Ramayana from Mewar. The wealth of ivory artifacts from the Gupta period, and textiles, metal ware and Mughal jades, gold and silver, to the European paintings and the porcelain from the Far East are some of its other highlights. A large part of this collection was donated by Ratan Tata and Dorab Tata between 1921 and 1933.
Archaeology section: Go through the Indus Valley Culture Gallery and you will find a horde of interesting artifacts including fishing hooks, jewellery, weapons as well as weights and measures. The sculpture collection is equally fascinating with its range of terracotta figures from Mirpurkhas in Sind, artifacts from the Gupta, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta periods.
Natural history section: Aided by the Bombay Natural History Society, in this section you can educate yourself on the Indian wildlife, learn about birds like flamingos, hornbills through the illustrations, diagrams and charts placed on display here.
Don’t miss out the little geological collection of fossils, rocks and minerals apart from perusing through the Maritime Heritage Gallery regarded the first-of-its-kind in the country. ‘Coins of India’ is the newest section in the museum.
In order to arrive at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya address, you need to come to South Mumbai, to its Fort area on the Mahatma Gandhi Road. On the same day you can also visit The Gateway of India which is in the vicinity. Remember, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya visiting hours are between 10:15 am and 06:00 pm, and it stays closed to public on Mondays.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay tickets for an Indian above 12 years is INR 85. For a foreigner, the Price of Wales Museum ticket price comes at INR 500. However, children between 5 to 12 years can pay INR 20 as an entry fee. Even students through school up to 10th standard pay INR 20 as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay entry fee. College students with valid ID card need to pay INR 40 as museum entry fee. The Prince of Wales Museum tickets are slightly discounted at INR 60 for the senior citizens above 60 years of age. Even defence personnel pay INR 60 as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay tickets price. Indian visitors coming in a group of 15 or more too pay INR 60 as museum entry fee.Audio Guides and Photography
You can get yourself an audio guide at INR 50 and choose from languages like English, Hindi, Marathi, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. The passes for the same are available at the ticket counter and the museum shop counters. For international visitors, the audio guide is complimentary with their tickets. For photography, an additional 50 bucks need to be paid for using a mobile phone or tab camera. And in case you are using a point-and-shoot camera, then the charges are INR 100. But those using a camera with tripod, the charges are INR 5000. Although, of course, for any commercial photography and video shooting you need prior permission from the museum authority.
If you wish to avoid queues at the museum site and gain direct entry, it is a good idea to get your Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay entry ticket online. For the same, you can look up Yatra.com and buy your CSMVS Museum online ticket at the snap of a finger.Visitor-friendly Facilities at CSMVS Museum
There are lifts available for senior citizens and disabled visitors. You can board the lift from the extension wing of the museum building. Also, wheelchairs are available near the Key Gallery at the museum entrance. You can enquire from the Information Desk about wheelchairs upon arrival. To make the museum accessible to visually impaired visitors, it has braille labels in the Sculpture Gallery. There are tactile tours too for groups of visually impaired visitors. The Visitor’s Centre has a well-furnished baggage counter to drop off your belongings such as water bottles, bags, packages among others as they are not allowed inside the museum in keeping with its security measures. You can even browse the museum shop for some souvenirs. It has a rich collection of artifacts from India’s rich heritage, everything from textiles to handicraft.Quick bite in CSMVS Museum
Head to the museum cafe if you wish to take a break from all the exploring and relax with a cup of tea and some cakes. The cafe set in the museum gardens offers an array of beverages and snacks to satiate your hunger pangs.
The museum is close to the two important local railway terminus, Churchgate of the Western Railway and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of the Central Railway. From both these places, the museum is a good 20-minute walk away. In case you don’t wish to walk it, you also have the choice of calling a cab or hiring the local taxi.Bus Options for CSMVS Museum:
From Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, you can take either of the buses, 14, 69, 101 and 130From Churchgate, you can take one of the buses, 70, 106, 122, 123, 132 and 137
The buses take off from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, about 150 metres from the railway station of the same and drop you off at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Chowk which is about 300 metres from the CSMVS Museum.
For those coming from Churchgate, there is a 260 metre walk to the Ahilyabai Holkar Chowk from where the buses depart towards The Gateway of India with a stop at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Chowk, from where the museum is a brief walk away.
159-161, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
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