Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum is a historic museum situated at Mumbai, India. This museum is officially known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum was earlier known as Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was the great emperor of the Maratha Kingdom, who reigned from 1630 to 1680.
Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is having 70,000 historic & artistic works. Artifacts alone number around 50,000. Cultural activities, exhibitions, etc, are conducted frequently at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The Museum is divided into three sections; Art, Archaeology and Natural History.
Items on display includes sculptures, bronzes, European paintings, Indian miniature paintings, terracotta’s, porcelain and ivories from Japan and China, etc. Excavated artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization sites or Harappan sites (Harappan period dates back to C.2000- B.C. 1200) are also displayed at Shivaji museum. Besides these, the Museum has a separate Natural History section.
Relics from the period of Chalukyas, Guptas, Mauryas and Rashtrakuta are on display here. Collections of Sir Purushottam Mavji, Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata are also on display here. There is also a Prints gallery, Maritime Heritage Gallery and Forestry section. “Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala collection” and “the Coins of India” are two new galleries added in 2008. “Krishna Gallery” was also added in 2008. It has artworks related to Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu. A textile gallery was added in 2010.
Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, a Grade I Heritage Building, is one of the finest examples for the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. UNESCO has awarded this building the UNESCO Asia – Pacific Heritage Award in 2010. Indo-Saracenic style of architecture is a combination of Indian Hindu architectural style and Saracen (Muslim) architectural style, along with minor elements from Western style of architecture. The dome of the Museum is styled as that of Golconda Fort and the inner vaulting arches are styled on the lines of Gol Gumbaz.
Prince of Wales Museum was built in Memory of the visit of the Prince of Wales (who later became King George V). The idea of building the museum was by a group of prominent people of Mumbai (Bombay was the name of the city till 1995). The Foundation Stone for the Museum was laid by the Prince of Wales in 11th November, 1905. The museum was built with public contribution and aid from the then Government of the Bombay Presidency. The construction was completed by 1914. It was opened to public on 10th January, 1922.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya has a well laid garden in the front. The garden was previously named Victoria Gardens and is now known as Jijamata Udyaan. Jijamata Udyaan alias Victoria Gardens, still retains its original plan. George Wittet was the architect of the Museum. In 2008, the building area was increased by 30,000 square feet, to accommodate growing demands of the Museum.
How Do I Go to Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum?
Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum or Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is situated at the heart of South Mumbai. It is situated on the Gandhi Road at Fort, Mumbai. It is located opposite to the Byculla railway station, on the Central line of Mumbai Suburban Railway. Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum is located close to ‘India Gate’ or ‘Gateway of India‘.
The Museum is well connected by buses to all parts of the city of Mumbai. Mumbai is well connected by trains to different parts of the country. Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji airport, which was previously known as Santa Cruz Airport, is the nearest airport to Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum.