Prince of Wales Museum

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Timings : 10:15 AM - 5:00 PM, Open on all days except Monday

Time Required : 3-5 hours

Entry Fee : INR 30

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Also Refered As:

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay

Prince of Wales museum, Mumbai Overview

The Prince of Wales Museum is a splendid structure situated in Mumbai and is regarded to be one of the heritage buildings of the city. The foundation stone of this edifice was laid down by the Prince of Wales on the 11 November 1905, and it was established as a museum on 10 January 1922. The facade of the museum is a sight to behold in itself and sits in the midst of an expansive green garden. Adorned with stunning stone and lattice work, the architecture of the Prince of Wales Museum is a blend of Indian, Mughal and British engineering styles. Inside, the museum holds almost 50,000 of some of the most exquisite artefacts relating to the rich and diverse history of India. 

Now known as 'Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay', The Prince of Wales Museum is a Grade I Heritage Building of the city and is counted amongst one of the most prominent museums of India. The complex exhibits a myriad collection of ancient artefacts, artwork and sculptors of the country which give a unique insight into our past. The building also underwent a major renovation after which several new galleries adorning the artworks of Hindu God Krishna, textiles and Indian traditional costumes were opened. Preserved in its best form, the Prince of Wales Museum is a wonderful manifestation of India's glory and rich past.

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History of Prince of Wales museum

The idea of the Prince of Wales Museum was initiated in 1904 to honour and commemorate the visit of King George V to India and its foundation brick was laid down in the year 1905 by the Prince himself. A strip of land was later granted by the government of Mumbai, then known as Bombay Presidency called 'Crescent Site' on March 1, 1907. The credit for the admirable architecture of this building goes to a prominent architect, George Wittet, who erected the building in 1915. However, the museum complex was used as a military hospital and a 'Children's Welfare Center' during the First World War. The Prince of Wales Museum was finally inaugurated on January 10, 1922, by Lady Lloyd, the wife of George Lloyd, Governor of Bombay.

Owing to its illustrious past, the building was granted the status of a Grade I Heritage Building of the city and was also awarded the first prize (Urban Heritage Award) by the Bombay Chapter of the Indian Heritage Society for heritage building maintenance in 1990. The museum was renamed ' Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya' in order to commemorate the memory of the founder of the Maratha kingdom.

Architecture of the museum

Showcasing the brilliant craftsmanship of the British era, the structure of Prince of Wales museum is considered as one of Mumbai's prized possessions. The museum complex covers an area of 12,000 square metres, while the built - up area of the museum is sprawled over 12,142.23 square metres. Constructed in the Indi-Saracenic style of architecture, the design of the museum building is a fusion of Gujarati and Islamic design of 15 to 16th century apart from the English brickwork. Sitting like a crown of the building is a remarkable white Mughal dome adding charm to its outlook. While the lush green gardens bound the museum, internally it is divided into three different sections: Natural history section, Archaeology section and Art section.  

The main building of the museum is built from Kurla Basalt which was sourced locally and buff trachyte Malad stone. Spread over three floors, the building has an entrance boulevard that is crowned by the central dome. Smaller domes surround the main one while the interior is adorned with 18th - century style columns, railings and balconies. The mordernization of the building in 2008 included new spaces for the installation of five new galleries, a conservation studio, a visiting exhibition gallery and a seminar room, in the Museum. The museum also houses a library.

Tips For Visiting the museum

1. You have the option of taking audio guides which offer great information in English and seven other languages. 2. When you get tired, take rest at the fine cafeteria of the museum and shop at the museum shop.

Collection at the museum

Needless to say, the Prince of Wales museum houses a wide variety exhibits of natural importance. The museum preserves several artefacts hailing from various countries like India, Tibet, Nepal and other far eastern nations. A collection of 2000 rare miniature painting from various notable art schools in India is also showcased here. You will find ancient Indian art and sculpture on display in the sculpture gallery of the museum. Decorative artworks made from wood, metal, jade and ivory also adorns the museum collection. Rare archaeological artefacts dating back to the 'Indus Valley' civilisation in the 2000 B.C. and Remnants from the 'Maurya' as well as 'Gupta' periods are also exhibited at the centre. The 'Natural History' section of the museum houses several reptiles, mammals, amphibians, birds and fishes. The museum also includes a section that houses Indian arms and armour that displays an array of weapons, swords, shields in addition to other projectiles. Several European oil paintings also adorn the walls of the museum. Exhibitions and lectures on various topics are held inside the museum on regular basis as well.

How To Reach Prince of Wales Museum

The Museum is at a 20 - minute walking distance from both major local railway terminuses, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Central Railway) and Churchgate (Western Railway).Hiring an autorickshaw or taxi is one of the best options to reach the museum. Other than that buses are also available. Buses from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus include 14, 69, 101,130, while from Churchgate are 70, 106, 122, 123, 132, 137.

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