Victoria Terminus, a former name for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, is a modern railway station in the bustling capital city of the western state of India, Maharashtra. The marvellous structure is an awesome illustration of the Victorian-Gothic style of architecture in India. In fact, the railway station, which still functions as usual, is declared as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO. The station is always bustling with the sounds of the metro city and the locals. It could be noise and crowd for many, but some still manage to find lively colours and music in the ever so busy Victoria Terminus. It is one of the most famous historical landmarks in the country that symbolises the pre-independence India.
The Victoria Terminus, now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (SCT) is built on a piece of land which, at that time, served as a warehouse to store goods that were either exported from or imported to Mumbai. It was only in 1853 that a railway station was built and was referred to as the Bori Bandar Railway Station. The first ever passenger train that operated in India was from Bori Bandar to Thane in 1853. In 1878, it was decided that the railway station will be rebuilt as Victoria Terminus to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the Bori Bandar Railway station was officially known as Victoria Terminus in 1887.
The terminus was designed by a British architect with the name F.W. Stevens who created an eclectic melange of Indian and British Architecture in his designs. The terminus was a major hub of mercantile activities and was named after Queen Victoria who ruled India during that period. It took ten years to complete the construction of the structure and cost over 260,000 Sterling Pounds. With this expenditure, it was known as the most expensive structure in the city of Mumbai.
In 1996, the Minister of Railways renamed it as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and is coded as CSMT or CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus). Mumbai also witnessed a terrorist attack in 2008 and CST was on the hit list. As time passed by, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus stood the tests of time for over 130 years and continues to be the lifeline of Mumbai.
The core of the architecture of Victoria Terminus is Victorian Gothic Style of Architecture. It is a perfect illustration of the beautiful amalgamation of Indian Architecture and the Victorian Italianate Gothic Architecture. One can notice the influence of Indian Architecture in the skyline, the intricately carved arches the ground plan and the turrets. Some of the work on the structure was done by the Students of Jamsetji Jeejebhoy School of Art. They mainly worked their magic on the tiles, the ornamental metal railings, wood carvings and grills.
The central dome adorns dovetail ribs and has a platform that is 330 feet long that is connected to rain shed that about 1200 feet long. The interior consists of numerous spacious rooms that have high ceilings. The focal point of the entire structure is the high central dome. It is octagonal and has a ribbed structure with a figure of a female holding a torch in her right hand and a wheel with spokes in her left. The courtyard is enclosed by side wings which are anchored by turrets on each corner. This also balances and frames the central dome.
The exterior consists of numerous windows and arches. The entrance has figures of a lion, and a tiger that represents Britain and India respectively and the entire structure is made of Sandstone, Limestone and Italian Marble. The structure houses about 18 platforms, out of which, 11 are for intercity trains, and 8 are for suburban trains. There are air-conditioned dormitories also available at the terminus that has about 20 beds for women and 58 beds for men.
The best time to visit Victoria Terminus is between October and February as the weather is a little pleasant in the otherwise hot and humid conditions of the city.
One can take a train from Suburban or Central Railway Stations to reach Victoria Terminus as almost every train stops here.
By road, one can take NH2, NH 3, NH4, NH8, NH17 or NH222 to reach the terminus.
Within Mumbai, one can avail BEST buses, auto-rickshaws or taxis to reach CST.
1. Visitors can choose to visit the Victoria Terminus on Republic Day 26th of January to see the marvellous structure lit in the tricolours of the Indian Flag.
2. The crowd could be overwhelming. Commuters/ visitors need to protect their belongings.
3. Visitors can avoid peak hours to explore the structure and get capture some frames of the magnificent work of architecture.
3 months ago by Arun Bhardwaj
For the average mumbaikar this is just another railway station. For the tourist it stands as a majestic reminder of Mumbai's British era importance
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