The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (thankfully often abbreviated to C.S.M.V.S. Museum) was my first port of call on a long overdue visit to Mumbai. In twenty visits to India, often flying in and out of Mumbai, I had never spent any time in the city itself. It felt really good to be finally correcting that fact.
The museum is one of the premier art and history museums in India. Situated on the southern tip of Mumbai on the ‘Crescent Site’, the Museum building is a fine example of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.
Today this building is listed as a Grade I Heritage Building and has been awarded the ‘2010 UNESCO Asia – Pacific Heritage Award’ for Cultural Heritage Conservation. It has also been awarded first place for Heritage Building Maintenance by the Indian Heritage Society.
1904 – August 14th
A group of prominent citizens gathered at the Town Hall and resolved to erect a museum building to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales.
1905 – November 11th
Foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales (later King George V), and the museum was named the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India.
Architect George Wittet (consulting architect to the government) was selected to design the building.
The building was completed, but was then immediately used by the military as a hospital during World War I, and for children’s welfare exhibitions.
1922 – January 10th – 5:15pm
The museum was finally opened to the public by Lady Lloyd, wife of the Governor of Bombay, Lord Lloyd.
There are multiple galleries spread across three floors, the original building now supplemented by an east wing extension.
What follows are photographs of my personal highlights from the museum. Clicking on any photo will allow you to view in a larger format. I have also annotated most of the photos with descriptions and dates for the objects.
Sculpture Gallery (Ground Floor)
Here’s a couple of shots of the interior of the building, it’s very much a case that this museum structure is itself a museum piece !
Miniature Painting Gallery (First Floor)
Krishna Gallery (First Floor)
Himalayan Art Gallery (First Floor)
These artifacts were just outside the Himalayan Art Gallery, but were not labelled. I still found them interesting nonetheless, please comment below if you are able to identify them !
Indian Textiles and Costumes Galley (Second Floor)
European Painting and Chinese/Japanese Gallery (Second Floor)
Pre and Proto History Gallery (Ground Floor)
It goes without saying, as with any major city museum, there’s a lot to see here. I spent about three hours in total and probably got to see around 70% of the entire collection on display.
If you’re planning a visit I would set aside at least half a day, by which time you’re likely to get the infamous “museum back” and need a bit of a rest anyway.
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