During travels to Mumbai, I often bring Meera to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum), a few minutes walk from our house. Meera enjoys chasing butterflies in the gardens and running around the spacious interiors. (See also Mumbai’s new Terminal T2 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.)
She is invariably awed by the stone sculptures of cows, horses or lions, and loves the Natural History wing. She gets to see animals (stuffed) she only has seen in pictures. She loves the ducks (badak), parrots (popat), turtles (her favorite) and the huge whale hanging from the ceiling. Wild animals scare her. Safely tucked between my legs, she points and whispers, bhalu ( bears), rhinoson (rhinoceros), tigherrr, lion and cheetah. Love taking her there.
See Meera visiting:
Some of my favorites include the many sculptures placed in verandahs, where they can be enjoyed in natural light. But, my blood curdles at the destruction wrought on beautiful pieces by the barbarian Christian and Muslim occupiers. See, what was a beautiful Vishnu as Seshashayani, reclining on the serpent.
Here it is in the verandah.
The stone sculptures galleries have more evidence of christian and muslim atrocities (see gallery below). Heh, this frieze of Vishnu reclining on the serpent survived the barbarians.
There are so many more beautiful masterpieces in this museum, including the exquisite Krishna art, the Maratha and Mughal weapons, the Indus civilization exhibit and too many others to recount. I hope I have tempted you to visit this gem of our heritage, right in the heart of Mumbai. If not for the art, it’s a great place to escape from the madness of the city for a few hours. See this beautiful outdoor exhibit on the grounds, The Earth is an Egg.
Times and fees.