A historic architecture that documents the history of India from the prehistoric to current times, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya or Museum is a major sight to take a deep dive into the world of history and arts. Located in the dream city of Mumbai in Maharashtra, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya is one of the greatest historical architectures and a monument of identification. Formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, it is one of the important museums in the country that houses artifacts from the pre-historic era and particularly explores art and history in a comprehensive manner. With an overwhelming number of exhibits that is more than 50,000, the galleries in this museum will certainly keep you occupied and fascinated for hours.
The museum was established in 1922 to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales to Bombay (now Mumbai). It was renamed in 1998 in honor of the Maratha king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The museum has several galleries, including the Indus Valley Civilization gallery, the Buddhist gallery, the Hindu sculpture gallery, the European painting gallery, the Indian textile gallery, etc., with exhibits such as sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, decorative arts, and natural history specimens.
The museum also has a library, which contains over 40,000 books and journals on various subjects, including art, history, and culture. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya is a popular tourist attraction in Mumbai and attracts visitors from all over the world. It is open every day except on national holidays.
Entry Fees: Ranges from Rs20 to Rs650 and varies from Indian adults, foreigners, children, students, senior citizens, and groups.
Camera and Mobile Phone – INR100, Camera with Tripod – INR5000.
Established in the early 1900s, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya is one of the foremost cultural and historical institutions in India. The idea of this monumental architecture was conceived on 14th August, 1905, when some prominent citizens of Bombay who were known for the outstanding contribution in their fields and the development of the island of Bombay, gathered at Town Hall and decided to erect a Memorial to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales. The foundation stone for the museum was laid by Prince of Wales on 11th November, 1905 and was named after him as well. The museum was made to represent the culture and heritage of Maharashtra and whole of India.
The memorial in the form of a museum was sorted to be constructed on a plot of land known as the ‘Crescent Site’ towards the southern tip of the island. The construction got completed in 1914 but the museum was opened to public later in January 1922. Before that it was used as a hospital and for Children’s Welfare Exhibition by the military.
There have been several changes and developments to the city and the museum since then. Bombay is now known as Mumbai and the name Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is now changed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya. Overlooking a well laid out and manicured garden which preserves its original structure till date, the museum is a significant heritage building of not only Mumbai but of India as well.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) is a Grade I Heritage Building of the city and is set against a well laid out garden which retains its original plan. It is considered one of the premier museums in India and is known for its vast collection of art, artifacts, and natural history specimens.
The museum building itself is a stunning example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, which combines elements of Indian, Islamic, and European architectural styles. It was designed by British architect George Wittet who was selected after an open competition in 1909 and the building got completed in 1922. The main entrance of the museum is marked by a large dome that rises above the surrounding buildings. The dome is supported by four stone pillars, each decorated with intricate carvings. The façade of the building is adorned with a variety of decorative elements, including intricate carvings, arches, and minarets. Small jalis for light and wind enhance the grandeur of the building. The dome of the structure is designed after the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur and the finial is copied from the Taj Mahal.
Inside the museum, visitors can explore a variety of galleries and exhibitions, including those dedicated to Indian art, ancient history, natural history, and more. One of the most popular exhibits is the Museum of Miniatures, which features a collection of miniature paintings from across India. Overall, the architecture of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is a beautiful example of the fusion of different architectural styles and reflects the diverse cultural heritage of India.
Indus Valley Civilization Gallery: This gallery showcases artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the earliest civilizations in the world. The exhibit includes pottery, seals, terracotta figurines, and jewelry, providing insight into the life and culture of the ancient civilization.
Natural History Section: This gallery displays specimens of plants, animals, and fossils. It has a diverse collection of flora and fauna, including taxidermy mounts of animals, skeletons, and preserved specimens of reptiles, insects, and birds.
People of India Gallery: This gallery showcases the diverse cultural heritage of India. It features exhibits of traditional costumes, jewelry, and everyday objects used by different communities across the country.
Sculpture Gallery: This gallery displays sculptures from different periods of Indian history, from the Maurya and Gupta periods to the medieval and modern eras. The exhibit includes bronze, stone, and wooden sculptures of gods, goddesses, and mythological figures.
Miniature Paintings Gallery: This gallery showcases miniature paintings from different regions of India, including Rajasthani, Mughal, and Deccan styles. The paintings depict scenes from Hindu mythology, Mughal courts, and everyday life in medieval India.
Decorative Arts Gallery: This gallery displays decorative arts such as furniture, ceramics, and glassware from different periods of European history.
Himalayan Art Gallery: This gallery showcases art and artifacts from the Himalayan region, including paintings, sculptures, and religious objects.
European Paintings Gallery: This gallery displays paintings from the 17th to the 19th centuries by European artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, and Gainsborough.
Western Applied Art Gallery: This gallery showcases decorative arts and crafts from the Western world, including textiles, ceramics, and metalwork.
Textile Gallery: This gallery displays textiles from different parts of India, including silk, cotton, and wool fabrics. The exhibit includes embroidered garments, tapestries, and saris.
Prints and Drawings Gallery: This gallery showcases prints and drawings from different periods of European history, including works by famous artists such as Durer, Van Gogh, and Picasso.
Numismatics and Epigraphy Gallery: This gallery displays coins, medals, and inscriptions from different periods of Indian history, providing insights into the economic and political systems of the past.
Arms and Armor Gallery: This gallery showcases weapons and armor from different periods of Indian history, including swords, shields, and guns.
Far Eastern Art Gallery: This gallery showcases art and artifacts from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, including ceramics, lacquerware, and sculptures.
Pre-Columbian and Western Arts Gallery: This gallery displays art and artifacts from the Pre-Columbian civilizations of Central and South America, as well as decorative arts and crafts from Europe and America.
Special Exhibition Gallery: This gallery hosts temporary exhibitions that showcase specific themes, artists, or collections. The exhibits change periodically, providing visitors with new experiences and insights into different aspects of art and culture.
Events in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya
Exhibitions: Art exhibitions, photo exhibitions, and other types of exhibitions are popular events at the museum. These exhibitions showcase the works of renowned artists and photographers and provide visitors with an opportunity to view and appreciate their work.
Workshops: The museum offers a variety of workshops for children and adults. These workshops may include art and craft workshops, pottery workshops, and other creative activities that allow visitors to learn new skills and techniques.
Talks and Lectures: The museum hosts talks and lectures by scholars, artists, and experts on a range of topics related to art, history, and culture. These talks provide visitors with insights into the exhibits and help them understand the historical and cultural significance of the artifacts.
Festivals and Celebrations: The museum celebrates festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and Christmas by hosting special events and exhibitions. These events include traditional performances, music and dance shows, and food festivals.
Guided Tours: The museum offers guided tours of its exhibits, which are conducted by trained guides. These tours provide visitors with a comprehensive overview of the exhibits and help them appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the artifacts.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya offers different other kinds of events and activities forvisitors of all ages and interests such as fundraising events, book launches, competitions, music performances, etc. Be sure to check the museum's website for a list of upcoming events.
Things to Do
Try your hands at some block printing and learn the techniques of applique in the Indian Textile and Costume Gallery.
Along with admiring the ancient coins in India, you can now make your own coin at the Coin Gallery.
At the Prints Gallery, you can participate in a print-making demo after you have watched all the exhibits.
Admire the swords and shields at the Arms and Armors Gallery and the fine tableware at the European Decorative Art Gallery.
Craft digital miniatures at the Indian Miniature Painting Gallery.
Study the influence of Buddhism on Indian culture and the creation of idols at the Himalayan Art Gallery.
If you are a creative person or want to be involved in the workings of the museum, you can write to the director of the museum and take permission to volunteer for creating exhibits, conservation, education, leisure, and cultural programs.
Gateway of India: This iconic monument is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911.
Marine Drive: This scenic boulevard, also known as the Queen's Necklace, is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It is a popular spot for evening walks and offers a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.
Crawford Market: This historic market is just a 15-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its fresh produce, spices, and souvenirs.
Haji Ali Dargah: This famous Islamic shrine is just a 20-minute drive from the museum. It is located on a small island off the coast of Mumbai and is accessible by a causeway.
Elephanta Caves: These ancient rock-cut caves are located on an island in Mumbai Harbour and can be reached by a ferry ride from the Gateway of India. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and feature intricate sculptures and carvings.
Chor Bazaar: This bustling market, known for its antiques and second-hand goods, is just a 20-minute drive from the museum.
Jehangir Art Gallery: This renowned art gallery is in South Mumbai and is a 15-minute drive from the museum. It showcases contemporary Indian art and hosts several exhibitions throughout the year.
Colaba Causeway: This vibrant shopping street is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its trendy fashion boutiques, street food, and handicrafts.
Khyber: This restaurant, located in Fort, is just a 10-minute drive from the museum and serves North Indian and Mughlai cuisine. It is known for its delicious kebabs and curries.
Bademiya: This famous street food joint, located in Colaba, is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its kebabs, rolls, and biryanis.
Trishna: This seafood restaurant, located in Fort, is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its butter garlic crab and prawn koliwada.
Le Pain Quotidien: This cafe, located in Colaba, is just a 5-minute walk from the museum. It serves freshly baked bread, pastries, salads, and sandwiches.
Cafe Mondegar: This iconic cafe, located in Colaba, is just a 10-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its burgers, pizzas, and milkshakes, as well as its quirky decor featuring murals by Mario Miranda.
Britannia & Co: This Parsi restaurant, located in Ballard Estate, is just a 15-minute drive from the museum. It is known for its berry pulao, dhansak, and caramel custard.
How to Reach
By train: The nearest railway station to the museum is Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), which is a major railway station in Mumbai. From CST, you can take a taxi or bus to reach the museum.
By bus: Mumbai has a well-developed bus network and there are several bus routes that pass by the museum. You can take a bus to the museum from various parts of the city.
By taxi or auto-rickshaw: Taxis and auto-rickshaws are easily available in Mumbai, and you can hire one to reach the museum.
By metro: Mumbai also has a metro rail network and the nearest metro station to the museum is Hutatma Chowk on Line 1.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Who is the owner of Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Museum Mumbai?
The museum is owned by the government of India.
What is the ticket price for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya?
The ticket price ranges from INR30 to INR650 and is different for children, adults, and foreign citizens.
What kind of exhibits are showcased in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Vastu Sangrahalaya?
The CSMVS houses about 70,000 antiquities which are divided into three categories – Arts, Archaeology, and Natural History.
What is the timing of CSMVS?
The museum is open everyday from 10:15am to 6pm. However, the ticket counter closes at 5:45pm, so plan accordingly.