Mumbai, the chaotic metropolis, famous for its glamor, din and not to forget, its atrocious traffic and choking population, throbs with a rich historical legacy that remains unparalleled in its grandeur and stateliness. With gleaming skyscrapers, towering malls, escalating architectural and a glorious imperial heritage, this oceanfront city stands as a scrapbook of its old colonial relics. The hustle and bustle of modern Mumbai stands in a stark contrast to its historical repository that speaks volumes about its colonial legacy. Mumbai owns much of its historical heritage to the British government who bestowed this land with many artistic buildings, cultural heritages and magnificent museums. Right from century’s old gruesome battle to political scenes to heroic feats and more, all have left an indelible impression on the city’s heart that is echoed in the museums and in its collections here. A trip to these museums is thus the perfect way to delve deep into the rich history of Mumbai. Explore this article to know all about the finest and rarest historical souvenirs on the face of Mumbai.
Bombay Natural History Society
Bombay Natural History Society, located at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road in Mumbai, is apparently the largest non-governmental organization in India. Founded in 1883, this society houses a museum that boasts of replicas and rare specimens of vertebrates, insects, butterflies, beetles and embalmed reptiles. Tourists can obtain a temporary membership of the society, if they want to get access to the library, lectures and slide shows. If you want to visit the society then you will need to take prior permission. The society is open for your service from 10.00 am to 1.30 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm on all days.
Mani Bhavan Museum
Mani Bhavan Museum, also popular as Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, is a must visit place for all those who are curious to know about Mahatma Gandhi and his life. Located in Laburnam Road in Mumbai, the memorial is dedicated to legendary freedom fighter and the father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi. This is the building where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his stay in Mumbai from 1917 and 1934. It was from this building that Gandhi started his Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Non-Cooperation and Khadi movements. For the past fifty years, the building has served as a memorial of the Mahatma and it displays various aspects of Gandhi and his life through picture gallery, short film and a vast library.
Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Bhau Daji Lad Museum, also popular as Victoria and Albert Museum, is one of the oldest museums in Mumbai, situated amidst the picturesque Jijamata Udyan. This museum houses a wide assortment of archaeological relics, maps and pictures that offers a sneak peek into the history of Bombay. Apart from this, the museum also houses a historical library that has as many as 4000 books. The museum is open for your service on all days between 10.30 am to 4.30 pm except on public holidays.
National Gallery Of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art, located near Regal Cinemas at M.G. Road in Fort area, is a government organization that comes under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The gallery, popular for its displays on Modern Contemporary Art of India as well as other countries of the world, houses the paintings of noted painters like M.F Hussain and F.N. Souza. This art gallery also displays other favorites like Egyptian artifacts and a collection of Pablo Picasso's works. If you are somewhat of an art connoisseur, then a visit to this place is sure to delight you. You can visit this gallery from Tuesday to Sunday between 11 am to 5 pm.
National Maritime Museum
National Maritime Museum of Mumbai was set up by the Indian Navy to showcase the models of ships and historical treasures of India obtained from all over the world. This museum was set up in Mumbai as this was the only natural harbor, which handled nearly half of the country’s maritime trade. If you are interested to take a look at the stunning models of navy ships, then you can visit the place between 10 am to 6 pm.
RBI Monetary Museum
RBI Monetary Museum, which comes under Reserve Bank of India, is located at Amar building in Phirozeshah Mehta Road, Fort area. This amazing museum takes you down the numismatic history across different dynasties and rulers and expounds the concept of money and its affluence. This museum has a rich collection of coins and currencies, ranging from the ancient to medieval, Mughal, colonial, British, Independent India and more. Apart from these collections, this museum also gives the visitors an in-depth info on RBI and its role.
Jehangir Art Gallery
Jehangir Art Gallery, located at Kala Ghoda locality of Mumbai, has the finest display of art by the most famed artistes. Constructed in 1952, the building of the gallery is a beautiful mansion, managed by the Bombay Art Society. This modern venue serves as a well- known platform for the artists to display and sell their work. Jehangir Art Gallery gathers a lot of media attention every year and aspiring artistes wait for their turn to exhibit their works in this prestigious gallery. You can visit the gallery on any day of the week between 11 am to 7 pm.
Nehru Planetarium, situated on Dr. Annie Besant Road in Worli, was inaugurated by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on March 3, 1977. Within few years, Nehru Planetarium came to acquire a distinct identity and grew into a massive centre for study of astronomy and scientific lectures. Planetarium also houses a restaurant, library, art gallery and a cultural centre. Apart from this, the planetarium also has a movie hall, where visitors can enjoy various films on astronomy. You can visit the planetarium on any day between Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10.30 am to 5 pm.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum or Prince of Wales Museum, located at M.G. Road in South of Mumbai, is a great historical museum. Its said that the foundation stone for this building was laid down by George V, the Prince of Wales. Hence, the name Prince of Wales Museum. Earlier the building served as a military hospital for the victims of World War I, but was converted into museum in 1923. The museum houses three exclusive sections namely art, archaeology and natural history. Apart from its rarest collections, the museum is also popular for its Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The museum remains open for public from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm.
Asiatic Society Of Mumbai
The Asiatic Society of Mumbai in Town Hall near Fort area is famous for its milk white neo-classical building, wide steps and striking pillars. The society was founded in 1803 by Sir James Mackintosh, a distinguished lawyer and jurist. This library is a storehouse of thousands of rare books and manuscripts and includes the original manuscript of Dante's Divine Comedy. This magnificent library, which has featured as Bombay High Court in many Bollywood films, is wadded with stone staircases, cozy alcoves and life-size statues of British-era governors, officials and altruists, making this place a visual treat for the eyes.