Mumbai's Chhatrapati museum gets a rare recognition

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. (Photo: CSMVS website)

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, one of the best museums in India, has received the highest 'Platinum' rating from the Indian Green Building Council.

The museum was formally known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India - and in 1998, it came to named after the legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

"We're starting the New Year on such a positive note. We are the first museum in the world located in a heritage building in a heritage precinct to achieve such a distinction," the museum posted on its social media platform. The museum is located a little distance away from the Gateway of India. 

It is a Grade I Heritage Building of Mumbai and is set in a well-laid-out garden retaining its original plan. 
The architect of the building, George Wittet, was selected after an open competition in 1909. Wittet is known for the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture of which this museum is one of the best examples. 

The Indo-Saracenic style combines Hindu and Saracenic architectural forms, at times incorporating some elements of Western architecture. The Indian pillared hall, the arched pavilion, the dome rising above the huge intersecting arches forming a beautiful geometrical pattern-all these together make the Museum building a typical example of the Indo-Saracenic style. Small 'jalis' for light and wind add to the grandeur of the building. 

George Wittet skillfully incorporated the original wooden arched pavilion purchased from a royal house (wada) in Nasik, Maharashtra as a circular railing on the first floor of the building. 
The dome of this building is designed after the Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur and the finial is copied from the Taj Mahal at Agra.

Today, CSMVS houses about 50,000 artefacts and has an outstanding collection comprising sculptures, terracotta and bronze objects, excavated artefacts from the Harappan sites, Indian miniature paintings, European paintings, porcelain and ivory from China and Japan, etc. Besides these, the Museum has a separate Natural History section too.

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