Prince of Wales Museum was established by the prominent persons of Bombay with the support of the government during the 20th century, to celebrate the arrival of the then Prince of Wales. This wonderful museum is situated in the middle of South Mumbai besides the Gateway of India. The museum was renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in the 1990s or early 2000s after Shivaji, the great king and founder of the Maratha Empire.
One can observe the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture here, which has associated with various other architecture styles like Maratha, Mughal and Jain. Prince of Wales Museum has a huge collection of artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization and relics from the period of the Guptas, the Rashtrakutas and Chalukyas of ancient India.
The collections of this museum have been categorized mainly into Archaeology, Natural History and Art, which includes around 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history as well as objects from foreign countries.
History of Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum was inaugurated in the year 1922. The historical background of this museum related to the visit of King George V to India. The idea to build a museum to commemorate and honor the King George V actually came from the minds of some of the citizens of old Mumbai. The planning for building this museum started in the year of 1904 and the foundation stone was laid by the honorable Prince of Wales in the year 1905.
The construction started with a strip of land, granted by the Bombay government in the year 1907. George Wittet, a prominent architect was the designer of the Prince of Wales Museum and the construction was finished in the year 1915. During the World War I, this museum was also used as Children's Welfare Center as well as a military hospital.
Architecture of Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum building is considered as one of the best examples for the British Raj era monuments in Mumbai. One can observe a mix of architectural designs from different centuries (mostly 15th to 16th centuries) at this architectural wonder. It includes the English brickwork in addition to Gujarati and Islamic design. There is an impressive Mughal white dome of this building to add up the splendor to its appearance.
Artifacts at Prince of Wales Museum
There are innumerable kinds of artifacts preserved in this museum, which includes arts from Tibet, India, Nepal and other countries. A collection of 2000 rare miniature paintings from many famous art schools from India keeps the museum a paradise for art lovers.
Along with the modern art, this museum maintains a huge collection of rare archeological artifacts and remnants of the Indus Valley civilization, Maurya and Gupta periods.
People may get much valuable information from the 'Natural History' section of the museum, which includes a collection of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and birds.
Like most of other museums in the country, the Museum also maintains a section to display an array of swords, weapons, shields in addition to other projectiles.
New Galleries Added to Prince of Wales Museum
Recently the first textile gallery in Mumbai was opened here and this gallery will display various techniques of textile manufacturing, traditional Indian costumes and regional collections. In October 2008, the museum was added up with one more gallery called, "Krishna gallery", which consists of artworks related to the Hindu god, Krishna.
Facilities at Prince of Wales Museum
The museum management is trying to make visitors more comfortable under its Universal Accessibility program. Lift services are available for the disabled visitors and senior citizens. If the visitors are thirsty or hungry, they would never be disappointed with the servings from the Museum cafe, which offers a variety of delicious snacks and beverages.
Getting there to Prince of Wales Museum
The Prince of Wales Museum is situated just a 20-minute walking distance from two major local railway terminus's in Mumbai, Churchgate (Western Railway) and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Central Railway). Visitors can get a bus or taxi from the nearest railway stations to reach the Museum.
Shopping at Prince of Wales Museum
Visitors can be a part of the big contribution towards the promotion of Indian culture via buying different art materials. Find the collection of a wide range of books published by the museum and also by other publishers.
The shops at Prince of Wales Museum carries a huge collection of articles such as posters, greeting cards, brochures, letter-paper sets, folders and bags inspired by design or details of the artifacts from the collection of the Museum.