Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Alibag
About Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
In 1904, some leading citizens of Bombay decided to provide a museum to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales, the future King George V. On 14 August 1905, the committee passed a resolution saying: "The museum building embodies the pomp and height at which the British raj was moving ahead with their ambitious plans, in building the great metropolis Bombay". "In keeping pace with the best style of local architecture, many buildings were built, among which, Bombay High Court building, and later, Gateway of India buildings were the most notable ones". The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales on 11 November 1905 and the museum was formally named "Prince of Wales Museum of Western India". On 1 March 1907, the government of the Bombay Presidency granted the museum committee a piece of land called the "Crescent Site", where the museum now stands. Following an open design competition, in 1909 the architect George Wittet was commissioned to design the Museum building. Wittet had already worked on the design of the General Post Office and in 1911 would design one of Mumbai's most famous landmarks, the Gateway of India.The museum was funded by the Royal Visit (1905) Memorial Funds. Additionally, the Government and the Municipality granted Rs. 300,000 and Rs. 250,000 respectively. Sir Currimbhoy Ibrahim (first Baronet) donated another Rs. 300,000 and Sir Cowasji Jehangir gave Rs. 50,000. The Museum was established under Bombay Act No. III of 1909. The museum is now maintained by annual grants from the Government and the Bombay Municipal Corporation. The latter pays for these grants from the interest accruing on the funds at the disposal of the Trust of the Museum. The museum building was completed in 1915, but was used as a Children's Welfare Centre and a Military Hospital during the First World War, before being handed over to the committee in 1920. The Prince of Wales Museum was inaugurated on 10 January 1922, by Lady Lloyd, the wife of George Lloyd, Governor of Bombay.The museum building is a Grade I Heritage Building of the city and was awarded first prize (Urban Heritage Award) by the Bombay Chapter of the Indian Heritage Society for heritage building maintenance in 1990. In 1998 the Museum was renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya after the warrior king and founder of the Maratha Empire, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The museum was renamed after the renaming of the city in 1995, when the colonial name "Bombay" was replaced by the native "Mumbai".
The museum building is situated in 3 acres (12,000 m2) area, having a built up area of 12,142.23m sq. It is surrounded by a garden of palm trees and formal flower beds.The museum building, built of locally quarried grey Kurla basalt and buff coloured trachyte Malad stone. It is a three-storied rectangular structure, capped by a dome set upon a base, which adds an additional storey in the centre of the building. Built in the Western Indian and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the building accommodates a central entrance porch, above which rises a dome, tilled and modified well "tiled in white and blue flecks, supported on a lotus - petal base". A cluster of pinnacles, topped with miniature domes surround the central dome. The building incorporates features like Islamic dome with a finial along with protruding balconies and inlaid floors, inspired by Mughal palace architecture. The architect, George Wittet, modeled the dome on that of Golconda Fort and the inner vaulting arches on those at the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur. The interior of the museum combines the columns, railings and balcony of an 18th-century Wada (a Maratha mansion) with Jain style interior columns, which form the main body of the central pavilion below the Maratha balcony.In its recent modernization programme (2008), the museum created 30,000 sq ft (2,800 m2) space for installation of five new galleries, a conservation studio, a visiting exhibition gallery and a seminar room, in the East Wing of the Museum. The museum also houses a library.