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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular museums and art galleries in Mumbai?

Shikha Gautam DEC 10 2012
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It may appear that the film industry has long defined Mumbai, giving it an air of surreality and larger than life persona. However, it doesn’t spill out in the city’s street as much as you would expect it to. Mumbai, for all its razzle dazzle, is as old and heritage rooted as they come. The enchanting storied history of this city is best revealed at its museums and galleries. Some of the museums and galleries to explore are:

  • Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum

    Base for much of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle during the period of 1917-1934, this 2 storeyed structure has been witness to the fiery yet peace ingrained, patriotic passions that ignited the Non-cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat movements. A memorial to Gandhiji, his statue in the library of the museum begins the tribute, with the winding staircase lined with photographs from his life leading upto the first floor wherethe photo journey through Gandhiji’s life continues. The second floor is where he stayed and here you can see his charkhas (spinning wheels), books and flower bed. The museum has played host to Martin Luther King in 1950 and more recently in 2010, to Barrack Obama.

  • Prince of Wales Museum

Built in 1915 to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales and designed into existence by George Wittet, also the designer of Gateway of India, the museum is an architectural blend of western and Indo-Saracenic style, which in itself draws elements of native
Indo-Islamic and Indian architecture, and combines it with the Gothic revival and Neo-Classical styles favoured in Victorian Britain. The building in and of itself is an amazing display of different architectural styles of eras gone by. Even if you are not a history buff, the museums collections, some 50,000 artifacts divided between art, archaeology and natural history, will have you captivated for hours. And if you are a historian, budding or connoisseur, you are in for a treat. Meander through the art section where you can see the Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari and Deccani art creations. Be sure to explore the archaeology section where palm leaf manuscripts from 11th and 12th century are preserved, including manuscripts from Akbar’s studio and a 17th century manuscript  from Mewar of Hindu epic Ramayana. With much to see, it might be a good idea to avail of the audio guide that highlights Curator’s Choice exhibits. Though renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahlaya, it is still known more popularly by its original name.

  • Jehangir Art Gallery

    With a past linked to the renaissance in Indian art, Jehangir Art gallery, founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir, today is Mumbai’s chief contemporary art gallery. With a large number of artists from across the country making a beeline for it, the gallery provides the perfect canvas for the display of varied art creations. The gallery with its 2 main wings, each with its specialist gallery area, is a veritable revolving door of  artists, both up and coming and well established. For viewing some of India’s best contemporary works head upstairs to Gallery Chemould, a tiny, history-filled gallery.
    The gallery is open daily from 11 am to 7 pm daily and the entry is free here.

    Address: M.G. Rd.
    Kala Ghoda Fort

  • National Gallery of Modern Art

Built in 1911 by George Wittet, Gateway and Prince of Wales museum architect, this stately, classical building was once the Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall. where the halls flowed with the music of
violinist Yehudi Menuhin and echoed with the passionate cries for independence by the rallies of Mahatma Gandhi. Located across the street from Prince of Wales Museum, today, you will find here modern Indian art on display spread across the four floors. Converted to a National art gallery in 1996, it frequently hosts various exhibitions and art collections of famous artists and civilizations. Explore this quiet, serene museum and you eventually come across works of Pablo Picasso and Amrita Shergill. A must see for art lovers, the egyptian artefacts including mummies, make the museum well worth the visit for history buffs as well.

Wander through the cultural  of Mumbai and a very different world will reveal itself to you; one where the Mauryan dynasty, Mughal, Portuguese, British and Gandhiji existed in equal measures.

Bhushavali Natarajan Apr 15 2013
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