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Prince Of Wales Museum

Founded in the early 20th century to honor the visit of the then Prince of Wales, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, previously known as the Prince of Wales Museum, is located in the heart of Mumbai. It is regarded as one of the most exclusive art and history museums in India. The heritage building is a premier model of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture housing over 50,000 world-class collections of art objects.


Way back in 1904, it was decided by some prominent citizens of Bombay to provide a museum in order to commemorate and honor the royal visit of King George.

Accordingly, on 11th November 1905, the Prince of Wales Museum laid its foundation stone. In 1907, the government of Bombay, present Mumbai, granted a piece of land named Crescent Site to the museum committee.

This esteemed museum was designed by the famous architect George Wittet and finally erected in 1915. During Second World War, this building was used as a Military Hospital as well as Children’s Welfare Center and handed over to its committee in 1920.

Inauguration of the museum took place in 1922 by Lady Lloyd, wife of George Lloyd, Governor of Bombay. This museum building was given the special honor of a Heritage Building of Mumbai in 1990. Eventually, in 1995, the Museum building was renamed after the name Shivaji, the great founder and monarch of the Maratha Empire.

Features of Prince of Wales Museum

  • The museum is built based on Western Indian and Indo-Saracenic approach of architecture, integrated with the splendid structure design collections from the period of Maratha, Mughal as well as Jain.
  • The building houses over 50,000 brilliant exhibits of ancient historical period of India and segregated in three distinct sections including Art, Natural History and Art.
  • The museum exhibits exclusive architecture of Mesopotamia and Indus Valley Civilization while the ruins from the period of the Gupta, Rashtrakuta and Chalukyas are also found.
  • This three-storied museum building is rectangular in structure and built out of kurla and basalt stone. The interior of the museum building incorporates the protrude balconies, columns and railings, inspired by the architectures of the Mughal palace.
  • Many balconies are made in Jain style whilst concept of 18th century’s Wada, a type of Maratha mansion, styles are also brought in the interior columns at the core pavilion under Maratha balcony.
  • The garden of the Museum is beautified and richly adorned with scenic flowerbeds, palm trees and shrubbery. A number of prominent and striking ceramic arts, sculpture and carvings also ornate the place. 
  • The armory is situated in a wide gallery on its second floor, which includes great collections of draggers, swords and shields as well as armor. In this gallery, one of the great attractions is the collection of the kanda of Allauddin Khilji and Akbar's shield and cuirass from 1593 AD.
  • There is a lift here for disabled visitors and senior citizens. The lift is located in the annex wing of this Museum building.
  • Wheelchairs are also available at the Museum entrance near the Key Gallery. Visitors can request for wheelchairs at the Information Desk upon arrival.
  • The collections of this museum are displayed on three floors. The ground part houses extraordinary collections of Indian sculptures of the 2nd century along with incredible carvings having Egyptian influences.
  • With a huge Natural History section, the first floor of this house boasts of a comprehensive collection of Indian minuscule paintings, decorative sculptures and statutes made of ivory, bronze and jewelry with immense anthology from Nepal as well as Tibet.
  • The second floor has an extensive collection of far-eastern art along with wonderful showpieces of Chinese and Japanese pots, plates and furniture. Apart from its armory section, two wings exhibits brilliant range of European paintings.
  • The museum offers an exclusive audio tour in six different languages to visitors.

The Exhibits

The art section of this museum exhibits great collections of Sir Purushottom Mavji, Sir Ratan Tata as well as Droab Tata. These were all donated to the museum in the years 1915, 1921 as well 1933 respectively.

The miniature collection of the museum covers elegant representations from all major schools of Indian painting such as Mughal, Pahari, Decanni and Rajasthani. The section shows amazing palm leaf manuscripts from the 11th to 12th centuries along with collections of Pahari paintings of early 19th century and canvases from Sultanate periods.

Among the manuscripts here are collections of Anwar-Suhayli from Mughal emperor Akbar’s court and manuscripts of 17th Century Ramayana, the Hindu epic, found from Mewar.

The ivory segment has artifacts from Gupta era while it displays decorative work of art in ivory, gold, Mughal jades and arty metal ware. There are collections of European paintings, Japanese and Chinese porcelain, ivory as well jade artifacts. The museum has an exclusive section dedicated for armor from Nepali and Tibetan arts. The archeological section has been quite consolidated after transition of numerous ancient coins and sculptures from Pune Museum by Royal Asiatic Society.

The Indus Valley Civilization gallery has fishing hooks, ornaments, weapons and measures of this period 2600-1900 BCE. Wonderful art collections out of the excavation of Mirpurkhas along with Buddhist stupa are also here. The sculpture collection includes terracotta figures from Gupta, Mirpurkhas of Sind, Chulukyan era and Rashkuta period.

The Natural History section incorporates habitat groups to illustrate Indian wildlife. In 2008, a new gallery has been added named Krishna Gallery, which is completely dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna, the preserver-god Vishnu.

Other Recreations 

With the stainless-steel multifaceted auditorium, cafe and memento shops, the museum house is quite comprehensive and attractive. The committee makes arrangements for both national and international exhibitions while workshops for children and fantastic events in dance, music, dance and contemporary art are also organized. Located in Colaba, The Cowasji Jehangir Hall is another great museum to experience the modern art. This is another contribution of the great architect George Wittet and founded by Cowasji Jehangir in 1911.

The famed David Sassoon Library is one more heritage place situated near the Prince of Wales Museum. This centrally-located library was a concept of Albert Sassoon, son of the well-known Baghdadi Jewish humanitarian David Sassoon. This was designed by prominent architects J. Campbell and Scott McClelland at a costing of Rs. 1,25,000 during the period of Bombay Presidency. 

At Café Moshe one can enjoy biting into fresh Sandwiches and aromatic coffee. This urban as well peppy café offers delicious foods, baked food items along with excellent salads. The restaurant has stylish seating arrangements and an admirable relaxation place.

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