University Buildings Mumbai

Like most of the important buildings in Mumbai the University Building too has splendid architecture and is worth visiting. Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Ready Money founded the University. Sir George Gilbert Scott designed the structure of the University. The first two structures that were designed by Sir Scott are named after Sir Jehangir. The building was completed in 1874. The building has an ornate and highly decorative French Gothic style. The main building has a turrets and gabled roof with a large circular window and its outer windows originally had twelve stained glass skylights, depicting the signs of the zodiac. Another striking feature of the University Campus is the clock tower or Rajbai Tower.

The Rajabai Tower was built in the 19th century Gothic style in the university garden. The clock tower is 280 feet high and commands a great view of the city. The university library is housed in the tower. The Rajabai Tower in located in the Fort campus area of the University. This tower was build by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was an English architect and the design of the tower was based on the Big Ben. Work on the tower began on 1st march 1869 and was completed in November 1878. The cost of the tower was borne by Premchand Roychand a prosperous broker who founded the Bombay Stock Exchange. He laid down a condition that the tower should be named Rajabai, after his mother. The tower has some of the best stained glass windows in the city. The style of architecture used to build the tower is a blend of the Venetian and Gothic styles. The tower was constructed at a cost of Rs.2 lakhs, which was an enormous sum of money in those days. Local buff colored Kurla stones were used to build the tower. Initially the tower was open to the public, but was closed after it became a haunt for those attempting to commit suicide.

The ground floor has two side rooms. The tower forms a carriage porch and a spiral staircase vestibule. The tower over the carriage porch has a square form up to the gallery at the top of the first level, which is at a height of 68 feet from the ground. The shape of the tower changes from square to an octagon and the height from this gallery to the top of the tower is 118 feet and the third stage to the top of the finial is 94 feet, making the total height of the tower 280 feet.

The Rajabai clock tower chimes once every 15 minutes. During the British period some of the tuned that the clock played included “Rule Britannia”, “God Save the King” and “A Handel Symphony” out of a total of 16 tunes that changed four times a day. Today the clock plays only one tune every 15 minutes.

Museums In Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay (Prince of Wales Museum)
The Prince of Wales Museum now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay in Mumbai, was set up in the beginning of the 20th century, by some important citizens of Bombay with the help of the government, to honour the visit of King George V’s visit to India, while he was still the Prince of Wales. The museum is located in the middle of South Mumbai close to the Gateway of India. The Museum building is considered one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in Mumbai. There was an open competition to design the building of the museum. George Wittet was hired to design the building in 1909. The design used is the Indo-Saracenic style and has an imposing dome in the 15th -16th century western Indian style. The other buildings in Mumbai built by George Wittet include the General Post Office, which he built along with John Begg, the Court of Small Causes and the splendid Gateway of India. There is no doubt that this museum in Mumbai is one of the best museums in India. It has three main sections: Art, Archaeology and Natural History. The museum has an excellent collection of rare and ancient exhibits of Indian history and many interesting artifacts from foreign countries. It also has artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization and relics from the Gupta and Mauraya periods. The museum is known for its collection of miniature paintings. The Museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday between 10.30 am and 6 pm.

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (Victoria & Albert Museum)
In the heart of the city are the Victoria Gardens, now renamed as the Rani Jijamata Udyan (Rani Bagh). This garden was laid out in 1861. The Bombay Zoo is also on the premises of the garden. Located in the Victoria Gardens is the Victoria and Albert Museum, now renamed Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. The museum has articles that relate mainly industrial and agricultural interest. On display are the archaeological finds, maps and photographs connected with the history of Mumbai. On the east hand side of the gardens that surrounds the museum, is a huge statute of an elephant that was brought from Elephanta Caves. What is ironically about the present name of the museum is that Dr. Bhau Daji Lad, after whom it is presently named, was the person who suggested the original name “Victoria and Albert Museum”. Dr. Lad devoted his life to this museum and it is in his honor that the museum bears his name. The museum is open to the public on all days expect some important public holidays from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Bombay Natural History Society
The Bombay Natural History Society was founded in 1883, in order to discuss observations on natural history and for exhibiting interesting specimens. Today the BNHS is the biggest non-governmental organization in India undertaking conservation of nature and natural resources, education and research in natural history. The BNHS has more than 30 member countries. The Society’s leading principle has been conservation based on scientific research. The Society is adjacent to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vaastu Sangrahalay. Nature lovers have been donating their prized specimens for more than a century now. The Society has a good collection of beetles, butterflies and embalmed reptiles. If you are interested you can become a temporary member of the Society for the duration of your stay in Mumbai. The membership will allow you access to the library of the Society and allow you to attend the various lectures and slide shows that are held weekly.

Mani Bhavan
This is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. Gandhi stayed in this simple house between 1917 and 1934 every time he visited Mumbai. The room in which Gandhi stayed, his belongings including his books are on display. Today the building contains a picture gallery, a 20,000-volume research library and a film and recording archive. Mani Bhavan is on Laburnam Road, close to the August Kranti Maidan where the ‘Quit India’ Movement was started. This museum is open on all days between 9.30 am to 6 pm.

Paragliding In Mumbai

Another exciting activity that you can undertake while you stay in Mumbai is Paragliding. About 60kms away from the city is located the Western Paragliding Association or the WPA that offers people the opportunity to sail with the clouds. The WPA is a self-regulatory body of members aiming to encourage paragliding in a safe and credible manner. This association has been formed to promote the adventure sport of paragliding in India. The WPA has collaborated with paragliding associations from all over the world to gather valuable information on how to set and run such an association in India. The equipment used is from the biggest and must trusted manufacturing company in the world -Edel from Korea.

A paraglider simply put is a non-porous cloth wind that is inflated by air through which it flies, through openings in the leading edge of the wing. The pilot is suspended beneath the wing on a harness and he has the controls of the paraglider in his hands. Paragliding is the easiest affordable way to fly. A paraglider can be folded into a backpack and easily carried to the takeoff site and can be easily assembled and ready to fly in minutes. The weight of the entire equipement including the helmet weights between 10 to 12 kilograms and is therefore easy to carry about. A paraglider is more maneuverable flies more slowly, lands more softly and needs less space to take off and land than the other types of gliding.

Paragliding is easy to learn, but it takes a lot of practice before one can fly without supervision. As the sport is still in its infancy in India and there are very few Indian instructors all the instructors at WPA are foreigners. Mumbai weather conditions are perfect for beginners to fly in. The sea breeze is gentle and allows you to maneuver the glider easily. India has the longest flying season extending from September to March. You can manage to fly even in the off- season. So if you are an adventure sport enthusiast you can try your hand at paragliding while in Mumbai.

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