Prince of Wales
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India is the main museum in Mumbai, formerly Bombay. It was founded in the early years of the 20th century It is located in the heart of South Mumbai near the Gateway of India. The museum building is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, incorporating elements of other styles of architecture like the Mughal, Maratha and Jain. The museum houses approximately 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history as well as Indus Valley Civilization artefacts, and other relics from ancient India from the time of the Guptas, Mauryas, Chalukyas and Rashtrakuta.
The collection of the museum is categorized primarily into three sections: art, archaeology and natural history. The museum also houses a forestry section, which has specimens of timbers grown in the Bombay Presidency and one exhibiting a small local geological collection of rocks, minerals and fossils. The Maritime Heritage Gallery, which displays objects relating to navigation, is the “first of its kind in India”.
The art section displays the collections of Sir Purushottam Mavji, acquired in 1915, and the art collections of Sir Ratan Tata and Sir Dorab Tata, donated in 1921 and 1933 respectively.
The museum provides an audio tour in six languages to visitors.
It features palm leaf manuscripts dating to the 11th-12th centuries to the early 19th century pahari paintings, as well as paintings from the Sultanate period. Notable manuscripts housed in the museum include the Anwar-Suhayli painted in Mughal emperor Akbar’s studio and a 17th Century manuscript of the Hindu epic Ramayana from Mewar.
The ivory section has artefacts dating as early as the Gupta era. The museum also has decorative artefacts such as textiles, ivories, Mughal jades, silver, gold and artistic metal ware. It also has a collection of European paintings, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, ivory and jade.