Museums are the shine of the city which holds the history, knowledge and the art. Byculla which is Mumbai’s one of the prime location has city’s oldest museum made in 1872 formally known as ‘Victoria & Albert museum’. It is the only happening museum in the state which holds various exhibitions, events every weekend. The free guided tour is a worth joining which starts at 11.30 am on Saturday & Sunday.
History of the museum
Pre-independence when the East India Company was ruling over India, Mumbai was a home for rich classes. It was known as ‘Bombay Presidency’. Indian traditions & customs are worldwide renowned, by taking the advantages of this, the East India Company with the help of Western artists, taught the art to Indian artists and made sellable products such as idols, hukka pots, tea holders and much more. The products had high demand in a European market. Bombay Presidency collected a number of masterpieces which needed a space to hold, hence the museum idea appeared.
Rich Indians donated funds to build this building for city’s first museum. It was named as ‘Victoria & Albert’ Museum. Hand-made flooring tiles, golden pillars, low-density lights and a perfect colour for museum made this building one of the most expensive structure. After India got independence the museum was handover to Indian government but due to lack of knowledge and techniques, the museum started shedding & came Dr Bhau Daji Lad who initiated for more funds. He was a secretary of the museum and provided support to intact the museum. During the re-naming process, he was chosen to be named after.
What to see at the museum?
The exhibits are not ancient. These masterpieces are the example of western artefacts with Indianism. 19th-20th-century exhibits are kept for a public display. The ground floor holds these artefacts and the first floor showcases the history of Mumbai. I am sure, you will love the first floor as it unfolds the 7-island magic. You will be amazed to see how Mumbai was formed from a barren land. The upper floor also has an exhibition hall which is used to various events.
The guided tour takes around 1 hour. The tour is free for the public which starts at 11.30 am on weekends.
Costing, Parking, How to reach & other info
The museum is next to Byculla Zoo, 5 minutes walk away from Byculla railway station. A pay-&-park facility is available at the museum. Entry ticket to the museum is Rs 10. The guided tour is free. The private tour charges Rs 600 per head. An audio guide is also available with the cost of just Rs 30. Photography is allowed inside the museum, but make sure flash is off. The museum starts at 10 am & closes at 6 pm.
Interesting facts about the museum
- The museum was named as ‘Victoria & Albert Museum”. It still has a logo with this name.
- The artefacts are made by Indians for the European market for sale.
- The museum was shot with Art cameras by Google in 2016.
- The pillars of the museum hold 24-carat gold.
- The flooring of the museum is designed by hand-made tiles.
- Outside the museum, you’ll find an elephant rock which was shipped from Elephanta island.
- The museum is a perfect place to witness Mumbai’s history.
- All building material, building plan, statues were shipped from England.