Glimpses of Victorian Bombay
Glimpses of Victorian BombayLearn more about the Victorian history of Mumbai as you explore the sites beginning with Gateway of India, the city’s most famous landmark – an Indo-Saracenic archway built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. You will make a stop here for photographs.
Visit the Church of St. John the Evangelist better known as the Afghan Church. Built by the British in 1847, it was consecrated 11 years later by Bishop Harding in memory of those who fell “by sickness and sword” in the Sind campaign of 1838 and the First Afghan War of 1843. The recently renovated church has an impressive and quintessential English architecture with wide Gothic arches and beautiful stained-glass windows designed by the then city-engineer Henry Conbeare and architect William Butterfield. The tiles used for geometric floor pattern were imported from England along with the eight large bells in the bell tower which came from the Taylor bellfoundry of England in 1904.
Drive along Marine Drive, Mumbai’s seaside promenade, an eight-lane highway with a wide pavement, a graceful curve sweeping the skyscrapers at Nariman Point to the foot of Malabar Hill, Mumbai’s ritziest neighborhood. Popular since the 18th century because of its forested slopes, fresh sea breezes and panoramic views, merchants and colonial governors built many mansions and bungalows on its hillsides. Today high-rise luxury apartment blocks have taken over – home to politicians, film stars and gangsters.
Visit Victoria and Albert Museum – the oldest museum in Mumbai. Started by Dr. Buist as the Central Museum of Natural History, Economy, Geology, Industry and Arts, it had Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay Presidency, amongst its early patrons and Sir George Birdwood, as one of the first curators. In 1862 it was christened as the Victoria and Albert Museum in honor of the Queen Empress of India, and the Prince consort. Adjoining the Victoria Gardens, this museum built in the Greco-Roman style houses archaeological finds, maps and photographs depicting the history of Mumbai. The collection includes clay models equivalent of firka paintings made for the British in the ‘Company’ period—‘illustrating’ Indian types, and costumes, and trades and professions; finely wrought silver and copper ware; votive bronzes to fossils and minerals, delicate ivories to models of temples made from pith.
Your last stop will be, Crawford market, named after Bombay’s first municipal commissioner, Arthur Crawford. Poised between what was once the British Fort and the local town, Crawford Market has elements of both. A blend of Flemish and Norman architecture, it has a bas relief above its main entrance depicting Indian peasants in wheat fields. Being Mumbai’s main wholesale market for fruits until March 1996, one can see mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables amongst other things in this market.

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