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Mumbai's Art District Tour (Self Guided), Mumbai

The Art District of Mumbai is located in the south part of the city, next to the Gateway of India. This area has been some to several museums and galleries since the beginning of the 20th Century. Beside the well-known Prince of Wales Museum and National Gallery of India, this district is full of great galleries with many exhibits featuring both famous and emerging artists.
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Mumbai's Art District Tour Map

Guide Name: Mumbai's Art District Tour
Guide Location: India » Mumbai (See other walking tours in Mumbai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: naomi
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Town Hall
  • Monetary Museum
  • Gallery Chemould
  • Jehangir Art Gallery
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya
  • Bombay Natural History Society
  • National Gallery of Modern Art
  • Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
  • Sakshi Gallery
Town Hall

1) Town Hall

Located in the Fort area of South Mumbai is an imperial building housing the Asiatic Society of Bombay and a museum- the Town Hall. The origin of the Asiatic Society can be traced back to 1804 when the first meeting of Literary Society of Bombay was held. In 1811, James McKintosh proposed the idea of the Town Hall. The structure consisting of a portico with 8 Doric pillars was designed by Colonel Thomas Cowper in 1830. The marble statutes of benefactors of the city, wrought iron loggias, parquet flooring and spiral staircases are all a part of the exquisite edifice which is highly influenced by Greek and Roman architectural styles. The construction cost of this neolithic building was around 500,000 pounds and the construction materials were brought from England.

The library contains a collection 8,00,000 books making it Mumbai’s largest library. One of the valuable reserves in the library is a first edition copy of “Inferno” by Dante. On the other hand a rare gold mohur(coin) belonging to the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar is exhibited in the museum along with a numismatic collection of over 1000 ancient coins. These treasures can be viewed with permission only but the library is open to the public. The library aims at encouraging research in sciences, literature and oriental arts.
Monetary Museum

2) Monetary Museum

The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Monetary Museum was inaugurated by former President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam in 2005 to all doubts pertaining to currency and related topics. The museum is housed in the Amar building on Phirozeshah Mehta Road in Mumbai, and brings to the front the great history of Indian numismatics through the collection of coins dating back as far as 600BC. The exhibits are highly informative and interactive kiosks make learning interesting even for children.

The museum is divided into 5 sections:

Section 1 provides information regarding evolution and definition of money. It also displays the commodities used in the Barter system like Neolithic stones, silver bar money, beads, etc. Also information on the types of metals and alloys used in making coins, early nomenclature (anna, pie, pice, suvarna, etc) and forms of money are displayed here.

Section 2: The coins dating from early 6th century B.C. to mid-20th century are displayed here. The coins of Satvahana, Indo-Greeks, Pandyas, Delhi Sultanate, Bahami, etc. can be found in this exhibit.

Section 3: This section deals with the evolution of paper money which started in the 18th century but gained prominence in the 19th century. On display are cheques, promissory notes, hundies and early bank notes along with hand-made paper British India notes of denominations 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000.

Section 4: This sections gives information about currency management in India and also helps in identifying fake notes. The contemporary Mahatma Gandhi Series of notes are kept on display.

Section 5: Information about the Reserve Bank of India, from the functions of the central bank to the governers of RBI right from Sir Osborne A Smith to Y V Reddy.
Gallery Chemould

3) Gallery Chemould

The Gallery Chemould was founded in 1963 by Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, the couple who supported India's modernist and contemporary art wave. Back in the 1960s they ran a framing shop, which was largely favoured by the skint emerging artists, who had eventually become pillars in their field. The shop gradually transformed into a gallery, which has since hosted some of the grandest names in the Indian art, such as Tyeb Mehta, Swaminathan, Ram Kumar and Husain. Among the gallery's recent and most prominent exhibitions has been Tribute to the life of Bhupen Kakar.
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Jehangir Art Gallery

4) Jehangir Art Gallery (must see)

The Jehangir Art Gallery is Mumbai (India)’s most famous art gallery and a tourist attraction. It was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir at the urging of K. K. Hebbar and Homi Bhabha. It was built in 1952. Managed by the Bombay Art Society, the entire cost of this mansion was donated by Cowasji Jehangir. This gallery is situated at Kala Ghoda, behind the Prince of Wales Museum, in South Mumbai near the Gateway of India and has four exhibition halls. The gallery was designed by G.M.Bhuta for G.M. Bhuta & Associates. A mammoth institution in itself, its history is linked with the renaissance of Indian art. The complex also has the popular café of Samovar, which is reminiscent of the 70s socialist culture. It also houses Natesans, the country's oldest licensed antique dealers. Entry is free.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

5) Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (must see)

If you love visiting museums and artefacts from the city’s past, then the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai is a must visit. Set in the backdrop of the very busy and urban South Mumbai, the Museum manages to take its visitors away from the hustle bustle around. In the midst of a breathtaking garden, the Indo-Saracenic styled building looks enchanting.

Built in the early 20th century, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya was constructed in honour of King George V, who was then, the Prince of Wales. The foundation stone was laid by Prince of Wales on the 11th of November 1905. The building took 9 years to complete after which it was used by the military as a hospital. It was not until 1922 that the premises were finally declared a museum and opened to the public.

The Museum is one of the finest in the country and boasts a vast collection of artefacts right from the Indus valley civilization to relics from flourishing empires like the Rastrakuttas, Guptas, Mauryas, Chalukas and of course the Mughal era.
Bombay Natural History Society

6) Bombay Natural History Society (must see)

If you admire science and have an inclination to zoological, environmental and conservation studies, the Bombay Natural History Society is a must visit. Established in 1883, the Society was founded with the key aim and purpose of carrying out scientific observations, preserving natural history and exhibiting interesting specimens and natural finds.

The Bombay Natural History Society is the largest non-governmental organization in the country. Not only that, the Society has played a pivotal role in conserving the area’s natural beauty, helped in spreading awareness and educating masses about the need for natural conservation and also aided research in this field. The Society has a vast following spread to almost 30 countries over the world.

Many renowned names have been associated with the Society. Salim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley are some of the prominent ornithologists and naturalists who have served the Society.

The Museum housed within the building has a unique collection of embalmed and artificial specimens of reptiles, insects, mammals and other vertebrates. The best part is that these are all native to the Indian soil and none have been sourced outside the country. However, the society is not open to the public and one must obtain a permission prior to visiting.
National Gallery of Modern Art

7) National Gallery of Modern Art

If you are an admirer of modern art, then the National Gallery of Modern Art is just the place for you. The National Gallery of Modern Art is one place where one can witness art, culture and history come together hand in hand

Apart from being one of the most cherished art museums in the city, it is also a platform for budding artists in the Indian arena to make a mark of their own

The Gallery displays a proud collection of some of the most cherished painters of the country. Apart from a fantastic collection of the spearheads of contemporary art in India- S N Souza and M F Hussain, the gallery portrays works of celebrated painters like Thomas Daniell, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil and many others. Not only is it a platform for seeing the works of some brilliant native painters but the gallery also displays works of some renowned international artists.

The Gallery also holds temporary exhibits which are brilliant in their own right. The National Gallery for Modern Art is a great place to witness the lesser known modern art of India.

Located in the South of Mumbai, the Gallery is exactly opposite the Jahangir Art Gallery, another fantastic place to satiate your thirst for art.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

8) Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke

This gallery was founded by Usha Mirchandani and Ranjana Steinruecke. Located next to the Taj Mahal Hotel, it features the works of eight young and developing artists. The diverse spectrum of their artworks includes paintings, photography, jute collages and charcoal drawings.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 am to 7 pm
Sakshi Gallery

9) Sakshi Gallery

The Sakshi Gallery is the country's largest private gallery. It was established with the aim of supporting young and upcoming artists: its art advisory department helps fund promising art students with scholarships. The gallery also boasts exhibitions of famous artists such as M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, Jehangir Sabavala and others.
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

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