Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
Earlier known as Victoria Terminus (VT Station), this is located a few yards from the General Post Office down Walchand Hirachand Road. Modelled along the lines of St. Pancras station in London, it boasts of carved stone friezes, stained glass windows, flying buttresses and gargoyles.
The station was christened to mark Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 but is today, more known for the sea of frenzied commuters moving in and out through its massive arches. It was opened to the public on New Year’s Day, 1882 and is now the starting point of the Central Railways. The Italian Gothic style, full of marvellous filigrees and carvings, merits detailed examination.
Unfortunately, some of the lovely carvings are at such an awkward height that you can only get a close view from the upper deck of a passing double-decker bus. Located in Bori Bunder, VT has been declared a Heritage Site.
A throbbing landmark of Mumbai city, VT Station was designed by FW Stevens for the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. Stevens had a penchant for experimenting with various styles of architecture, as is evident in a host on public buildings in Bombay. Atop the central dome stands the Roman goddess of prosperity, Progress. During her installation, she was struck down thrice by lightning and was reinstated thrice.
In the adjacent modern annexe reserved for long distance trains, there is a huge hall thronging with passengers and porters (commonly called coolies, and dressed in the traditional dhoti kurta, an attire typical of rural Maharashtra).
The entire complex throbs with commuters, pedestrians, cabs, buses, pan beedi shops and clothes stalls. Beware of pickpockets.