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THE PRINCE OF WALES MUSEUM, Mumbai

      In the early years of the twentieth century, some prominent citizens of Bombay decided to set up a Museum with the help of the government to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. One of the resolutions of the committee at its meeting on June 22, 1904 was, "The building should have a handsome and noble structure befitting the site selected, and in keeping with the best style of local architecture."

The committee spared no effort to realize this dream. On March 1, 1907, the then government of Bombay handed over to the museum committee a spot of land known as the "Crescent Site", situated at the southern end of the present Mahatma Gandhi Road. After an open competition for the design, George Wittet was commissioned to design the Museum building in 1909. George Wittet had collaborated with John Begg in the construction of the General Post Office building. His other works in Bombay include the Court of Small Causes and the magnificent Gateway of India.

Designed in Indo-Saracenic style, the facing is done in Yellow and blue stones. It has also drawn inspiration from many other Indian styles - small bulbous cupolas on towers, Saracenic arches with Muslim jalis as fillers, semi-open verandahs and Rajput jharokhas.

There is a lot to see in the museum. The plan of the museum is simple, there is a big hall in the centre and after going upstairs there is a natural history section on the right hand side and on the left is the gallery of Tibetan and Nepali art. On the second floor is the Indian miniature painting gallery- the pride of the museum, and next to it is the gallery of decorative art.

The gallery on the second floor is attractive for who love glasswork. Most of the art pieces of the glass art are donated by Sir Ratan Tata and Dorab Tata. The collection also includes artwork from other countries like Japan, China etc. It also contains two galleries of European paintings. It also houses many artefacts of Nepalese and Tibetan art, including a beautiful 12th century Maitreya with his head surrounded by a halo, slightly inclined.

For the lovers of art the Prince of Wales Museum Mumbai, India is nothing less than a bonanza.

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