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DAY 2: INTO THE PAST

After our disappointing morning at the National Park, Mr.R and I decided not to waste the rest of the day lounging at home. Since peak hour was almost over, we thought of traveling into town by train. We took a train to Churchgate – Mr.R traveling in one after more than a decade, I think. It’s been that long atleast since he’s come to this part of the city, perhaps. Usually, he just stops over en route to his beloved Goa. Anyway, I think he enjoyed the walk from Churchgate, through the Oval and to Fountain. The old buildings, the University, the Clock Tower are all admirable, even to old eyes like mine. There wasn’t anything interesting on at the Jehangir Art Gallery so we moved on to the Museum next door.

The Prince of Wales museum or Chattrapati Shivaji Vastu Sanghralaya as it is known now is a veritable treasure trove right in our backyard. Most of us work in the area, yet I’ve not stepped into the precincts since I was a child on a school trip, too young to appreciate the display of the grandeur of our heritage.

Ten rupees for admission, give up your bag, water bottle, buy a pass if you intend to use your camera, purchase an audio guide for 150/- if you want information about the displays and you’re in. A magnificent two storied building, the museum has an amazing collection. The display has much to be desired, but the artifacts are magnificent nevertheless. Toys from the Indus Valley, old statues from temples, Buddhist art and architecture, miniature painting, arms and weaponry, a section on Tibet and Nepal, European art… the list goes on. History buffs in Mumbai, take a few hours out to make a trip. For ten bucks, you can see a section a week and take it in slowly!

I’m so glad we braved the journey and came so far. Mr.R, the eternal history aficionado was delighted and he intends to return at leisure someday soon.

Lessons learnt from this trip:
– Dispel your doubts and visit the places on the school-trip agenda. You’ll see them with new eyes; your brain will understand and appreciate the wealth all around you. Your sense of awe is awakened; your minds eye sees links and connections where there were none earlier.
– Having an interesting, educating afternoon need not be an expensive affair. Take your kids, your neighbors, your work colleagues to these places.
– Look around you. There’s probably a heritage site right next door. If you know of more such places, write back. I’m compiling a list on my other blog : Mumbai in a lunchtime and any help would be appreciated.

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