Victoria Terminal, Mumbai, now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST) is a vivid illustration of Gothic architecture in India. The terminus then known as Victoria Terminal was designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens. However, one cannot say its architecture is truly Gothic, but it can be said as a fusion of Gothic and Indian Architecture. We say fusion of two as the building was designed by British architect but the craftsmen were Indian, giving a unique style for Bombay (then, Mumbai). This Indo-Saracenic (Indo-Gothic) architecture is based on the late medieval Italian models fused with stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and an eccentric ground plan in the likes of traditional Indian Palace architecture. The construction of terminus started in 1878 and took around 10yrs to complete the work. Today this building is a ‘World Heritage Site’ as declared by UNESCO in the year 2004 and a ‘Heritage Grade-1’ structure among 63 others in Mumbai under the resolution of Maharashtra State Government Act on 21st April 1997.
Another building, that’s just adjacent to this heritage building, that too has a status of heritage building in Mumbai is the municipal corporation building of Mumbai. Mumbai municipal corporation building (also known as Brihanmumbai municipal corporation/ BMC) is declared a Grade IIA heritage building under the Maharashtra State Government Act. What’s significant about BMC is, it is said to be the largest communal corporation in India and Asia. The building covers the area of 434 sq km. BMC was constructed in the year 1865, housing Arthur Crawford as its first commissioner. From 1865 to 1884, BMC had different addresses, and it was in late 1884 that the foundation of the current BMC building was laid by Lord Ripon (then Viceroy). Construction of the building, based on the design of Frederick William Stevens was commenced in 1884 and was completed in 1893. Fredrick William’s design is a pure Gothic architecture. The building is also known for its symbolic tower, that stands at 255 ft and the central dome that stands at 234 ft.
Talking about the architecture of the building, the architecture of the building has many great significances and meanings to it; be it the sculptures of lion and tiger at the entrance of the building representing Great Britain and India, or be it the well segmented windows, rows or rows of arched structures representing the Indian Palace architecture. On the outer of the building, sandstone and limestone were used to complete the structure while for the interiors, high quality Italian marbles were brought in.
The building acquires the area of 2.85 hectare. The Victoria Terminus soon became a commercial palace sketching the economic wealth of the nation. Victoria Terminus was built to handle the main rail traffic and later in 1929, a new station and headquarter was built by the Central Railway. The station was renamed to CST by the then Railways Minister Mr. Suresh Kalmadi. CST today has the initially built four railway tracks with the newly built 7 suburban and 11 out station tracks which lead to the expansion of the station by the addition of more buildings. Today it is one of the busiest railway stations of Mumbai and commutes more than 3 million people daily.