Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Ceiling of Heritage Building, CST

I had read about the Heritage Tour offered by CST in Mumbai Mirror. The article is probably some months old. From that day I had been planning to go for it and I finally managed to take the tour last week.

CST Building was declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004
I reached the Heritage Building at 3.10 pm. I got a ticket and was assigned a guide even though I was alone. I felt quite impressed by the service. Kalpana took me to the Railway Museum first and told me all about Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) that was formed by the British. I was most happy as they let me click pictures.

Engine Model of GIPR
The Railway Museum traces the history of the Indian Railways since GIPR (Great Indian Peninsula Railway) was established in 1844. It houses some drawings by Architect FW Stevens; models of engines from those days; posters of the original board of directors; the huge bell that was used in the beginning to announce the arrival and departure of trains; the hand bell that was used by the guard in those days; number plates that were used; a clock that used to hang at the station and more. There is also a gorgeous model of CST in a glass case.

Kalpana took me through all the relics and patiently answered my questions. After completing with the museum, she took me inside the Heritage Building along with three others who had joined us by then.

The original bell that was used to announce arrival & departure of trains
CST used to be called VT. Even before that, in the beginning, the station was called Bori Bunder. The first railway track used to run trains from Bori Bunder to Byculla to Thana. Engines and carriages used to be imported from England via the sea.

Water pots used for serving water - the black one for first class passengers and the brass pot for the 3rd class
Victoria Terminus was constructed in 1888 to house the company headquarters of GIPR. Frederick William Stevens was the architect who designed the building. He has based the design on the Victoria Station in London while adapting Indian architecture including the Mughul influence. I was quite enthralled.

The very first number plate created. It is still used by the toy train at Matheran. Don't miss the first railway timetable

The land for constructing Victoria Terminus was donated to the British by Jagannath Shankar Seth. The building itself took ten years to complete. The building is constructed in the Indian Gothic Style. It has been declared a Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.

The impressive entrance to the Heritage Building
All I can say is CST looks gorgeous not just from outside but from inside too. The main dome’s interior is an impressive structure viewed from within. I have added some of the pictures that I clicked of the Terminus which will give one an idea of how it is.

Different sections of the Dining Hall
There are three floors in all – ground, first and second. The ground floor is built in the lines of Neo-Gothic Style; the first floor follows Mughal Architecture and the second floor is influenced by Romans. Impressive, isn’t it!

A stone lion welcomes you!
There is a majestic stone lion sitting on its haunches in the entrance hall near the stairway. He looks so handsome. We went up the wide, curving staircase to the first floor where the Dining Hall is situated. It’s huge and had been built for the staff. Nowadays, it’s maintained for show. There is a large dining table on one side while you will find comfortable sofas on the other. Many carvings of animals are found on the panels while the hall is held up by pillars of Italian marble. What came as a surprise was the toilet facility behind the dining hall. It was quite posh and clean with granite tiles, considering that it is part of an Indian railway station.

Another angle to the dome from within
We walked up to the second floor admiring the arches and ceiling before being guided to another small hall. Modern seating was available here where the tall windows gave us a bird’s eye view of the bustling station. We were served hot tea and biscuits by the CST staff.

The Star Chamber ceiling - the ticket counter is right below
The next stop was at the Star Chamber that houses the ticket booking office of the station. The hall got its name from the ceiling it sports. It used to serve as a resting room for the staff of the British. There is a clock tower above the ticket counter that houses a mechanical clock that is wound up once a week even today.

That lady on top of the dome is called The Statue of Progress
Not bad, I thought before walking down to write in the visitors’ book. A worthy visit indeed!

Different angles to the Heritage Building

The garden in front of CST


  1. Wow! I love the Star Ceiling,for that matter most ceilings ;), I stare at it in awe every time I visit it. Also the lion & other animal mouths on the side of buildings, are for water drain pipes. What an artistic turn to drain pipes :)

    I am dieing to go for this Heritage walk. Hope to soon. Thanks for the post.

    1. You can take your son along a few years from now. I am sure he will enjoy it same as you :D

  2. hi Sundari,

    Beautiful pics and detailing. Felt like I am reading some history book. Kids should be exposed to such information about our own city

    After this read, I definitely look forward to visiting Heritage CST bldg over the weekend.


    1. Hi Anita,
      I am glad you liked the write up and pics. Thank you for the comment.

  3. Hey,
    The pics are brilliant ,reading the information you posted ,I visited the above places using traffline last week,the experience was good ,felt thta our country has an indeed rich and cultural heritage.

    1. Hi Candice, thank you for stopping by my blog and posting a comment. I am glad you liked the pictures :D
      Yeah, our country does have a rich and cultural heritage that we can be proud of