Victoria Terminus (Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus), Mumbai
One of the finest examples of Indo-Gothic Revival architecture, Victoria Terminus or Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the busiest railway stations in India. The construction was completed in 1888 and the design of the building is attributed to Fredrick William Stevens. The station has become an icon of the city of Mumbai and is one of its most recognizable landmarks.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is popular railway station and is a spitting image of Victorian-Gothic style of architecture in India. Located in the heart of Mumbai, the CST is also a ‘World Heritage Site’ declared by UNESCO in 2004. Built in 1888, the station is the grand reminder of the British Raj pre-independence and is still one of the most historical landmarks within the Central Business District (CBD) of Mumbai. A bustling terminus, the CST is well-connected by rail to all parts of the country. It stands as the final result of great industrial revolution technology, merged with Victorian/Gothic revival styles based on late-Italian model architecture. The structure represents the heart of the mercantile facet of the city and also symbolizes the British Commonwealth. Apart from being Victorian-Gothic in architecture, parts of this grand edifice also contain remnants of Mughal styled architecture. An outstanding example of the late 19th century designs, the CST is associated with the city of Mumbai since time immemorial. The city flourished, businesses boomed and a thriving film industry grew, with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus being the core witness to it all. Scroll down to know more about this treasured structure.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji station, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, was built in 1888. Designed by the British architect F.W. Stevens, the structure became a symbol of Bombay (Mumbai) and the city was labeled the ‘Gothic City’ due to this magnificent building’s architectural styles. Apart from being the hub for major mercantile activities, the CST is the perfect amalgam of British and Indian designs. In the past, ‘Bori Bandar’ station, located along the Eastern parts of Mumbai, was the place for commercial exchanges and trading activities. In the 1850’s, the Great Indian Peninsular Railway operated in this area and gave it the name ‘Bori Bandar’, starting its first rail service, covering a total distance of 34 km to Thane.
During the British rule, the station was eventually redesigned and rebuilt by F.W. Stevens, who named it as Victoria Terminus. The station got its name from the then reigning royal, Queen Victoria. The construction of the station took 10 years to complete and was opened to the Queen on the date of her Golden Jubilee in 1887. At the time, the building was the most expensive structure in Mumbai costing 260,000 Sterling Pounds. The station was built to handle main rail traffic and in 1929, a new station and an administrative headquarters were built by the Central Railway. In 1996, the Minister of Railways, Suresh Kalmadi, changed the name of the station to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
The main architecture of the building reflects the Victorian Gothic styles and designs of the late 19th century. The style and the ornamentation of the edifice were acceptable to both Indian and European culture. Complete with turrets, pointed arches and an eccentric ground plan, the CST was a novel achievement during that period. To date, the building retains most of the architectural designs with probably, an addition of two or more headquarters. The CST was built in accordance to a C-shaped plan, symmetrical on both, the east and the west axis. Crowned by a high dome, which is the focal point of the structure, the CST building is adjoined with well-proportioned rows of arched structures, rows and windows, closely resembling Indian palace architectures.
The entrance of the Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus is flanked by figures of a lion and a tiger representing the two countries-great Britain and India. The main structure is made of sandstone and limestone, and the interiors of the station are lined with high-quality Italian marble. Apart from the 18 railway lines, the CST also houses the main headquarters, the Star Chamber, grotesques and the North Wing.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
Gateway of India
Sanjay Gandhi National Pak
Many scenes of the Oscar-winning feature, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, were shot at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and many more Bollywood films have been sequenced here.
On July 2, 2004, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO added this monument to the World Heritage Site list.
CST houses the head office for the Central Railways in India. ‘
CST was also witness to India’s first flash mob, where 200 people broke into an impromptu dance on a popular Bollywood song in 2011.
How To Reach
It is easy to reach the CST by rail, as it is very likely that your train might just disembark at this station! However, if you are coming from other central or suburban railway stations, then you can reach CST through local transport.
Mumbai is well-connected by road that leads to all major cities in India. This rich city is served by NH 2, 3, 4, 8, 17, 222. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway was also the first expressway built in India.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the most treasured landmarks in the city. If you decide to visit Mumbai, then make sure that the CST is on your must-see list. Well-connected to all major destinations of India, the CST is not only a historical, but is also one of the biggest commercial symbols of Mumbai.