Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A magnificent building, completed in 1888, the Victoria Terminus was named after the then Queen Empress on Jubilee Day, 1887. Construction started in 1878 based on a design by F. W. Stevens, and took 10 years to complete. The cost of construction was Rs. 16.14 lakhs (Rs. 1.614 million). The railway station was opened to the public on New Year's Day, 1882. It is now the starting point of the Central Railways.

Built in the Victorian Gothic Revival style, based on Italian Gothic models, the complicated ground plan of the building is counterpointed by marvellous filigrees, carvings and arches. The south-western part of the building is topped by a dome holding up a statue of Progress. It is an early example of a uniquely Bombay style of architecture which emerged when British architects worked with Indian craftsmen to include Indian architectural tradition and idioms.

When the building was first used it held not only railway functionaries such as the accounts, chief engineer and traffic manager but also other municipal offices such as the superintendent of the police. Curiously, railway tickets were also printed in the same building. The number of people working here rose for almost a hundred years. In the 1980's the Railways began to lighten the load on the structure. It presently holds over 700 employees of the Central Railway.

another view, c.1880's*OF SAME BUILDING:-

A collotype print, c.1900, by Clifton & Co.:-

*Victoria Terminus and its streetscape, 1908*

A modern visitor's photo

The Victoria Terminus was renamed Chhatrapati Sivaji Terminus on March 4, 1996. In September 1999 pedestrian access to the suburban railway terminus was moved underground. The subway was built at the incredible cost of Rs. 15 crores (Rs. 150 million).
This building has long been on the urban heritage list and a protected monument. It was put on theUNESCO World Heritage List on July 2, 2004. It is the first functional administrative building to be put on this list.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stunning masterpiece. A delight to just see the pictures. Thank you for the old prints.