Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bombay Beauty

Frankly, I think this is the most beautiful building in all of Bombay.

I know people wax eloquent about Victoria Terminus, but this building is by far more appealing to me. And no - it isn't a church. This is Bombay University, where I got my bachelors degree from. Maybe that's why I like this place, because it is a place of learning...somehow more appealing than a railway station!

This building is the convocation hall of the University.
I wandered into it one day, and was stunned by the interior.

See that round window above the entrance porch? If you view it from the inside, you'll see it's a brilliant stained glass window called the Great Rose. It has the signs of the Zodiac around it (don't ask me why! I haven't figured that one yet).
Sunight streams in through the Great Rose, giving the inside a magical look.

It's a good place to receive a degree from, eh?

- Deepa

Acknowledgement: This picture came from Collect Britain, a lovely site with lots of interesting information and pictures of the Raj.


Anonymous said...

The Notre Dame Catedral also has rose windows on both sides. I guess the English were trying to liken the design for an institute of learning to the house of God.

Deepa said...

The guy that designed the Bombay University - Sir Gilbert Scott - designed the chapels of Exeter College, Oxford and St. John’s College, Cambridge. I went up to the library of Bombay Univ and looked up some old books. He was asked why he picked such cathedral-like themes for a place of learning in the East - and he says that for Mumbai University, he was inspired by "secular Belgian architecture". I thought of Brugge.

Interestingly, this guy never set foot in Bombay to design the university. He did it out of his London offices. Most of the raw material for the Univ was sourced locally - Porbandar white lime, yellow Kurla basalt, Ratnagiri grey granite...the teak was Burma Teak. Grille work was imported, so were colourful Minton tiles for the floor.

Next time you come to Bombay, let's go see it. I'll show you a small carved face of Shakespeare, peeking out from behind a pillar. And another of Homer.

Anonymous said...

its a beautiful building and i can understand your feelings about it,would love to come and see it one day.Really love your blog and look forward to reading loads more of it

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Deepa said...

For the past year or so, the Bombay University has stopped allowing people inside the grounds. What a pity!