Asiatic Society Mumbai, Town Hall Entry Fee
- 1500 per person for Resident membership (Annual)
- 15,000 per person for Resident membership (Lifetime)
- 60 per person for Reader member
- 500 per person for Annual subscription
Person who donates Rs.1,50,000/- can become a Patron Life Member and one who donates Rs.5,00,000/- can become Donor Life Member if they opt for it.
Asiatic Society Mumbai, Town Hall Phone
Asiatic Society Mumbai, Town Hall Timings
|Monday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Tuesday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Wedesday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Thursday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Friday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Saturday||10:30 am – 6:30 pm|
|Sunday||Closed / Holiday|
Rating: | 4/5 stars
Based on total 43 reviews
Asiatic Society Mumbai, Town Hall Address: Town Hall, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400023, India
Mumbai has its own share of heritage and colonial buildings and the Asiatic Society Town Hall is one among them. Given its history and association with the British era, it becomes an important location that should not be missed by anyone visiting Mumbai.
The Asiatic Society of Mumbai Town Hall was opened as a cultural centre for the British officials residing in Bombay. The Town Hall saw all official announcements and live performances being conducted here since its completion in 1833.
In the present day, it houses the Asiatic Society Library, the State Central Library and a Museum, Head Office of Directorate of Libraries Maharashtra State, Additional Controller of Stamps Office, Maharashtra State Women’s Council and a Post Office.
The heritage building of Asiatic Society of Mumbai Town Hall is located in Fort area of Mumbai, overlooking the Horniman Circle and its grand flight of steps has been a prominent location for shooting many Bollywood movies.
History of Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall
The conception of the idea of building a Town Hall was first done by the ‘Literary Society of Bombay’ with the intention of conserving literature, artefacts, cultural and oriental art. However, the society could only raise an amount of INR 10,000 through lotteries and funds which was only sufficient for completing the library and the museum. The funds raised were nowhere near to the amount required to build the entire Town Hall. Hence, the construction was put on hold until the society received funding from the government.
It was only in 1833 that the construction of the Town Hall was completed.
History and Formation of Asiatic Society of Mumbai
The Literary Society of Bombay was founded in 1804 by Sir James Mackintosh, one of the most distinguished lawyers and a public figure in England, with the intention of ‘promoting useful knowledge’. The inspiration behind the formation of the Literary Society of Bombay was taken from Sir William Jones who had established the Asiatic Society of Bengal Presidency around two decades earlier.
It was renamed as Bombay Branch of Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS) in 1826 after its merger with Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (RAS). Starting 1841, the society opened its memberships to Indians and the same year saw the society publishing its own journal under the title, ‘Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society’.
After India gained independence, around the year 1954, the Bombay Branch of Royal Asiatic Society separated itself from Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland and was rechristened as the Asiatic Society of Bombay. In the year 2002, it changed its name to Asiatic Society of Mumbai after Bombay was renamed as Mumbai.
Architecture of Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall
The Asiatic Society Town Hall of Mumbai was designed by one of the finest engineers of Bombay during the time, Colonel Thomas Cowper. The architecture of the neoclassical Town Hall is a mix of elements from both Greek and Roman architectural styles spanning across 200 feet with a height of 100 feet.
While the entrance of the building is led by a flight of 30 steps, the Doric style columns, which are 8 in number, are lined just at the entrance followed by a Grecian portico. The entire structure is constructed out of stones that were shipped in all the way from England while the ancient Burma teak-wood that covers the floors and used for making the bookshelves were brought in from Myanmar. The spiral staircases inside the Town Hall lead to terraces that are lined with wrought iron that were brought from England.
The building also bears a flagpole and the Indian National Flag is hoisted every year on 15th August and 26th January.
Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall Museum
There are fine marble statues and portraits of patrons of the Asiatic Society in the hallway and the Durbar Hall of the Town Hall Museum. Among the other artefacts of the museum, there is a huge collection of ancient coins and gold ‘Mohurs’ belonging to the Mughal era. Among the ‘Mohurs’, one of them is actually an exceptional one that once belonged to the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Image Gallery of Asiatic Society Mumbai
Asiatic Society of Mumbai Library at the Town Hall
The Asiatic Society of Mumbai Library at the Town Hall is famous for its antique collection of 8 lakh books, journals, manuscripts, etc. The exceptional collection of the library includes the 16th century Sanskrit manuscript of Mahabharata, the original 14th century manuscript of Dante’s poem, ‘The Divine Comedy’, over 3000 manuscripts of books in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Persian and Urdu. Other treasures of the library include periodicals, maps, prints and painted folios.
The backbone of the foundation of the original Literary Society in 1804 was on sharing useful knowledge with one and all. As of today, there are two libraries in the Town Hall, one in its North wing and second in the South Wing.
The North Wing was used as the library since the completion of construction of the Town Hall and has been being run by the Asiatic Society of Mumbai. This part of the library is accessible only for the members of the society whereas, the South Wing part of the library is run as State Central Library and is open to readers at a minimal subscription rate.
The entire collection of the manuscripts that are housed in the library have been digitised and can be found on the official website of the society.
Entry Fee and Timings of Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall
Asiatic Society of Mumbai Town Hall is open from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM on all days of the week except on Sundays. The town hall remains closed on Sundays.
There is a subscription fee rather. One needs to gain a resident membership or a reader membership to enter the town hall and access the books in the library. The membership charges are explained below:
The Annual resident member fee is INR 1,500 per person and the Lifetime resident member fee is INR 15,000 per person.
The Reader membership fee is INR 60 per person while the Annual reader membership fee is INR 500 per person.
P. S – Someone who donates an amount of INR 1,50,000 is invited to become the patron life member. Someone who donates an amount as huge as INR 5,00,000 can become a donor life member, provided they are willing to do so.
Places to Visit near Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall
Horniman Circle (Former Elphinstone Garden), St. Thomas Church, Mumbai Samachar Building, Flora Fountain, Colaba Causeway, Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Malabar Hill, Fashion Street, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Jehangir Art Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Indian Arts, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay High Court, Ballard Bunder Gatehouse and Taraporewala Aquarium are located nearby.
How to Reach Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall
Due to its close proximity to both Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (on the main line) and Churchgate (on the western line) stations, the Asiatic Society Mumbai Town Hall can be reached from both stations. One needs to hire a taxi from both stations to reach the town hall.
Local buses, known as BEST buses are also a good option to reach the town hall. One may board a bus CST bus depot that is right outside the CST railway station.
Alternatively, visitors may also hire a cab from top car rental companies in Mumbai to reach the Town Hall.
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