Formerly known as Victoria Terminus,
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is one of the magnificent archaic yet modern
architectures situated in Mumbai City. It is a perfect illustration of
Victorian-Gothic architectural style which was constructed in 1878. This
railway terminus was also nominated as the UNESCO World Heritage in 1997. There
are a few parts at CST which will make you feel like you are living in the
One of the busiest railway stations in India,
CST is a popular historical landmark in India which has also featured in
several Bollywood movies and TV series. The popular song from the movie Slumdog
Millionaire, Jai Ho, and scenes from Bollywood movie Ra One were also shot
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the
headquarter of the Central Railways and is well-connected to different parts of
the nation. Both short distance and long-distance trains are available from
CST. In fact, CST is known for the Mumbai local trains which are also referred
to as the lifeline of Mumbai. Thousands of tourists are attracted to this place
due to its exquisite and marvellous architecture. During night time, the
monument is lit with multicolour lights which makes it look very beautiful.
More on Chhatrapati
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus,
earlier known as Victoria Terminus during the colonial era, used to be a
warehouse that facilitated the export and import of goods to Mumbai from
different parts of the world. A railway station was built at this location in
1853 and was named as Bori Bandar Railway Station. In fact, the first passenger
train to operate in India was from Bori Bandar to Thane in the year 1853. In
1887, it was agreed to rebuild this railway station to celebrate the Queen
Victoria Golden Jubilee. Consequently, the Bori Bandar Railway Station was
officially renamed as Victoria Terminus.
Known for its exquisite architecture, CST was
designed by a well-known architect, F.W. Stevens, who incorporated British and
Indian styles of architecture while planning the blueprint of this monument. It
took around 10 years to completed its construction and it cost around 2,60,000
Sterling Pounds. It is supposedly the most expensive structure in Mumbai.
The Ministry of Railways renamed it as
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and is commonly referred to as CSMT or CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) in
1996. Unfortunately, Mumbai was the prime location of a terrorist attack in
2008 and CST was on the hit list. Even after 130 years, CST stands tall and
caters to the needs of millions of travellers in Mumbai every day.
Architecture of CST
Victoria Terminus’s design is based primarily
on Victorian Gothic Style of Architecture. It represents a perfect fusion of
Victorian Gothic Architecture with Indian Architecture. Indian style is
prominent on the meticulously carved arches, the skyline and the turrets. A
major contribution to its design was also made by the students of Jamsetji
Jeejebhoy School of Art. The well-defined tiles, wood carvings, the ornamental
railing and grills made of metal were a few of their major contribution made to
the architecture of CST.
The main dome of CST has beautiful dovetail
ribs. Moreover, there is a 330 feet long platform that connects to the rain
shed which, is in turn, 1200 feet long. You will be fascinated by the interior
finishing of the terminus as well. There are large hallways with high ceilings.
The main attraction of the structure is the central octagonal dome. It
comprises of a female figure holding a torch in her right hand and a wheel with
crosspieces in her left hand. The sprawling courtyard is fenced by side wings
which are supported by turrets on each corner.
The outer portion consists of multiple arches
and windows. There are statues of lion and tiger that supposedly represent
Britain and India respectively. The monument is made of Italian Marble,
sandstones and limestone. Out of 18 platforms, 8 are used by trains headed to
suburban areas while 10 are dedicated to intercity trains. In addition to this,
there is an air-conditioned dormitory that can accommodate around 20 women and
58 men, as per the beds available.
Best Time to Visit
The most suitable time for visiting Victoria
Terminus is between October and February. During this time of the year, the
weather is pleasant as compared to the usually hot and humid weather of Mumbai.
Tips for Visiting
On the occasion of Republic Day, the 26th
of January, the magnificent structure is lit in tri colours of the Indian Flag.
Plan your trip to CST on this day to enjoy the patriotic vibes around the
CST is usually very crowded, be it on weekdays
or weekends. It is advised not to get overwhelmed by the crowd and take care of
your belongings while navigating your way at the terminus.
You should avoid travelling to CST during the peak office hours in
order to explore the place with ease.
How to Reach Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus?
CST is the main terminus in Mumbai and hence,
is easily accessible from any part of Mumbai. You can take a local train from
Central Railway Station or any suburban station to reach CST. All the trains
have a stoppage here.
If you are planning your trip via road, then you
can take NH 2, NH 3, NH 4, NH 8, NH 17 or NH 222 to reach CST. Furthermore, you
can take BEST buses, taxis or auto-rickshaws to reach the terminus.