Formerly known as Victoria Terminus (and still called "VT" by many), this train statio, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known for its over-the-top Indo-Saracenic architecture, which blends neo-Gothic elements with Mughal and Indian features. It's Asia's busiest train station—one you may have seen in the film Slumdog Millionaire.
Although Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a working railway station, with thousands of passengers passing through every day, many people come simply to check out its ornate exterior, which features a jungle theme covered with monkeys, peacocks, and other critters. (There was once a statue of Queen Victoria on the central dome, but it's since been removed.) It's an easy spot to visit on your own, but a tour guide can point out intricacies in the architecture that you might not otherwise notice.
Things to Know Before You Go
- You may be asked to present a ticket before entering the station.
- Photographers should bring a good wide-angle lens to get the best shot.
- The station is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The easiest way to get to the railway station is, naturally, by train, and there are connections from all around the country. However, if you’re already in Mumbai you may be more interested in seeing the exterior than stepping inside; fortunately, many tours stop here and if you’re taking a taxi to Colaba or anywhere south of the station, you’ll likely drive right by.
When to Get There
The railway station, a year-round attraction, is beautiful both day and night, so there's really no ideal time to visit. However, weather may play a role in when you come; Mumbai is best avoided in its damp monsoon season and can be too hot for some people's comfort between April and June.
Indo-Saracenic Architecture Around the World
While Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is one of the world's most important examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture, it's certainly not the only one. The style is found across India, from the Madras High Court in Chennai to the Albert Hall in Jaipur. It even crops up outside of the Subcontinent from time to time, in spots like the Brighton Pavilion in England and the Old Town Hall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.