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Mani Bhavan, Mumbai

20 August 2008 23 Comments

If any visitor asks me for an unusual place in Mumbai that should not be missed out, it got to be Mani Bhawan among others. Though Mumbai is a big city, it has very few historical places or heritage centers unlike in Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur etc. to see.

The Mani Bhawan is an old building, which was once home to one of the most famous icons of the century, Mahatma Gandhi. Mani Bhawan was Gandhiji’s residence when he was staying in Mumbai and was an integral part of India’s freedom movement. This monument is located on the Laburnum Road in Gamdevi, one of the most serene localities in the city.

This heritage structure has now been transformed into a museum and research center that now houses a reference library with over 50000 books and a photo exhibition of the Mahatma’s life.
The ground floor has well equipped library with catalogue shelves of old time. The rest of the museum displays and the auditorium are on the upper floors.

A portion of the library

One of the most valuable possessions of Mani Bhawan is the charkha or the spinning wheel that Mahatma Gandhi used. The charkha subsequently became the symbol of the values and principles of Mahatma Gandhi. This is kept in a room which used to be Gandhiji’s living room and working space and has been preserved as far as possible in its original setting.

Everything was glass covered including this room. I tried my best to capture the shots but still you can see some reflections here & there.

But the main reason why I went there was to see the life of Mahatma Gandhi being portrayed thorough hundreds of well crafted figurines. When I was young I always liked to play with dolls and when I saw the photos of these figurines, my desire to visit the place was doubled.

Taking mother’s permission to go abroad for higher studies

The craftsperson who made it possible is Susheela Gokhale Patel. She was a leading figure in the progressive movement in the sixties and a handicraft artiste. She is known for her portrayal of the history of the freedom struggle through hand-made doll-sized figures which are now part of the museum Mani Bhavan.
As you can see in the photos, she has put life in these figurines taking care of the minutest details. And if you don’t know she also happens to be the grand mother of Bollywood actress Amisha Patel.

Some pictures to speak of the place. I have more than 50 pictures of this museum. Will publish some more later.

Being thrown out of the first class coach in South Africa

Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March

When Kasturba breathed her last as an inmate

Hey Ram !! Last moment in his life

The Mani Bhawan is one of the most precious historic possessions of the city and reflects the days of India’s struggle and triumph over injustice and is nicely maintained.
What I observed was that we were the only Indians to visit it, all others were foreign nationals. Does that mean we are well saturated about our country’s history ? Just a thought.. ..

How to reach there:- Reach Grant Road station, walk towards Rama Bai road near Gamdevi police station. It is a 5 minute walk from the station.
Entry:- Entry is free and the museum is open on all the seven days.
Timing:- 10 AM to 6 PM

Technorati Tags:-Mani Bhavan Mumbai India Museum

 


23 Comments »

  • lakshmi said:

    been there many many years ago …thanks for bringing back the memories

  • Abhijit said:

    One of my favorite places to visit in Mumbai! Thanks for sharing :-)

  • anoop aka --xh-- said:

    thanks for sharing this – i will make it a point to visit there whn i come to mumbai… :)

  • Vands said:

    hey that sure sounds like a lovely place to visit, im pakka gonna try and visit when i come to mumbai…
    and i so badly wanna go to mumbai :(

  • Anil said:

    It’s a humbling experience to visit Mani Bhavan, been there thrice, and each time I feel that way.

  • Priyank said:

    Would you believe that I’ve never been to this place :)

  • Author said:

    Lakshmi,
    You are welcome. I’ll also visit it many times.

    Abhijit,
    You are welcome. Actually, long time back I had seen one photo on your blog & since then I wanted to visit this place. :D

    Anoop,
    You are welcome. Yes, worth a visit.

    Vandita,
    Yeah, worth a visit. You will remember me to have recommnded this. :P

    Anil,
    Oh wow !! After a long time !!
    Yes, I know I’ll also visit it many times.

    Priyank,
    Oh that’s a news for me !!

  • Sarah Laurence said:

    What a fabulous library! I too am fascinated by Mahatma Gandhi. I’d imagine the figurines would be a great way to tell a story to visitors of many languages.

  • Anrosh said:

    Nisha , glad you left a comment back at Indian yarn. I can trace you back any time. Long time ago I wrote something on Bombay/Mumbai – as the locals know it. Here it goes -

    http://thetwentysecondline.blogspot.com/search/label/mumbai .

    I don’t have any photographs to accompany it and have missed out much, but since you travel – thought you would have more to add that I may not know.
    Anrosh

  • Nisha said:

    Anrosh,
    I saw that amazing list & left a comment too.
    I haven’t done even half of it. Mumbai has lot more to see & experience.

    First I want to visit Dharavi slums.

  • anrosh said:

    thanks for the comment nisha on the blog. i thought you had more to add.

    i was in dharavi for 7 days, doing data collection for BMC but could not complete the whole place – . now i hear that the whole place is going to be renovated with towers coming up. and i am not surprised to hear that the lower parel ( the mills area – is now a mall.

    you would be surprised to know that i chanced about mani bhavan. i was going to gamdevi police station . and then there is a red light area near that place – the name does not come to my mind immediately — all this was more than 15 years ago —and i had no camera to capture, but as i write every thing comes to my mind like a movie. it would have been wonderful to have the images of ‘then’and “now” -

    And the best part is I did all this travelling on buses and trains and eating on the streets and alone .

    do u know the raj kapoor movie “around the movie in one dollar” – so i went around bombay with just the money for the tickets for transportation, etc etc

    i guess every place is very fascinating if we walk in that locality. NY city boroughs is as exciting as bombay with its distinct local flavor block by block . i am never tired of them just as I was never tired in bombay ( of course i was tired literally with the sweat and the rush and the push of the bus and trains and waiting for them in the humidity and sweltering sun —

    there you go – i wrote more than a comment, didn’t i.
    .-= anrosh´s last [post] ....from the garden to your cup: An assamese tea leaf picker. =-.

  • anrosh said:

    nisha,
    can you delete one of the 2 comments. my notebook ran out of battery and i didn’t realise that it went through the first time –
    thanks
    .-= anrosh´s last [post] ....from the garden to your cup: An assamese tea leaf picker. =-.

  • Namita said:

    I’ve been to Mumbai several times but never to Mani Bhawan. Next time I’ll try to visit it.
    .-= Namita´s last [post] ..Coral Island – Pattaya =-.

  • neeraj said:

    Hi, nice post. I will surely visit this place on my next visit to Mumbai… haven’t read about this anywhere list.

    Can you recommend me 3 other places in Mumbai (other than the usual Marine Drive, Gateway, Banganga and juhu/girgaon beach)? :D Thanks!
    neeraj´s last [post] ..Picture of the Week 55

  • Abhishek Bhardwaj said:

    I am a strong believer of Gandhijis preachings.
    Here in Delhi we have his house Birla Bhawan.
    I went there when i visited Delhi some months back but it was closed.
    Would surely visit Mani Bhawan when i visit Mumbai sometime.
    Abhishek Bhardwaj´s last [post] ..KRK – The Man !

  • Nisha said:

    Abhishek:
    It’s a wonderful inspirational place, do visit it when you are in town. :)

  • Nisha said:

    Neeraj:
    Sorry for this late reply. :)

    I am still collecting places that are unusual or uncommon places. I will surely make a list here.

  • Arti said:

    Its amazing how you always miss those places that are closest to you! Living in Mumbai, still never visited his place :( High time I did!
    Arti´s last [post] ..The Badrinath Temple

  • Nisha said:

    @Arti,
    I hope you’ve visited it now. :)

  • Bindhu Unny said:

    Interesting, Nisha. We never visited Mani Bhavan. Should do it soon. :)

  • Nisha said:

    Bindhu,
    Do visit it. More than anything else, I liked the figurines part. :)

  • C.R.PRAKASH said:

    I am still collecting places that are unusual or uncommon places. I will surely make a list here.

  • Nisha said:

    CR Prakash,

    Then you might find some interesting posts here. :-) http://www.lemonicks.com/Travel/tag/unusual/
    Nisha´s last [post] ..Hello from Mauritius

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