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