Bhau Daji Lad Museum-Part I (Mumbai - Maharashtra)

The day of my cousin's wedding, the evening was free and on a single evening, with the very short time left, all I could venture was within the city and the first option came to my mind was 'Bhau Daji Lad Museum'.
This is the oldest museum in Mumbai, opened up to public on May 2, 1872. It was then curated by Sir George Birdwood and was then called Victoria & Albert Museum, under British Raj. Later on in 1975, in Independent India, it was renamed Dr.Bhau Daji Lad Museum. It was then in a very bad condition which was renovated in 2003 with a joint venture of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Jamanlal Bajaj Foundation and INTACH. Thanks to this joint venture, later on in 2005 it received the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Excellence in Conservation! The INTACH Conservation Lab and Documentaion Centre in the Museum has taken all efforts to restore all products with its old world charm not taken away!
As soon as I entered the first section was the Industrial Art Gallery. Within this first were some assorted stones like agate, cat’s eye etc, a lot of semi precious stones and unusually shaped ones or unusually colored ones! One thing that attracted me was a chess board with its coins sculpted out of 2 different colored stones! This was followed by shell, lac, bone china, coconut shell etc. 
The bone china section had a very ethereal white & gold sleeping Buddha! After that was horns section! That was pretty unusual for me. I hadn’t seen one before that. Horn is a tapering, cylindrical structure - to engrave and sculpt an intricate sculpture in it, blew my mind off!
Then came a section of Ganjifa Cards. There’s something about Ganjifa cards that I always adore! You already know, I’ve always adored frescoes than sculptures. Similarly, painting than miniatures!!! Ganjifa cards are circular cards made of hand-made paper and painted atop. The concept is similar to the regular playing cards. But much bigger in size and the patterns to number the cards is inspired by Indian Miniature painting. So obviously they’re intricate and exquisite.

Then there were some Papier Mache works followed by Soap Stone works. When compared to granite, soap stone is easier to work with. The intricacy of the plant and the hollow within the shell of the tortoise sculpture were just awesome!

This was followed by some metal works, incl. Bell Metal works, Copper works, Armory etc. I've seen Bidriware earlier, however seeing them in close quarters and learning its process was new to me. It originated in Bidar, Karnataka. Its metalware made of an alloy of zinc and copper which is inlaid with silver in a decorative intricate design. That  results in a glimmering silver against the black of zinc & copper.
Then there were some bronzes and brass. Here again what attracted me was a Vishnu Lamp. This kind of lamp is common with a comman man or lady but not Vishnu himself holding the lamp. 

Then were some ivory works, textiles, miniature paintings, writings on rice grain etc.
Ok, that's a lot for now. Continuing in next post!

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Rani Bagh,
91/A, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road,
Byculla East, Mumbai - 400027
Ph: +91 22 2373 1234
Working hours: 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM except Wednesdays
Nearest Railway Station: Byculla in Central Line and Mahalaxmi & Mumbai Central in Western Line of Mumbai Local


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Victoria Museum??? For a minute i thought this was something else from the the way the locals still call it by the old name...and Yes...its a pretty fantastic collection there...especially the carved horns....wonder how much culture we lost during the british invasion..

    1. Yes, it takes quite a long time for the locals to get used to the new name.
      After the British Raj, several names like these got changed.
      Price of Wales Museum became Chatrapati Shivaji Sangrahalaya
      Victoria Terminus (VT) became Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
      Koliwada station became Guru Tej Bahadur (GTB) Nagar station.
      Yeah, indeed the collections are marvelous.
      And yeah we lost a lot. But things are getting revived.
      General public have to be sensitized on our rich culture...

  2. Although I had been to Mumbai innumerable times, I never had an opportunity of visiting this museum. I still know it as Albert Museum and the new name never gets registered. Thank you so much for bringing the exhibits so lively for our benefit.

    1. PNS Sir, you must visit. It wont take much time.
      Its a small museum. But each n every piece is to be seen for its utmost detail.

  3. Nice shots . They allow a camera inside?

  4. Hello my dear good friend Bhusha
    With your eye catching and charming dress and matching accessories you must have been the cynosure of all eyes at the cousins wedding. You coverage of the Museum is superb accompanied by some wonderful photographs. Wonder what was wrong with the original name: Victoria & Albert Museum - name changes take away the original charm and the associated history.

    Thanks for sharing
    Cheers and best wishes Ram

    1. Thank you for your kind appreciation Ramakrishnan Sir.
      What was wrong was that it was British!
      Glad you liked my coverage on the Museum! :)

  5. Nice pictures with good write up...

  6. Wow, that museum has some brilliant displays. Nice post Bhusha.

    1. Thanks Niranjan. Very few displays but each n every one was very special! :)

  7. good to see they allow cameras...enjoyed this post!.

    1. Yeah. Even I didn't expect them to allow camera. But they did!!! :)


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