Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

sights / Architecture

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus information

Mumbai , India
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Imposing, exuberant and overflowing with people, this monumental train station is the city’s most extravagant Gothic building and an aphorism for colonial-ear India. It’s a meringue of Victorian, Hindu and Islamic styles whipped into an imposing Daliesque structure of buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained-glass. As historian Christopher London put it, ‘the Victoria Terminus is to the British Raj what the Taj Mahal is to the Mughal empire’.

Some of the architectural detail is incredible, with dog-faced gargoyles adorning the magnificent central tower and peacock-filled windows above the central courtyard. Designed by Frederick Stevens, it was completed in 1887, 34 years after the first train in India left this site.

Officially renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in 1998, it’s still better known locally as VT. Sadly, its interior is far less impressive, with ugly modern additions and a neglected air – stray dogs roam around the ticket offices – despite the structure’s Unesco World Heritage Site status.