The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. It is an outstanding example of the meeting of two cultures, as British architects worked with Indian craftsmen to include Indian architectural tradition and idioms thus forging a new style unique to Bombay.
This famous terminal also displays the beauty of late 19th century railway architecture in the British Commonwealth characterized by its advanced structural and technical solutions. It has become an inseparable part of the people of Mumbai as the station operates both suburban and long distance trains. This magnificent terminus serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways in India and is one of the busiest stations of the nation. There are bas reliefs of the 10 directors of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company on the facade. Ornamented panels displaying peacocks, monkeys, elephants and British lions are mixed up among the buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows that are rich in primary colours. There are four gateways to the main entrance and the rectangular yard in front, maintains an ornamental garden on one side. The wood carving, tiles, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills for the ticket offices, the balustrades for the grand staircases and other ornaments were the work of students at the Bombay School of Art. The cantilevered staircase that leads to the dome, the large spacious booking hall with its pointed arcades, glazed tiles, stained glass and wooden vaulted ceilings are other fine examples of art and engineering.