One of the most beautiful and most impressive railway buildings can be found in Mumbai. The construction was started in 1878, and continued for 10 years. An impressive building was erected, named after Queen Victoria – Victoria Terminus. It was designed by Frederick William Stevens, in a style that combined Neo-Gothic and Indian architecture.
The building is one the first and most outstanding examples of a fusion between the results of the Industrial Revolution and Neo-Gothic architecture with late medieval Italian influence. The exterior shell, whose main elements – the dome, turrets, and arcades – relate to traditional Indian palace architecture, is built on a C-shaped plan, symmetrical on an east-west axis.
The focal point of the building is the octagonal ribbed dome, with a female statue symbolising progress. In her raised right hand she is holding a torch pointing upwards, and in her left hand – a train wheel. The side wings – each with four turrets – enclose the courtyard with the main entrance to the building, ornamented by the statues of a lion – the symbol of Great Britain, and a tiger – an allegory of India.
The façade of the station features well-proportioned rows of arches and windows with bas-reliefs and friezes. It is built from India sandstone and limestone, while Italian marble was used for the key ornamental elements. The main interiors are also decorated – designed as spacious rooms with high ceilings. The ground floor of the north wing, known as the Star Chamber (used as the booking office), is embellished with Italian marble and polished Indian granite. The stone arches are covered with grotesque ornaments.
Due to Indian policy of changing geographical names, in 1996 the station was renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji, to commemorate a 17th century founder of the Marthashtra state. In 2004, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.