Gargoyle of the Day

Gargoyle of the Day: Chhatrapati Shivaji (Victoria) Terminus, Mumbai, India

Gargoyles on the highest points of the Victoria Terminus Train Station, Bombay. Photo by Erik Parker via Flickr [creative commons].
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a railway station in Mumbai, India. Formerly called the Victoria Terminus, it was designed by Frederick William Stevens and constructed between 1878 and 1888, during British colonial rule of India.(1) The building is Victorian Gothic in style but also clearly reflects some characteristics of native Indian architectural traditions. According to UNESCO’s website – the station is a World Heritage Site – “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.”(2) This little ram grotesque is a perfect example of that, I think. Its general form and relationship to the building it belongs to are what I would expect for Gothic and Neo-Gothic European gargoyles and grotesques, but the low-relief details on his fur and horns remind me of ivory carvings in Indian religious art. There are also several other grotesques on the façade; you can see a canine figure in the upper left-hand corner of the photo.

Notes: (1) Wikipedia. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus”. Accessed February 7, 2016. (2) UNESCO. “Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)”. World Heritage List. Accessed February 7, 2016.

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