We were driving back from Banganga we saw a board announcing Mani Chowk. I asked my cousin if this is where Mani Bhavan is – he said yes and parked the car right there. Very sweetly allowing me to go and explore the museum even without asking. So I entered this street that looks pretty much like an upper-middle-class residential street from a smaller town of the 1980s. This is Mumbai of early 20th CE. Today is the most famous building in the street used to hosting dignitaries.
Mani Bhavan – Gandhi Sangrahalaya
I stand in front of a century-old Bungalow, impeccably preserved in subtle colors and dedicated to the father of the nation. A plaque outside the museum has the full name of the place – Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya with Bapu’s trademark Charkha on top of it. A small counter at the entrance gives information about the place. To my surprise, they say yes to photography and came in my camera. The walls all around are full of big and small information about the Mahatma like a panel had all the postage stamps dedicated to the Bapu.
Library & book conservation
Stepped inside and was delighted to see a library. A particular bookcase carried a label – Books read by Gandhi Ji. So I assumed the rest must be the books gifted to him either in his lifetime or later. After soaking in the library I entered the room on the opposite side and was delighted to see a lab to conserve the books. Old stained pages of the books were pasted on a cloth and hung for drying. Various books lay there as scattered pages. It felt like a surgical operation in progress where the parts are recognizable only to the doctor. This was the first time I was looking at a book conservation space.
I had so many questions. It was a Sunday, so the staff had an off. And I could not have my answers. So, if this part of the museum interests you, do not go on a weekend.
On the narrow wooden stairs leading to the first & second floor, I found Bapu all around. The artwork made with his images, portraits, and paintings. On the first floor is a simple auditorium where you can see films related to Bapu and even hear his speeches. On the second floor, there is a series of small dioramas depicting the life of Gandhi, highlighting the milestone events in his life. Incidentally, Bapu lived in this house off and on at the same time when he established Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. The bungalow belonged to Revashankar Jagjeevan Jhaveri. It was converted into museum post-independence. Bapu initiated many movements from here like his agitation against Rowlett Act.
Corner room of Mahatma Gandhi
Simplest and the most impressive part of this museum is the corner room of Bapu. That exuberates his simplicity with just a small bed, a writing table, few books and his favorite Charkha with open windows and doors. You are not allowed into this room, but you can see it through the glass panel. It was the visit of Obamas to the museum that brought some focus to this heritage property converted into a museum.
Open on all 7 days of the week, 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM. Closed only on Indian National holidays. No entry fees. Photography allowed. Address: Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, 19, Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, Near Malabar Hill, Mumbai – 400 007.
Every city/town/village remembers Bapu or the Father of the Nation in its own way. Mumbai city is fortunate to have a place where he lived quite often. Add it to your list of Mumbai places to visit.
Recommend you to read the following blog posts.
Satyagraha Ashram of Gandhi Ji in Ahmedabad.
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum – Celebrating the city of Mumbai
Urusvati Museum, Shikohpur – Celebrating Local Folklore
It is one of the places on my list of places I always show to my friends and guests from abroad and it always excites them to know about his life and how he lived in this place during the freedom struggle. The library is a great collection and his room is still preserved just the way it was in those days with his personal artefacts. Just love visiting this wonderful place and find it a very humbling experience whenever I visit here.
Nice place to take your guests. Something that they probably do not know about, but something that they would admire.
What a lovely place. I look forward to visiting it. Thank you.
It is lovely Kalpanaa…I simply loved the library and the book restoration room.
I visited Mani Bhawan twice. Very well displayed information. I tried to read all. Knowledge enhanced.
You are an evolved traveler Tushar Ji.
Was there in Mumbai for two months, nobody told me about the place. Hope you had written this earlier. Btw great article, very informative and good narration. Thank You.
Thanks Vivek.There is always a next time.
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Thanks Bhaskar Ji.
Visiting this place just visually was such a treat. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I love knowing more and more about histoy, historical sites and most definitely the museums. This court scene enacted by diorama is beautiful. Great work done.
Happy that you enjoyed the post.