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Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)


The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), a historic railway station formerly known as Victoria Terminus, functions as the headquarters of the Central Railway and is in the city of Mumbai, India.

The monument, designed by Fredrick William Stevens, reflects a blend of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival style and traditional Mughal style of architectures. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has become a symbol of the commercial city of India that is known as 'Gothic City' after it. Built in 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, this station lies in Mumbai's Bori Bunder area. Considered the busiest railway station in India, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) serves as a terminal for commuter trains run by the Mumbai Suburban Railways, besides long distance trains. From March 1996 the name of the station was changed to CST and is also known as VT or CSTM.


Earlier, Bori Bunder or Bori Bander, an area along Mumbai's eastern shoreline, was used mainly to store goods exported and imported from Mumbai. Locally, 'bori' means sack and 'bandar' means port. Also, in the Persian language, 'bandar' means haven. Therefore, Bori Bandar literally means a place or area used to store sacks. The Great Indian Peninsular Railway in 1850 constructed its railway terminus here and named it after the area as Bori Bunder. The first passenger train in the history of India was operated by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway on 16th April 1853. A 34-km journey connecting Bori Bandar to Thane, taking a time of 54 minutes, formally initiated the saga of Indian Railways.

The British rule saw the redesigning of the station by F. W. Stevens. It took ten years to build the station and it was named Victoria Terminus after the queen. The station was opened on the eve of golden jubilee of the Queen in 1887. The Victoria Terminus was the costliest structure built that time, at a cost of 260,000 sterling pounds. The Central Railways built the administrative headquarters and a new station in 1929 when the Victoria Terminus was handling the main rail traffic. The name Victoria Terminus was later changed in 1996 to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), commonly known as CST, by the then Minister of Railways Suresh Kalmadi.


The structure and design of the building that stands as an architectural marvel, follows the Victorian Gothic style. Influences of traditional Indian architecture are also present. The stone dome, pointed arches, the ground plan and turrets has close proximity with traditional palace structures of India. The wood carvings, ornamented brass and iron railings, grills of ticket counters, tiles, the decorated balusters of the staircases and several other ornamental works were done by students of Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art.

The 19th century station stands as an example of excellent and advanced technical and structural solutions of that time. Marked as one of the finest products of industrial and technological revolution merged with a splendid fusion of Gothic-Indian architecture, this terminus was built applying high level of civil and railway engineering. The structure includes a 330-foot-long platform, with a connected car shed that is 1,200 feet in length. The large rooms of the building, with high ceilings, are placed in a series.

The C-shaped plan of the building has symmetry about an east-west axis. The sides of the building are beautifully designed with a high central dome at the center. The dome, octagonal in shape, has a female figure holding a torch in her right hand pointing upwards, and in her left hand she holds a spoke wheel. The figure symbolizes progress. The courtyard is enclosed by side wings that open towards the streets. The central dome is balanced by the wings that have monumental turrets at each corner of the wings. Figures of lions representing Great Britain and a tiger representing India are installed at the columns of the entrance gates. Indian limestone, sandstone and Italian marbles are mainly used for decoration. Statues representing agriculture, science, commerce and engineering are installed outside. There are a total of eighteen platforms, of which eleven operate for long-distance trains and seven operate for local trains.