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India is home to a stunning diversity of indegeneous and exotic trees that gives us shade, flower, fruits, that sustain and enrich our life. In many towns and cities like Mumbai, age-old trees still exist, though with changing time many of them have been cut down in the name of development. In 1861, the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India established a botanical garden on a 35 acre plot in Byculla then called Victoria Gardens (thereafter known as Rani Bagh). On November 19, 1862 Lady Frere inagurated the Victoria Gardens set out in Renaissance Axial Planning Style, a design element preserved to this day.


The 150 year old Rani Bagh, a vital green lung for the city, is a botanists haven, with 843 plant species belonging to 149 families. Its 53-acre wooden campus sports a natural ambience with over a hundred large and small internal parks. It has the singular distinadded action of being the one city location with the largest number of trees (3,213) and the tree species (286). In 1873, as if to add to the pageantry of nature there, 15 acres were added to the Victoria Gardens to establish a small zoo.

Around the same time, the world economic recession led to the bankruptcy of Agri-Horticultural Society which ceased to exist. The erstwhile Bombay Municipality took over Victoria Gardens. Ever since then, the botanical garden and the small zoo have coexisted. In the 1990s two additional adjacent plots were acquired, bringing the total area of the park to 53 acres. The term Rani Bagh alluds to the name of the reigning British monarch at that time.

Date line

1830 : Agri-Horticulture society of Western India founded on February 11, 1830 and presided over by Sir Sydney Beckwith , the Commander-inChief and acting Governer of Bombay. 1835 :Agri-Horticulture society of Western India purchases land at Sewri for botanical garden. 1842 : Gardens properly laid out- but too far from city public enjoyment so Sewri land converted to Europeon cemetery. 1861 : In exchange of Sewri land Government gave 33 acres at Byculla to setup the botanical garden- plants from Sewri shifted to Byculla. 1862 : November 19 , 1962 Lady Frere inaugurated the new botanical garden called Victoria Gardens.

1862 : Foundation stone laid for the Victoria and Albert Museum on November 19 BY Sir Bartie Frere. 1872 : Museum opens for public. 1873 : Agri Horticultural Society goes bankrupt and ceases to exist as a result of the world economic depression so botanical garden taken over by the then Bombay Municipality. 1873 : 15 acres added to botanical garden and some animals introduced to add to the grandeur of the botanical gardentotal area 48 acres. 1969 : name changed from Victoria Gardens to Veermata jiajbai Bhosale Udyan.

1980 : name changed from Veermata jiajbai Bhosale Udyan Bhosale Udyan zoo. 1995 : Parcel B (Miller Compound) C.S. No. (city survey no.) 592-1,2,3 measuring 12,416.93sq meters aquired by giving TDR to original owners.The total area of Parcel B and Parcel C is approximately 6 acres acquired under DC Rules- Expansion of V.J.B Udyan . Therefore ,currently area of V.J.B Udyan is 53 acres.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Museum History This is the oldest Museum in Mumbai. It was started in 1872 as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum was then renamed as the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum 1975 in honour of the man whose vision and dedication ensured its establishment.. he Museum's collection showcases the Decorative Arts of India and the life and history of nineteenth century Mumbai. The idea of setting up a museum in Mumbai was mooted in 1850 when preparations were being made for the first Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations to be held in Londons Crystal Palace in 1851. Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, wanted to present to the world the industrial arts and crafts of Britains colonies and thereby stimulate trade for these products. Duplicates of Indias beautiful arts and crafts that were sent to the Great Exhibition from the Bombay Presidency formed the nucleus of the new museums collection. It was opened to the public in 1857 to much interest and curiosity. The Museums collection includes the fine and decorative arts which showcases the importance of craftsmanship practiced by various communities of the Bombay Presidency. It also has an extraordinary collection of clay models and dioramas that document the life of the people of Mumbai and the history of the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries

Architectural Restoration
The 134-year-old museum building is an extraordinary example of Palladian design. It was conceived in the grand Renaissance Revival style to showcase the importance of Mumbai as "Urbs Prima in Indis". The building and objects required comprehensive restoration. The original colours and details had been effaced. The delicate stucco and stencil work was badly damaged. The iron pillars had separated from the walls and many of the etched glass panes were broken. Electrical cables were conspicuous all over the building . Poor lighting created a dull and gloomy atmosphere. There was no narrative or any labels to explain the artefacts and the history of the collection. All this and more has been addressed in the Museums restoration

"A Renaissance Revival architectural gem, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai has been restored to its historical splendour through a pioneering public-private partnership between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. Through a holistic conservation plan, which has addressed both the museum building and the collection, the project establishes a new benchmark in the conservation of museums for India and the region. By modernising the internal infrastructure while paying careful attention to restoring the decorative details of the building, the project has demonstrated a balanced approach between the refined mastery of conservation techniques and the support of crafts skills. The project has succeeded in sparking the revival of dying techniques such as gilding and stencil work. The building now stands as a unique testimony to the development of Victorian architecture in the context of the hybrid building and crafts traditions of 19th century India, as well as to the civic traditions embodied in one of the country's earliest museums. " The 134-year-old museum building is an extraordinary example of Palladian design. It was conceived in the grand Renaissance Revival style to showcase the importance of Mumbai as "Urbs Prima in Indis".