Town Hall (Asiatic Society Library)

Town Hall (Asiatic Society Library), Mumbai: Address, Phone Number, Town Hall (Asiatic Society Library) Reviews: 4/5

Town Hall (Asiatic Society Library)

Town Hall (Asiatic Society Library)
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Neighborhood: South Mumbai
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4.0
72 reviews
Excellent
22
Very good
37
Average
12
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Vivek Dhadha
Mumbai, India3,936 contributions
Solo
This unmissable classical marvel has been the seat of learning and inquiry over the centuries.

Recently it has become the favourite spot for photo shoots.

You will find several students along with retired folk in Asiatic society and it’s treasured library.
Written February 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nergish2014
Pune, India154 contributions
Friends
Though i did not go inside, I was captivated by the magnificence of this building from the sighting point at Horniman Circle. It is a bit like buildings built in Greco-British style but hard to categorise. Also it appeared to be excellently maintained. one of Bombay's leading attractions in my opinion!
Written January 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

NIR006
Mumbai, India393 contributions
Solo
Built more than a century ago...it feels great to sit down on its steps in the evening and watching the double decker buses go by...
This landmark has been prominently showcased in many Bollywood movies over generations...Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Singham Returns..being amongst the recent ones...
Its inspiring and impressive...a must-see for any Mumbaikar
Written September 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

gigikami
Melbourne46 contributions
Solo
I went to the Asiatic Society to study, and with the idea that it might be nice to be a life member. The library is very pretty, and I love to visit them and study in a new place, especially when I have a giant paper due. Firstly, the library opens at 9:30am, but they don't tell you the Periodicals Room isn't finished being swept for an hour, so cool your jets in the foyer, and you must check your bag, so take out the laptop, all of your books and papers and lug them around, dangerously in peril of dropping to the parquetry floor. When you finally go in to the Periodicals Room balancing all your work you are told you need to be a member, yes, that was the plan. How do I do that? You need to fill out a membership form. May I have one? No, you need to talk to this lady. Where is the membership form please? 10 minues of confusion ensue. Not here. Well can I get one? We don't keep them here. They are kept on the other side of the library. Annoying but off I go. The membership form people do not arrive until 11am, and you need a passport (a current driver's license, with more information on it than a passport, is not good enough). She who treks around Mumbai with her passport in her bag is a sitting duck. That's what safes are for, aren't they? Also, we can't let you into the Periodicals Room, because you have to avail yourself of the references in the Periodicals Room with a daily student membership. You CAN NOT use your own psychology references, the internationally recognised, peer reviewed papers I have balanced in my arms and on my laptop (this seems ridiculous, and maybe a ruse to get me to leave). Perhaps I may use one of your references...(a ruse of my own to checkmate)...Can I become a life member? Yes, but...it takes a few weeks (checkmate). I'm leaving. Instead why don't you use the public library? Unhappy, but desperately needing to study, I go over and I could have used it from 9:30am - it's now 11:30. There is a large central area to sit in. Within seconds I am approached by a man and told to leave the area. Sorry, why? This section is for men! I say I'm sorry, this is just for men (I am utterly confused now)? Yes! Several men reading nothing but magazines scowl at me - get out! and point. Can a woman sit there? No. There? No. There? No. Only there - he points to a corner. That is the women's only section. It is a tiny corner of this giant glamorous library, hidden behind some junk-looking book cases so females have no view of the beautiful library which I am now starting to loathe, under fans blowing so hard you lose your hearing, and on ROUND plastic padded tables with broken lights in the center. It is designed to make your study impossible, and meanwhile there are a few miserable men sitting in the giant beautiful space reading magazines lounging on the lovely antique furniture. I loudly declare my horror at the pathetic space allocated to women, and tell the library that it is disgusting that so few men are doing nothing in the library but taking up the oxygen (to the delight of the two sweet ladies in the segregated section). A more sexist display I have never seen. I am all for cultural empathy, but this is 2018, not 1950. How on earth can the women of India progress if they are treated like this in a PUBLIC LIBRARY? Give it a miss if you are a woman. If you are a jerk, who likes to sit around reading magazines, basking in the glory of your flaccid nether-regions, and contemplating your naval, this is the place for you.
Written August 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Debarati D
Navi Mumbai, India1,748 contributions
Couples
Town Hall (called Tondal in the 19th century) is one of the most majestic structures among the heritage buildings in the city of Mumbai. One can say that this building represents one of the last architectural remnants of the Victorian Bombay (Mumbai). The Town Hall houses the 'Asiatic society of Bombay' (Mumbai), which is a public state library in the city. The Asiatic Society of Bombay, a learned society in the field of Asian studies, traces its origin to the Literary Society of Bombay which first met in Mumbai on November 26, 1804, and was founded by Sir James Mackintosh. It was formed with the intention of "promoting useful knowledge, particularly such as is now immediately connected with India". After the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was established in London in 1823, the Literary Society of Bombay became affiliated with it and was known as the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS) since 1830. The Bombay Geographical Society merged with it in 1873, followed by the Anthropological Society of Bombay in 1896. In 1954, it was separated from the Royal Asiatic Society and renamed the Asiatic Society of Bombay.It is said that the Asiatic got many of its valuable books from authors and researchers who spent countless hours sitting in its halls writing their books. The literary renaissance of Western India started at the Asiatic Library.

The building itself was completed in 1833. The entire construction was made of stones brought from England and was beautifully designed in a neo-classical fashion. Within the building, the floors are covered in ancient wood, the staircases are spiral and the terraces are adorned with beautiful wrought iron. The vestibule, and the Durbar Hall of the Asiatic Society are dotted with statues, busts and portraits of the outstanding scholars, administrators and philanthropists who contributed to the society, through their research papers, through donating money and their collections of rare books, manuscripts and other antiquities.

There is a flight of 30 steps leading to a portico with eight doric columns which is the entrance of the Town Hall. This staircase is a popular venue for still photography and film/ad shoots. Elsewhere in the building photography is not allowed. The library has over a hundred thousand books out of lots of them are classified as rare and valuable. Apart from priceless articles, ancient manuscripts in Persian, Sanskrit and Prakrit, it also has a collection of rare coins. Permission is required to see these collectibles. Being a public library, it has a free reference library and reading room, open to everyone. In addition, it has over 200 newspapers from across the country for people to read. Some sections of the library are open only for members.

I visited this place to attend a workshop organised during the Kala Ghoda festival.The vestibule entrance towards the left of the building, has a wrought iron divided regency staircase adorned with an amazing statue of the 19th century philanthropist Jagannath Sunkarseth. After making way through endless rows of books, one comes across the magnificent durbar hall towards the back of the building. It is used for hosting exhibitions,lectures and workshops. Oval in shape with fabric covered walls and a scheme of natural lighting, the durbar hall is topped by a dome. The roof is adorned with beautiful chandeliers and oil paintings of prominent personalities adorn the walls.

This relic of our Colonial history faces a severe fund crunch. Certain areas have been rented out to Govt. offices like the Stamp Office. Some time ago, an 'adopt a book' scheme has been introduced to collect funds from the public. Active public support is required to preserve this beautiful legacy. There is lack of sufficient display information for visitors to this building. There is no reason why photography cannot be allowed in selected areas for a price instead of the current system where govt permission is reqd.
Written February 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Enthusiastraveller
Mumbai, India134 contributions
Solo
This Asiatic library hall is very old and iconic. It is very near the Horniman circle and to the Churchgate railway station.It hosts of various no. of books inside out of which there are old and rare books collection as well. Its a good visit for the readers and is nicely maintained as well.
Written October 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

HarshitShah
Mumbai, India250 contributions
Family
The Library, Historic importance or Film location, whatever it be place is worth visit. We have seen this place in Hindi movies as High Court (Tezaab), Bluff master, Munna Bhai MBBS and till date it is still managed and maintained very well.
Written May 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

weeblepimkin
Cheltenham, UK239 contributions
Family
Went with my mum into the library. had always admired it from outside since its a majestic well maintained structure. We browsed through picture books of 19th century British India prints which was a really fulfilling two hours. Tons of old books and all the latest newspapers. A treat!
Written January 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

gammo
Mumbai, India299 contributions
Solo
I work nearby and often drop in for a quick look at the various newspapers available.
The building is now well maintained and really is one of British India's gifts to the city.
Also the library houses many beautiful old rare books.
Written December 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Balakrishnan I
Thane, India697 contributions
Solo
I go across this place daily en route to my office. Nice Arranged interiors. Loads of Books and Periodicals for enrichment of knowledge. Best thing is you are allowed to sit inside and view the books on production of ID proof, no need to be a member. Since it is situated on the main road, the place is always buzzing with activity. However if you are inside the library, the outside noise is totally silenced
Written September 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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