That Mumbai is the hub of creative talent in India is not debatable. Jehangir art Gallery, one of Indias foremost contemporary art galleries, cements the citys numero uno position even further. Founded in 1952 to commemorate Sir Cowasji Jehangirs late son, it has emerged as a hotspot for tourists exploring the city.
State of the art
Jehangir Art Gallery also doubles up as an auditorium, thanks to its one-of-a-kind introvert art gallery design. It was designed by Durga Bajpai and is one of the early concrete structures in the city.Recently renovated and now fully air-conditioned with humidity control, it is divided into four spaces to host smaller exhibitions. The gallery opens up with a large cantilevered entrance that touches the streets of Mumbai.
No changes have been made to the existing structure to maintain its authentic feel from the 1950s, a period akin to Rennaissance for the Indian art scene. Changes, if anything, have bene made to restore the original designs.
The Jehangir Art Gallery, following these minor renovations, is now well equipped to hold events and exhibitions. Apart from Hirji Jehangir Gallery and Open Terrace Art Gallery for Photography and Visual Art, its exhibition hall covers a sprawling 2,700 sq metres as it hosts a bevy of international art festivals and exhibitions.
Artists make a beeline
Not surprisingly, Jehangir Art Gallery is booked months, or sometimes years, in advance. Covered extensively by the media, this is one of the best platforms for any artist, new or already established.
The beauty of this art gallery, however, transcends its structure the pavement is always filled with aspiring artists selling their paintings, hoping to make it to the other side of the wall one day. But, regardless of which side of the wall they are on, their works always mesmerises us.
To encourage students to pursue their dreams in the field of arts, the gallery sponsors an annual exhibition known as the Monsoon Art Show to showcase the works of proven merit. Meritorious final year students from various art colleges of Maharashtra participate in it.
Over the years, the gallery has triggered a domino effect in terms of art activities in the area, making it the citys art hub.
Best time to visit
One of the best times to visit this legendary gallery is in February, during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, whose venue happens to be bang opposite Jehangir Art Gallery. Not that the other months arent as happening, but why settle for one when you can have twice as much fun for the same effort.
Travel Tip – Photography in Gallery is only allowed if the artist whose paintings are on display allow it.
Art and appetite
The Jehangir Art Gallery Restaurant, Samovar Caf was at one point the talk of the town. However, the place recently shut down, depriving Mumbaikars of a great option. It was a haven for struggling Bollywood artists, budding painters, poets and writers (who often got meals on debts). It was known for its wide range of paranthas, tangy and zesty chutneys and its iconic Masala Chai.
Natesan’s, Indias oldest and probably the only licensed art collector, is housed inside the Jehangir Art Museum. Itis a paradise for antique lovers as here lie several stone, wood, terracotta and bronze sculptures (pictures of which you would have seen only in your history books back in school). The store is proud to have some of the most ancient art works available in the country today. From 5th and 6th century stone sculptures to Christian artifacts of the 20th century, wooden carvings, Tanjore paintings and rare terracotta sculpture belonging to the 2nd century Kushan dynasty, Natesan’s hasit all! People from all over India come to this hotspot for ancient antique art.
Restaurants near the gallery
One of the most iconic restaurants-cum-bars in Mumbai, itsartistic walls flaunt classic comic strips by Mario Miranda and the ambiance is just unmatchable. Do try their Classic Bolognaise and Vegetable Grilled Sandwich.
Cost for two: Rs 1300
Address: 5-A, Metro House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Colaba Causeway, Colaba, Mumbai
This old school restaurant serves some finger-licking seafood and Mangalorean cuisine. Their outstanding crab dishes, Hyderabadi Fish Tikka and Prawn Koliwada cannot be missed.
Cost for two: Rs 3500
Address: 7, Sai Baba Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
If you want to have some authentic royal north Indian food, head straight to this place! Their Biryanis and naans are highly recommended.
Cost for two: Rs 1500
Address: K Dubash Marg, Near Jahangir Art Gallery, Kalaghoda,Fort, Mumbai
This place is known for serving the best nachos in town (loaded with cheese)! They also have some delicious pizzas and pastas.
Cost for two: Rs 800
Address: 18, Har Govindas Building, K Dubhas Marg, Kala Ghoda,Fort, Mumbai
A pool table, free wifi and a DJ booth, what more do you need to unwind and relax? They have an interesting menu which fuses Indian dishes with western sensibilities.
Cost for two: Rs 1500
Address: 145, Kala Ghoda,Fort, Mumbai
The gallery opens at 11 am every day and shuts down at 7 pm. Entry is free of charge.
Jehangir Art Gallery, 161 Kalaghoda
By road: The two huge stations in South Mumbai, CST and Churchgate, are both equidistant to the gallery. Its a good 10-minute walk from these stations, but you can either share a kaalipeeli or take a cab of your own.
By bus:Onecan easily access Shyam Prasad Mukherjee chowk in Kala Ghoda, Fort by private or state bus services.
If you want more information, visit their official website and events calendar