The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation building in South Mumbai. Photo: Dinodia Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
For the first time in over a hundred years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is opening the doors to its grand headquarters for tourists. Located in South Mumbai, the building, with its gothic architecture and a dome rising over 200ft, stands tall opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Constructed in 1893, it is a regular sight for many Mumbaikars, who pass by it every day on their commute to work. But for the first time, they can step inside for a guided tour.
Take a heritage tour of Mumbai’s BMC Headquarters
The special tour, titled “Urbs Prima—Inside the BMC Headquarters”, will be open for the entire month of February. The title has been chosen keeping in mind what Mumbai used to be known as: “urbs prima in Indis”—the first city in India. The tour is organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and curated by Khaki Tours, which has been conducting heritage walks and experiences in Mumbai since 2015. It will take a deep dive into the building’s architecture to reveal fascinating facts about the gilded dome and its design as well as some lesser-known elements like a floating staircase and a hidden source of water.
Beyond the architecture, the tour will also take tourists through the storied history of the city and the corporation, which, in many ways, embodies the growth and aspirations of Mumbai. “We have collapsed a history of almost 300 years into a one hour tour,” says Bharat Gothoskar, founder of Khaki Tours. “It is not just about the building—it is about the people who have worked here and the events that have led to the growth and democratisation of the municipality.” Visitors will get a tour of the museum and learn about the “urbs prima in Indis” statue, a winged angel representative of the city, which was then known as Bombay. Those who can, also have the opportunity to go up to the inner dome and get an inside view of the structure.
“This is the first time in 128 years that people can enter the building to see it for themselves,” Gothoskar told CNT. “Mumbai is one of the few cities with a lot of living heritage, and that really is a beautiful thing. We want to show people that history is not just in books. It is also just round the corner in the roads and buildings you pass by every day.”
Register for the tour here