Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates bunker museum at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai

Published: Aug 18, 2019, 14:29 IST | mid-day online correspondent

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday inaugurated the underground 'Bunker Museum' at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. See video

Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates bunker museum at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the underground Bunker Museum at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai. Pic/Twitter

President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the underground 'Bunker Museum' at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on Sunday. The underground bunker museum is 15,000 square feet and it has virtual reality booths in which visitors can "time travel" to the 19th century. According to a state government official, the bunker was created in the 19th century to fire cannons at approaching enemy ships. There is another section depicts the history of Raj Bhavan.

Watch Video of President inaugurating Bunker Museum

The Press Information Bureau on Twitter wrote, The President of India was briefed about the conservation work by which the underground bunker has been restored and developed for adaptive reuse as a museum with Virtual Reality booths and the museum will open for the general public through prior online booking later during the year. [sic]

Among those present during Sunday's function were Savita Kovind, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state Minister for Revenue and Public Works Chandrakant Patil and Minister for Higher and Technical Education Vinod Tawde.

The underground British-era bunker was discovered by Governor CH. Vidyasagar Rao in August 2016. Having remained closed for nearly six decades, the bunker had suffered extensive wear and tear due to seepage from the overhead lawn.

The Press Information Bureau reveals the following: As the bunker is part of the history and heritage of Raj Bhavan and also because a part of it lies below the 'Jal Bhushan' the office and residence of Governor, there was a need to conserve the bunker in a way that did not compromise the safety of the building and at the same time provided an opportunity to people to visit the historic site.

After conducting the structural audit of the bunker, the structural strengthening of the bunker was carried out. The works included water-proofing and grouting, electrification, air-conditioning and curation of the museum.

The bunker has 13 rooms of different sizes. It opens with a 20-ft tall majestic gate. Towards the entrance, the structure resembles a fort. When opened, the bunker had rooms bearing names such as Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump, Central Artillery Store, Workshop, etc. The entire underground bunker was found to have a proper drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light.

While taking up the Conservation works it was ensured that all the original features of the bunker are restored and also it is developed for adaptive reuse as a museum by incorporating virtual reality on the themes of Cannon-firing experience, history of Raj Bhavan and a glimpse of the forts of Maharashtra.

Dioramas of cannons and soldiers, optical illusions of a bunker of infinite length and cannons have also been created inside the museum.

Also Read: President Ram Nath Kovind narrates Mahatma Gandhi's life on Quit India Movement's anniversary

Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from Press Information Bureau and IANS

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In Pictures: British-era bunker discovered under Raj Bhavan
  • 1/11
    The bunker that had been closed for several decades was discovered by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. All pics courtesy @Dev_Fadnavis/ Twitter
  • 2/11
    Devendra Fadnavis and the governor visited the place, and the Maharashtra chief minister even tweeted a video of their visit
  • 3/11
    The Governor, accompanied by his wife Vinodha, visited the bunker yesterday after which the Governor expressed his intention to consult experts from various fields to preserve it
  • 4/11
    There are also scores of Lamp Recesses in the gangway
  • 5/11
    The Raj Bhavan, formerly known as ‘Government House’ served as the residence of British Governors since 1885 when Lord Reay turned it into a permanent residence. Prior to 1885, it served as the Summer Residence of the British Governors. The Government House at Parel served as the Governor’s residence before 1885
  • 6/11
    Even though the Bunker was apparently closed after Independence, it was found to be surprisingly intact
  • 7/11
    About three months ago, when old-timers informed the Governor that there exists a tunnel inside Raj Bhavan, the Governor asked to get it opened
  • 8/11
    On August 12, when the staff of the Public Works Department at Raj Bhavan broke open a temporary wall that closed the entrance to the bunker on the Eastern side, they were surprised
  • 9/11
    Instead of an underground tunnel, an entire barrack with 13 rooms of different sizes was found. The bunker opens with a 20-ft tall gate and a ramp on the Western side. There are long passages and small to medium rooms on either side
  • 10/11
    The bunker is spread over an area of more than 5,000 square feet has rooms bearing the names Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump, Workshop etc
  • 11/11
    Interestingly the entire underground bunker has a drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light

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