Town Hall-Asiatic Library - Mumbai
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The Town Hall-Asiatic Library is a popular architecture of Mumbai. It is the oldest library in Mumbai. Located near the Horniman Circle Town Hall, it is a huge and magnificent building in white texture. With its old parquet floors, spiral staircases, wrought iron loggias, and exquisite marble statues of forgotten city fathers, the colonnaded Town Hall is perhaps the most regal and elegant of Mumbai's heritage buildings. Further the importance of the library not just lies in the number the library accommodates but also for the rich content one can get to read. The Town Hall Library is a grand stay, and honor for the Asiatic Society.
The collection at the Town Hall Asiatic Society has been gradually being replenished by donations from members, starting 25 March 1784, when Henri Richardson gifted the Society, seven Persian manuscripts.
It houses a library with a collection of 800,000 antique volumes. One of them is a priceless first edition copy of Dante's 'Inferno.' There is also an impressive numismatic collection of over 1,000 ancient coins and a rare gold mohur belonging to the Mughal Emperor Akbar. One needs permission to look at these treasures, but the public library is open to all and usually draws a large number of senior citizens who pore over the local newspapers in the fading grandeur of its reading room.
The collection has been grouped into three departments:
(1) Printed Books and Periodicals
(2) Manuscripts and Archives and
(3) Museum Objects
The Printed Books Department further has four sections, viz;
(1) European Languages
(2) Sanskritic & other Modern Indian Languages
(3) Perso-Arabic and Urdu and
(4) Sino-Tibetan and South-Asian Languages
Printed books are there in almost all the major languages of the world. The collection contains the rare illuminated manuscript of Quran and old text of Gulistan and manuscripts of Padshanamah bearing an autograph of Emperor Shahjahan. The rich collection of the library also contains a rare collection of manuscripts and drawings of Surveyor-General Colonel Mackenzie.
Opening hours are 10:30am- 5:30pm from Monday to Saturday.
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