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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Rajabai Tower

As a student of Mumbai University, I always regretted the fact that I never had to visit the beautiful campus at Fort, commuting to the Kalina campus instead. Every time I was in town, I walked along the Fort Campus, looking up at the clock tower, slowing down to take a closer look at the convocation hall. At one time, I remember hoping that I would enter that beautiful hall for receiving my degree, but that hope too came to naught, since the premises were too small, and we were handed our degrees by a harassed clerk who couldn't care less about the momentous occasion! I digress, however, for this post is not about my degree, but about the majestic clock tower of Mumbai University - Rajabai Tower, which I recently photographed on a visit to the University.

The Rajabai Tower is our very own version of the Big Ben. It was modeled on the famous clock tower by its architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. It was built over a period of over 9 years, from 1868-1879, at a cost of about 2 lakh rupees, the entire cost borne by the one of the founders of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Premchand Roychand, under the condition that the tower be named after his mother, Rajabai. 

It is said that Rajabai was blind, and, as a staunch Jain, she had to eat her dinner before sunset. The chimes of the clock helped her do so without anyone's help!

During the British Rule, the clock played a total of 16 tunes, which were changed 4 times a day. According to Wikipedia, today, the clock chimes only one tune, every 15 minutes, something I haven't noticed! So, the next time you find yourself in town near the Fort Campus, see if you can hear it!


  1. Interesting. Never heard of it before.

  2. Lovely pictures and interesting history. How nice it would be to have it as part of your university premises or maybe like everything else we might then take it for granted?

  3. Mishtee took this structure for her scrap book. I've promised to take her to visit it. In addition to the above information, we also read that it has very beautiful stained glass windows.

  4. you would have seen the clock tower, Indrani...this is just its official name

  5. Its a beautiful building, Mridula not just this one but the whole campus is beautiful! it still hosts the old library. unfortunately, it was built for the univ of the early 1900s and woefully lacks space, so the whole campus has been shifted to huge but boring premises near Kurla... but as u say, it might be taken for granted! as it is, i had to take a taxi that day since i was in a hurry, and the taxi chap didnt know the univ... when we finally reached, he insisted that this was not the 'vidyapeeth' - it was on the other side of the road, according to him!

  6. u need permission to enter, Sonal.. unfortunately... u can go to the convo hall if there is some exhibition or they wont allow u inside... and even then only certain parts of the building are open for us.. security is strict post 26/11 :( all u can do is see it from outside... and even then they dont allow u to stand there for long. i clicked these while waiting for the bus opp... and yes, the stained glass windows are awesome! tell mishtee to take up arts in the univ  (PG level) and then she can go to their beautiful library... outsiders arent given permission any more :(

  7. After reading the title of the post I was leasurely and I was scrolling down beacuse the photographs were loading slowly. I was perplexed to see the beauty caught by you. The tower is a familiar sight but I could never imagine that they look so beautiful at night. Thanks.

  8. I lived close to it for a couple of years and always used to admire this landmark! Thanks for the brief history and refreshing my memory

  9. Very beautiful shots of the lovely tower Anu. The night lights give it a completely different orientation and look.

  10. Thanks a lot, Zephyr! I was surprised too... had never seen it lit up!

  11. Thanks PNS! Neither could I imagine the place all lit up!

  12. Awesome blog with nice and interesting information.


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