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Title : Rajabai Clock Tower Previous topic PreviousNext Next topic

Rajabai Tower is a famous clock tower located in South Mumbai.It stands in Mumbai University Fort Campus located next to the High Court.Rajabai Clock Tower was designed by an English architect, George Gilbert Scott, the experienced hand behind the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.The majestic tower holds a big clock which can be viewed from a distance.The clock also plays melodic tunes at fixed intervals. The tower has many impressive features and has been beautifully embellished with oriental figures. The Rajabai tower is dedicated to the mother of its founder, Premchand Roychand.Elevated to the height of 85 m (280 ft.), the tower took around 9 years to get constructed (1869 -1878).

It was on March 1, 1869 the first step towards the construction of the Rajabai tower was taken; the foundation stone was laid on this day. The model was based in Sir Gilbert Scott, who was an English architect. Premchand Roychand, an affluent broker who founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, agreed to fund for the construction of the tower. After the monument was built, the total cost was estimated to be Rs.2 lakh, which was an enormous amount in those days.

Rajabai tower owes its name to Premchand's mother, who was a blind woman. As Premchand's family was a strict follower of Jainism, his mother took her dinner before evening and the evening bell of the tower assisted her in determining the time without anyone's help. She would then take the dinner herself. Premchand was the sole contributor for the construction of the tower and hence wanted it to be named after his mother Rajabai.

Rajabai Clock Tower stands tall at a height of 280 feet and is adorned with ornate figures. The ground floor of the tower has two large rooms. The tower forms a 2.4 meter carriage porch (a roofed structure) and a spiral staircase lobby measuring 2.5 square meters. The staircase is beautifully engraved with attractive pictures. Over the carriage porch, the tower has a square form, raising 20.7 meters high where it changes into an octagonal shape. The height from the porch to the top of the Rajabai Clock Tower is 36 meters. It offers to the viewers a wonderful blend of the Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture. The main material used in its construction is the buff colored Kurla stone, which was easily available in Mumbai those days. The stained glass windows are among its best features and are often considered the best in the city.The tunes of "Rule Britannia", "God Save the King", "Home Sweet Home" and "A Handel Symphony" were among the sixteen tunes which were playedchanged four times a day in during the British Era.However, the glockenspiel repertoire currently plays only 'Big Ben', after every fifteen minutes.Then the tower assumes the shape of an octagon.

The tower has a spiral staircase, but is closed to the visitors due to some sad incidents. Rajabai Tower houses the library of the University, which has some of the brilliant stained glass windows in Asia. In a nutshell, Rajabai Tower is a spectacular structure that is a standing testimony to the transformation of the Mumbai as well as India.

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