nadia masood

Mumbai GPO: The Largest Post Office in India

nadia masood

This impressive building of the Mumbai General Post Office is just a few steps away from the grand CST Station.  It’s difficult to get a decent shot since the trees are blocking the front view of the building.  Speaking of trees, one of the several things that truly impressed me about Mumbai is its greenery.  There are LOTS of trees everywhere.  Old trees.

Anyway, so we went on a Monday.  Though it was a holiday, since the Hindus were celebrating the festival of lights, the post office was open, most probably for last minute mailing of greeting cards.

nadia masood

It was designed by British architect John Begg in 1902.  Construction began on September 1, 1904.  It was completed on March 13, 1913 at a cost of Rs. 1,809,000.

This building is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, representing a synthesis of Muslim designs and Indian materials.  Black basalt, with a dressing of yellow Kurla stone and white stones from Dhrangdra are the predominant materials used.

nadia masood

The interiors are equally impressive, but both Masood and I hesitated to take photographs.  There is a massive dome at the center, and I noticed several paintings of rulers hanging on the walls. There is also a small exhibit of old stamps and letters.

While we were busy taking photographs just outside the post office, I young boy – around 5 years old – approached us.  He had unkempt hair and wore old clothes.  He looked at us with his huge, innocently pleading eyes, and said, ‘Photo.’  We just smiled and started walking away, when I told Masood that we should probably take his picture;  it’ll make the child happy.  I was sure he was fascinated by the camera we were holding.  Either that, or he loved having his picture taken.

So we turned and walked towards the boy.  The moment he saw us, he came running, with this broad smile on his face.  And I was like, ‘Awww!’  But the moment Masood pointed the camera at him and started to focus, we heard a woman’s voice (who had been sitting nearby but we barely noticed a while ago) say something like, ‘Paisey do.’  Give money.

I grabbed Masood’s arm, and we left.  Why should we pay her for taking the picture of her son that we didn’t need or want?  All we had intended to do was make a child happy, yet this had all been a way of getting money from tourists.

So sad.

But the GPO building is truly impressive.

10 comments

  1. Thank you for posting all these beautiful pictures of India. Unfortunately the media tends to show only the negative side, so these are a breath of fresh air!
    Masha’Allah.

    Thank you, Sara! Honestly speaking, I went to Mumbai with images of extreme poverty, crowd, traffic, and pollution made up in my head. I was taken by complete surprise on how beautiful the place actually is! There are LOTS of luxury cars on the road, it almost felt like I was in Dubai 🙂

  2. I am sure the local Marathi parties will give you a warm Welcome next time on arrival to Mumbai.
    We will definitely go next time after fulfilling our desired dreams, InshaAllah.

    lol, let’s hope that happens, though I suspect you’ll never be comfortable to bring me into the country through Mumbai 😀

    I don’t want to go to Mumbai again. Not anytime soon, that is. There are still SO many cities to explore! I want to see Rajhastan and Kerala and Bangalore and Chennai and Ooty and Lucknow and Kashmir and Bhatinda.

    1. No Trivandrum on that list, Nadia? :p

      Oh wait… Dubai is Kerala!

      It wasn’t on the list only because I didn’t know how to spell it 😀

      lol @ Dubai is Kerala. I wish we had the same greenery here though.

  3. Nice … one question pls … where have you read all the history from?

    LOL poor boy 🙁

    You do ma city some credit Nadia 😉

    Yup you should definitely visit other cities too especially Kerela and in rainy season too coz you’ll be spell bound by it’s greenery and beauty …. Ooty was my parent’s honeymoon spot 🙂

    Most of the history came from the places I’d visited. It’s usually written there on some stone/tile somewhere (not sure what’s it called. My vocabulary sucks like that). Rest of them I’ve googled 😀

    Ours was Delhi and Agra! And if I’d have to choose all over again where to go on a honeymoon, I’d choose Delhi and Agra again 😀 But kerala and Ooty are definitely on my list.

  4. You visited my favourite part of Mumbai…:-) Just a short walk from VT station (i prefer it to CST – let em sue me) there is the DN road which houses so many different camera shops and all sorts and kinds of cameras for the photography enthusiast….great posts….great snaps.
    Am adding you to my blogroll….i love ur blog 🙂

    Welcome to the blog, Janit! DN road with all the camera shops? And I missed it?! I’m highly suspecting that *someone* purposely kept me away from that place.

  5. ‘Paisey do.’ Give money.

    Yup, that’s sick and the kid approached you because you were wearing Hijab. I bet he was Muslim there are so many Muslim beggars who live in the slums that one think why no one is doing anything for them. Ask your hubby he fill in you on it in more detail.

    Hi, Sue. Welcome to the blog!

    First of all, the kid didn’t approach me because I was wearing hijab. We didn’t leave the post office premises right away since we were taking lots of pictures of the building, so hanged around for sometime. And that’s when I noticed that the kid approached anyone who appeared like a tourist, i.e. who held a camera in his/her hand.

    Second, they weren’t Muslims, but Hindus. Yes, there are a lot of beggars in India, as well as those living in extreme poverty, but these people aren’t just Muslims. But of course, whatever the religion, it’s still sad to see them live the way they are living.

  6. the British did build some lovely buildings in India!

    that antic with the old woman and child was shameful. But then, what can you do. there’s your dose of poverty for you. India is such a land of contradictions!

    Oh yes, they have indeed!

    Yes, I have had other “doses” of poverty besides the one mentioned in the post. It’s really sad 🙁

  7. Hi,
    I am going to Japan under the Jenesys programme and I have to make a power point presentation on Mumbai. Your pics are beautiful. Can I use them ?

    Thanks,
    Rahitom

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