President inaugurates underground Bunker Museum at Raj Bhavan Mumbai
President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated underground ‘Bunker Museum‘ at the Raj Bhavan (official residence of the Governor of Maharashtra) in state capital Mumbai. The 15,000 square feet museum has virtual reality (VR) booths in which visitors can time travel to 19th century. It will be opened for general public with online booking facility later this year.
Recent Discovery: The bunker was discovered by Maharashtra Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao last year, along with two identical cannons, atop foothills of Raj Bhavan, which is situated at the tip of south Mumbai. The twin cannons (1.15 metre in diameter and 4.7 metre in length) were found covered in mud 25 metres apart from each other.
History: It was created in 19th century to fire cannons at approaching enemy ships. It is believed to have been asset of battery stationed near coast to defend Bombay Castle from naval attacks. It resembles fort and is made up of 13 rooms, which can be accessed by passing through 20-foot-tall gate. The rooms bear names such as Gun Shell, Shell Store, Cartridge Store, Pump, Central Artillery Store, Shell Lift and Workshop. Its underground passage has proper drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light.
Restoration: As part of it, structural audit of bunker was conducted and structural strengthening was carried out later. It was developed for adaptive reuse as museum without changing its original features. The museum incorporates virtual reality on themes of cannon-firing experience, history of Raj Bhavan and glimpse of the forts of Maharashtra.