British-Era GPO building, Mumbai has to be saved from further deterioration!!

GPO Building,

GPO Building,

The General Post Office, Mumbai, the largest one in India serves as   the central post office of this metropolis. British architect John Begg, a consultant architect to the British government, designed it in 1902. It is a good example of Indo Saracenic  style of architecture  widely used by architect  Robert Chisholm  whose buildings in Chennai and elsewhere are  a main topic of discussion and debate among the architects world over.  The construction work  of this structure took roughly 9 years; the work began  on 1 September 1904,  completed on 13 March 1913. The construction material was mostly black Basaltic rock stones. Basalt is a volcanic rock commonly available in the Deccan Plateau of the Western and part central India. To make the structure appealing,  architect  chose yellow Kurla stones and white stones from Dhrangdra for frontal elevation.  The appearance  and grandeur  by of the building is accentuated  by the central dome with smaller ones, sweeping staircase, Mughal style turrets and minarets. The imposing landmark in Fort area is further enhanced outwardly by the stone-fronted colonial edifice  that will never go unnoticed if you go past it.    

GPO Building, Mumbai,

Covering 120,000 square feet (11,000 m²) and replacing the current Central Telegraph Office at Flora Fountain as the new GPO, the cost of construction was roughly  ₹1,809,000. John Begg, who used Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur (now in Karnataka) as a model, introduced a striking  architectural element in the building - an impressive   central hall which rises up to the great dome atop - about three floors tall. The view from inside will be quite imposing and mind-blogging. This dome with a diameter of 65 feet  is said to be  the largest one in Mumbai.

GPO Building, Mumbai,

Situated in the vicinity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Mumbai General Post Office (GPO) is  one of the five Philatelic Bureaus in the country, others being Chennai GPO, Kolkata GPO, Parliament Street, and New Delhi GPO). It means they are authorized to sell UN stamps?  Ideally located  close to the main railway terminus, this office handles huge volume of mail and  sends them  to other post offices in the city. GPO in Mumbai, also does other job. It issues stamps, and prints new inland letterheads and postcards. Being city's Central PO, it also serves as the headquarters of the Maharashtra as well as Goa circle of postal department.

In June 2014, responding to the public apathy over the ''deteriorating''  condition of the GPO building,  the Postal Directorate  had cleared the proposal to repair and restore the British-Era  General Post Office (GPO) building, a Grade-I heritage structure.  According to the postal directorate the proposal to sanction Rs. 47.59 crore for the preservation, restoration and repair of the GPO building was put forth on January 29, 2016. But still the proposal is pending in the directorate for final approval. Apparently they are waiting for a reply from the Post Master General, New Delhi.  INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage), an organization  retained by the postal department had drafted the plan and the conservationists are  concerned about cost escalation in the last one half years. 

The public irritation over the delay regarding restoration of the GPO building is on the increase as the days go by because the  bureaucratic  bottleneck has put the  lives of thousands of people in jeopardy.   In 1995 itself, its condition was bad. Since slabs were falling  on the staffs from the bottom of the dome, a safety net had been put in place. Also at stake are the countless visitors to the building. Layers of plaster on the wall frequently come off.  Large scale preservation is a must and ought to be carried out soon as the condition of the building is deteriorating. 


War memorial plaque, GPO,Mumbai.

01. There is a war memorial plaque  made of marble in this building commemorating the Postal employees of India in the service of the British Indian Army who died in the First World War.

02. In the 2nd week of April 2013, a great historical event took place. As part of its centenary celebration of Mumbai GPO.  twelve  female employees took charge of the city's first all-women post office that was inaugurated at Old Custom House on Friday.

03. There are 1000 staff members working in the building.

04. Very little do we know that this  Indo-European styled building  once served as quarters by the staff of St George hospital in the late 19th century.

05. The GPO building came up  across  one of the three gateways present during the British rule.  Bombay island in the past  had three gateways - the first called ‘Churchgate’ (located where Flora Fountain is placed today), the second gate was Gateway of India, (which was called ‘Apollo Gate’), and the third, being  ‘Bazaar Gate’ ( was across the present day GPO stands).,_Mumbai