Friday, February 11, 2011

Project to light up Rajabai Tower

The grand Rajabai Tower housed in the University of Mumbai campus at Fort will be illuminated every evening starting next month. The Rs12-lakh project to aesthetically light the 85-metre-high heritage structure is being funded by the Central Bank of India as part of its centenary celebrations. “The tower will be lit up every evening by next month,” said Rajpal Hande, director, Board of College and University Development.

The university will join other educational institutions with heritage structures such as Wilson College and St Xavier’s College, which are lit up through corporate funding.

A fusion of the Gothic and Venetian style, the clock tower houses the university’s library with rare books dating back to the 18th century. The foundation stone for the tower was laid on March 1, 1869, and construction was completed in November 1878 at the cost of Rs2 lakh.

The English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott had designed the Rajabai Tower. It was modelled on Big Ben, the clock tower in London.

Premchand Roychand, a prosperous broker, who founded the Bombay Stock Exchange, bore the entire cost on the condition that the tower is named after his mother, Rajabai. Rajabai was blind and followed Jainism and was supposed to eat dinner before sunset. The evening bell of the tower helped her to know the time. “It will look splendid. The inside of the tower is more beautiful than the exterior. Thankfully, since I am student I can easily visit the beautiful library,” said Bharti Kelkar, a student who frequently visits the library to study and research.

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