Jaya He GVK New Museum inside the Mumbai CSIA(Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) narrates the story of India to its visitors through art and colours. The museum beautifully essays how Indians live and experience multiple eras at once through this country’s diversity and legacy.
Not surprising that a tour of the Jaya He Museum often finds a place in the list of things to do in Mumbai.
Top Things to do in Mumbai
Readers of my blog would know that I have a penchant for art, architecture, culture and heritage. So, when I read about the ‘JayaHe GVK New Museum’ for the first time on social media, it immediately struck a chord with me.
Subsequently, when a social media group called ‘Mumbai Instagrammers’ gave us a glimpse of the very same JayaHe Museum of Mumbai airport through their media posts, I was intrigued and it became the topmost priority on my wish-list when visiting Mumbai. I wondered, how the Mumbai Airport Museum would look like in reality!
My first tryst with Jaya He Museum
A recent visit to Mumbai for an event gave me an opportunity to visit the ‘JayaHe GVK New Museum’.
And, I guess, I also need to thank the very punctual JetAirways(now defunct) whose fleet of aircraft religiously gets delayed! Sometimes, these delays prove a boon especially when one is on a solo trip.
So, my flight was to fly out from Gate 45 of the Mumbai CSI airport at around 10 pm and it got delayed by over an hour leading to a change in boarding gate.
Passing the security check at CSIA is indeed a breeze, the staff is usually very cordial, the airport is less crowded unlike the Delhi airport and the amenities are top-notch. I realised that effectively I had 3 hours on hand until the boarding time to explore the Mumbai Airport Museum.
I enquired at the information centre about the Jayahe museum guided tours and was informed that tours happen only during the day. Unfair, isn’t it? Feeling dejected, I slowly slogged through the shopping arena of the CSIA that is filled with the mundane lacklustre super expensive gadgets and whatever junk one can possibly buy with those bucks!
However, as I entered the alley that leads to Gate 87, I found vibrant wall art that seemed to stretch endlessly and instantly uplifted the sombreness associated with airports. That is when it stuck that I can actually do an un-guided solo tour of whatever JayaHe GVK New museum could offer to its visitors at the Departure level. I already had a glimpse of a few exhibits upon my Arrival at the Mumbai airport, the previous day.
What is Jaya He GVK New Museum all about?
‘JayaHe GVK New Museum’ inside the Mumbai CSIA(Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) is a treasure trove of more than 5000 exhibits that showcase the rich culture, art and heritage of both ancient and contemporary India.
The museum effortlessly forms a component of the Mumbai CSIA showcasing the heritage, vibrancy, diversity and traditions of India through its exhibits. The visitors and passengers are sure to be enthralled by this public canvas of colours on their way to the departure gates, baggage claim area, and exit gates.
The three exhibitions at JayaHe GVK New Museum
The JayaHe GVK Museum Mumbai is spread across three levels:
- Departures Lounge/Level – showcases the sculptural artwork that presents the rich Indian cultural legacy encompassing traditional crafts, art forms, festivals, living traditions as well as contemporary artistic expressions. All this under the theme of ‘Thresholds of India’ across levels 1,3 and 4 of the departure lounge.
- Arrivals Lounge/Level – has exhibits that represent contemporary art in a story format.
- Baggage Lounge/Level – displays the richness of Indian textiles through miniatures and exhibits.
Every section has a kiosk with information loaded on Jaya He museum and the prominent piece of art has details of the artist and philosophy behind making these pieces of art.
A photo tour of Jaya He Museum
I could cover just the tip of the iceberg of the 3.2 long stretches of the Mumbai airport museum collection that has three sections of exhibits. So, here is a virtual tour of JayaHe GVK New Museum through my words and captures.
JayaHe Museum Exhibits in the Departures Lounge
The exhibits of the departure lounge are themed under ‘Threshold of India’ with sub-themes of India Greets, India Moves, India Silent Sentinels, et al.
India Greets Series of Jaya He Museum Mumbai
A series of doors, facades and gateways sourced from various parts of India symbolise the concept of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ at the JayaHe GVK Museum under the India Greets Series. This is my most favourite series in the museum.
In fact, when Divyakshi of Quirkywanderer posted photographs of doors from JayaHe museum, I secretly nurtured a desire to transit through Mumbai for no reason just to have a glimpse of the JayaHe museum that seemed to be replete with artefacts and varied doors. Oh, ya…I can actually resort to unharmed violence in my quest for doors, art, heritage and architecture!
An intricately carved wooden ‘dwaar’/gateway greets visitors of the Mumbai Airport inside while the artistically carved ‘dwarapalak/prathira’ (gatekeepers) on elephants accord a royal welcome to art enthusiasts!
A series of doors from Gujarat with minute wood and metalwork represent a street from Western India. Following the traditional Indian custom of community service, earthen pots filled with water are placed on stands in front of these doors symbolising homes so that the weary passersby can quench their thirst.
Each of the intricately carved doors seem to be narrating stories of a bygone era. One cannot but be ecstatic seeing the display of Indian craftsmanship of the highest level at this Mumbai airport museum.
India Seamless at JayaHe museum, CSIA
A blend of everyday life with contemporary elements representing the four regions of India is what India Seamless all about.
Jaya He Museum Mumbai’s India Global series
In this section, you will find a perfect blend of contemporary art, and the best of old-world charm imparting an underlying message to the visitors. Some of the displays have been made with recycled wastes!
India Silent Sentinels at JayaHe GVK Museum
The series of India Silent Sentinels weaves together the architectural and sculptural importance of varied components in the lives of India from time immemorial. It compasses the Yalis to the Aiyannars to the gables or kodis of Kerala homes to the wooden deities revered by the tribals of various states.
India Moves at Mumbai airport museum
This has to be one of the eye-catching series next to the ‘India Greets’ series at the Mumbai Airport’s JayaHE Museum. India moves is a scenographic tribute to the various voyages undertaken by Indians both physically and philosophically that transcends time.
The collection ranges from the carved facades of mansions to toy cars, temple chariots that carried processions of idols to bullock carts, the collection at JayaHe Museum spans the affluent, opulent and earthy everyday objects.
I loved the series of Tanjore paintings in which celestial beings and Gods and Goddesses adorn their ‘vaahanas’/vehicles and are gilt embossing. The whole tableau is a visual treat and a must-visit exhibit of the museum.
India Elemental series
This series brings together the five elements of nature – Space, Air, Water, Fire and Earth through various interpretations and installations. Let me tell you that some of the artworks are wonderfully quirky, like the Hawa Mahal in the form of a Rajasthani turban symbolising the element ‘Air’.
Another interesting exhibit was one on Panchabhootha which was under maintenance at that time.
Arrival Level exhibits of Jaya He Museum Mumbai
On the day of my arrival at Mumbai CSIA, much of the passways were cordoned off. So, I could just click a few snaps from the travellator as I slugged my trolley along, towards the exit. This series of art is themed under Layered Narratives.
Baggage Claim Area at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport
Gape in awe at the exhibits in the baggage claim lounge as you wait for your luggage to be belted out, as I did… From an intricately chiselled and carved wooden temple chariot to the textiles of India, the Baggage Acclaim Series of JayaHe museum is sure to enthral its visitors. I was mesmerized by the beautiful carvings of the chariot!
Read about the Maargazhi festival here, when the temple chariots come out all decked on the streets of TamilNadu.
Practical information to planning a tour of Jaya He GVK New Museum
A free tour of the museum could be pre-booked online at the Mumbai airport’s website. or one can contact the ‘JayaHe Helpdesk’ just after the Security check. The tours are usually conducted during the day.
If you are flying out at night then the best would be to explore the Jaya He museum on your own as I did.
The charm of airport museums
What I loved about the JayaHe Museum is that it instantly uplifts the sombreness that is invariably associated with airports. As travellers, we often spend many hours at the airport waiting for our flights or transiting from one place to another.
It would be wonderful if every airport has a mini-museum like Mumbai airport, showcasing local traditions, folklore, art, and architecture on a public canvas reachable to all. At least, an art lover and someone who hates shopping like me would be happy.
This said I wish to explore the exhibits of Jaya HE GVK New Museum spread across the other levels of Mumbai CSIA, soon.
Hope you are inspired to take a tour of the Jaya He museum when inside the Mumbai International Airport after taking this virtual tour with me, through this post. Do not miss indulging in this artistic endeavour that is one of the top things to do in Mumbai.
Also, do share with me your thoughts on the post and also of the JayaHe Museum if you have already toured it.
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