Mumbai Lens: The zodiac window

This blog post was featured in the “Around the Blog” section of the DNA newspaper published on May 7, 2012 (pg.6).

That Mumbai has many hidden treasures is something that is underscored now and then when I experience or unearth something interesting about this city. But Mumbai still manages to surprise me with the sheer variety. For example, when I attended an exhibition at Mumbai University’s Cowasjee Jehangir Convocation Hall at its Fort Campus earlier this year, it was not just the exhibits that caught my eye.

This was my first (and so far only) time that I have visited the Convocation Hall, whose grand interiors are stunning, with elaborate detailing, stained glass windows, teak wooden seats, exquisite grill work, etc. But the the large stained glass window over the entrance to the Hall is probably the grandest and most stunning feature of them all.

The Zodiac Window at the Cowasjee Jahangir Convocation Hall of the University of Mumbai

The Zodiac Window as seen above the entrance to the Convocation Hall

Isn’t the window beautiful? I read somewhere (and I can’t remember where) that it is called “The Great Rose” window. But I prefer calling it the Zodiac Window due to the outer stained glass panes, which depict the 12 signs of the zodiac (I apologise for the poor quality of the photograph, but I think you can see the zodiac signs without squinting too hard :-P) The inner panes depict the phases of the moon, the planets, comets and other members of our solar system.

The Convocation Hall and the other buildings in the Fort Campus of the University were designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who is rumoured to have followed the progress of construction of these buildings in the 1870s without ever having visited the site !

I, however, do not have information on who designed the Zodiac Window and if you do have that information, please do share them with me. And if you do get a chance to have a visit the Convocation Hall, just grab it. It’s worth every dekko ! 🙂

P.S.: Photography is prohibited in the University of Mumbai’s. I was able to take this photograph due to the exhibition, which not only permitted, but also encouraged photography of the exhibits. 🙂

Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more posts from this series here.

15 thoughts on “Mumbai Lens: The zodiac window

  1. That was a fine piece on the Zodiac window. Shooting a backlighted subject can be tricky. Yet, you seem to have managed a good image. The prohibition on photography is like a nail in the heart. You were certainly lucky to get a chance to do it.


    1. Thanks, Umashankar. I think I was just lucky with the picture—I have about 3 more which are out of focus and fuzzy. I agree about the prohibition on photography; I always swallow anger, some sharp words and some colourful swear words (in all the languages I know) whenever I see no photography signs. We have really become a paranoid nation. BTW, have you seen this window?


    1. Thanks for pointing out the fact that you wouldn’t have known it was a window if I had not written about it. If you visit the post now, you will see that I have added another picture of the window, which will not only give you an idea of the its size but also give you a glimpse into some other features of the Convocation Hall. 🙂


  2. Thanks to you Sudha – I was there to see and capture the grandeur of the convocation hall in all its glory…and it was my first time too and was I glad I managed to visit


    1. Delighted to see you here, Rupal. I’m so glad that you were able to see the grandeur of the Convocation Hall and photograph it too. I believe that the stained glass in the University Library is quite something. Want to make a trip there? 😀


  3. You have such a interesting blog…such a refreshing way of looking at objects and subjects who would otherwise had interpreted in the usual already scripted ways…this post actually makes me want to go to Mumbai University Convocation Hall:):)


    1. Delighted to see you here, Bhavana, and thank you so much for your comments. And you must visit the Mumbai University Convocation Hall and Library if you ever get the chance. The architecture and interiors are beautiful and the details amazing.


  4. Beautiful capture of the zodiac stained glass windows. Having tried it a few times, I realize how difficult it is not to have them completely washed out. Lucky you to be able to take pictures at the place.


  5. Yes, Mumbai University’s South Mumbai campus is indeed pretty esp after its renovation. Pity the univ itself does not function very well.
    This picture is really lovely.


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