The Asiatic library in Mumbai is one of the oldest and most famous libraries of the city. It has a collection of over 100000 books and has been enriching the heritage of our country since ages. The library treasures a collection of manuscripts, books and periodicals, coins, painted folios, maps and prints. You will also find the valuable collection of books like German translation of Rigveda, History of the world and two chief world systems which the committee is now thinking of digitalizing. This is going to be a great news for the readers from all over the world as they would be able to get access of these precious books online. The original Italian manuscript of Dante’s Divine Comedy is also one of the gems which have been preserved in this library. You will also find here a collection of books written in the European languages like Latin, German, Greek and French. You will also find here a rare collection of old coins which date back to the 5th century during the era of Akbar and Shivaji. Various lectures and seminar are also conducted by the committees which are very helpful for the scholars and researchers.
Sir James Mackintosh in the year 1804 had started the Asiatic Society of Bombay Library along with the literary society of Bombay. In 1991, a dust free air conditioned laboratory was built in the library in order to conserve old books in the room. Now the library has a wide collection of rare old books in it which makes it even more attractive to the readers.
If you are availing the western railway route then the nearest railway station to the library is the Churchgate station. Whereas in the central route CST is the nearest station from where you can easily reach the library.
The library also houses several manuscripts written in different languages like Persian, Urdu, Sanskrit and Arabic. Many manuscripts reflect fine paintings and calligraphy which are a treat for the history buffs. The library’s collection also includes the very well known Sopara relics that were excavated at Nala Sopara near Mumbai. The stone coffer found in the excavation has been displayed in a vestibule and the relics have been preserved in safe custody. This collection is of the most prized antiques of the library and is huge attraction for the visitors.
The Asiatic library in Mumbai is open from morning 10:30 to evening 6:30.
The library has an annual membership scheme which can be taken by nay adult members of the society. The members can freely take books from the library foe reading and consultation purposes. Lifetime membership facilities are also offered by the library committee.
The city Mumbai has an amazing weather in the winter months so you can plan a trip here during this time. But as for the library visit, any time of the year attracts the book lovers.