In pics: British-era bunker discovered under Maharashtra Raj Bhavan | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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In pics: British-era bunker discovered under Maharashtra Raj Bhavan

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2016 15:13 IST
Faisal Mallik
Faisal Mallik
Hindustan Times

Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had invited chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for a tour of the bunker discovered under Raj Bhavan, on Tuesday evening.(Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

Officials at the Maharashtra Raj Bhavan have discovered a 150m-long underground colonial bunker right under the governor’s official office-cum-residence at Malabar Hill, Mumbai.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was given a tour of the bunker by governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday, posted pictures to his Twitter account, revealing a fairly well-preserved structure, complete with living quarters.

Officials made the discovery last Friday when they pulled down a temporary wall inside the Raj Bhavan complex after old employees told Rao of a tunnel on the premises three months ago.

The public works department broke through the wall blocking the entrance to the bunker, finding a barrack with 13 rooms – Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump, Workshop to name some.

Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at the entrance to the bunker. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

Officials at the Raj Bhavan discovered the 150m-long barracks after breaking down a wall that covered the entrance to the bunker. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

Spread across 5,000 square feet, the bunker begins at a 20-ft tall gate, with a ramp leading off to long passages that opens into small and medium sized rooms, a Raj Bhavan official said. There are also scores of lamp recesses in the gangway to allow better illumination, while a drainage system and inlets facilitates fresh air and light.

“We were afraid of snakes, but we didn’t find a single insect in the bunker,” a senior official requesting anonymity said.

Rao is now considering consulting with experts to conserve the structure.

The main entrance to the bunker is a 20-foot metal gate. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

The bunker has 13 rooms, each seemingly named after its utility. These include a Shell Room, Cartridge Store, etc. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

The Raj Bhavan, formerly known as Government House, served as the residence for British governors from 1885 onwards after Lord Reay turned it into a permanent residence.

Prior to 1885, it served as a summer residence for British governors while the Government House at Parel served as the official residence.

Given its sub-basement placement, the bunker was built with a drainage system and inlets to ensure ventilation and water run-off. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

The entrance of the bunker lead to a ramp that opens onto a passageway. Small and medium-sized rooms open onto this passageway. There are 13 rooms in all. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

Though abandoned all these decades, the bunker appears to be in fairly good condition. Governor Rao now plans to have conservation work carried out to preserve the structure. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

There are plenty of lamb recesses built into the bunker that allow plenty of light to filter in. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis posted images of his tour to his Twitter account. The bunker is about 12 feet high, and allows considerable amount of movement in its passageways. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

The governor and the chief minister discuss the finer aspects of the bunker discovered under Raj Bhavan at Malabar Hill. The building served as the official residence for British governors after 1885, and it is conceivable that the bunker was built after that year. (Devendra Fadnavis Twitter account)

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