The iconic Bandra station, a famous landmark and a grade 1 heritage structure, may soon have more feathers in its cap.
The Western Railway (WR) has decided to develop the station as a tourism and cultural spot. And to put it on the world map, the railway authorities are planning to get a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) heritage tag for the structure.
Built in 1888, the Bandra station building is one of the finest iconic structures of the colonial era. The building is already on the railway’s national heritage list, while the state government gave it a grade 1 heritage tag in 1998.
To attract more tourists, the railways are planning to set up a permanent exhibition, which will have an audio-visual presentation, old railway photographs, artefacts and other items on display, at the central hall of the station building.
Also, LED lighting will add to the beauty of the architectural features of the buildings. “The Bandra station building and exhibition gallery will be developed to attract more visitors. Apart from this, measures will be taken to promote other tourist spots in the area,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR.
To get the UNESCO heritage tag, the railway authorities are in the process of hiring a consultant. “The consultant will help and guide us in fulfilling the UNESCO norms,” said Chandrayan, adding that it may take up to six months.
Chandrayan said this was the first time the Indian Railways was planning to develop a railway station as a tourist spot and a cultural hub. “To ensure that this is a possibility, the WR will improve the station building, platforms and the area outside the heritage structure with the help of BMC and BEST undertaking,” he said.
The railway station’s architecture is a blend of Victorian Gothic and the vernacular style. It was restored to its present glory in 2009.