Must-Know Facts about the Asiatic Society in Mumbai

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1. The Asiatic Library, situated in South Mumbai, is one of the most famous and oldest libraries of the city dubbed the ‘Maya Nagari’ or ‘City of Dreams’.

2. Invigorating the imagination of millions of readers of all ages, the library is stocked with over 100000 books, and has had a huge impact in the intellectual development of Mumbaikars over several decades.

3. You can also find a great collection of books, manuscripts, periodicals, books, coins, maps, prints and painted folios. There is also the German translation of Rigveda and the History of the world, a rare set of books, soon to be digitalized by a select committee. This will greatly benefit millions of readers online who usually read books using their laptop, mobile or iPad. You can also find another gem of a collection well preserved in this library – a unique Italian manuscript of the famous Italian poet Dante’s work ‘Divine Comedy’. There is a wide range of books written in several European languages such as German, Latin, Greek and French.

4. Another intriguing collection of old coins belonging to the era of the 5th century Mughal ruler Akbar and famous Maratha ruler Chatrapathi Shivaji. Several seminars and lectures are also organized by the committees which are helpful for the researchers and the scholars.

5. The Asiatic Society of Bombay Library, in addition to the Literary Society of Bombay, was started by Sir James Mackintosh in 1804. One of its unique aspects is the construction of a dust-free air conditioned laboratory in 1991 for the preservation of old and rare books in the library. The collection of rare old books and manuscripts here makes it one of its kinds in the country.

6. You can also find numerous manuscripts written in classical languages including Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic and Persian. There are several manuscripts that reflect calligraphy and fine paintings, a truly visual treat for the history freaks. The collection also houses the famous Sopara relics unearthed at Nala Sopara near Mumbai. The stone coffer which was excavated has been exhibited in a vestibule and its relics have been neatly preserved under watchful eyes. This priceless antique collection attracts visitors in large numbers.