A forgotten 150-metre long, underground British-era bunker has been unearthed inside the sprawling Raj Bhavan complex at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai.
Around three months ago, some old-timers informed Governor CV Rao of the existence of a tunnel inside the Raj Bhavan on the shores of the Arabian Sea. He asked to get it opened.
The governor accompanied by his wife Vinodha visited the bunker on Thursday, after which the governor expressed his intention to consult experts from various fields to preserve it.
Accordingly, on August 12, the PWD staff broke open a temporary wall that had been erected at the tunnel’s entrance on the eastern side.
The revelation was surprising. Instead of what was believed to be an underground tunnel, it turned out to be a huge barrack with 13 rooms of varying sizes spread over an area of more than 5,000 square feet.
The bunker opens with a 20-feet tall gate and a ramp on the western side. There are long passages connecting small to medium room on both sides.
The bunker’s rooms are named Shell Store, Gun Shell, Cartridge Store, Shell Lift, Pump and Workshop and there are scores of Lamp Recesses in the gangway.
Even though the bunker was apparently closed after independence, it was found to be surprisingly intact. Interestingly the entire underground bunker has a drainage system and inlets for fresh air and light.