Plans for a memorial of Maratha warrior king Shivaji in the Arabian Sea off Marine Drive just got grander, with the state government planning to set up the world’s largest oceanarium as part of the memorial, which is to come up on a 16-hectare rock islet located 1.2 km from Raj Bhavan and 3.6 km from Girgaum Chowpatty.
As part of the proposed memorial, the state government plans to build the 190-metre tall equestrian statue of Shivaji, which could make it the tallest statue in the world.
Talking of the plan for an oceanarium, Jayant Patil, guardian minister, Mumbai (island city), said, “The idea was to house marine animals belonging to a variety of species.” He said experts from the state had visited top oceanariums in the world, while conceptualising the facility.
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The proposed oceanarium could, however, mean curtains for a similar facility being planned on state dairy department-owned land in Worli. “We might not need another aquarium if this one comes up,” additional chief secretary P S Meena said.
Patil said the oceanarium would be state-of-the-art, with glass galleries. A senior state official said the idea was to raise awareness on the need to protect marine ecosystems.
The concept plan, designed by the JJ School of Architecture, was submitted to Union Environment Minister Veerappa Moily last week, Patil told reporters.
The site falls in the coastal regulation zone-IV. With certain commercial elements planned too, the state has approached the Centre for delisting the site from CRZ-IV category.
According to the plan, the statue will be placed on a pedestal that resembles the octagonal shape of Shivaji’s raj mudra or royal seal. Besides the ocenarium, the memorial will also house a museum to exhibit artefacts, history and murals on Shivaji, two theatres where films on the warrior king will be screened, a big library and facilities for sound and light shows. Eateries and cafeterias are on the anvil too.
Meena said miniature versions of various forts set up during Shivaji’s reign would also be displayed.