Jijamata Udyaan formerly called Rani Bagh or Victoria Gardens, and now also known as Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan, is a zoo and garden located at Byculla, in the heart of Mumbai, India. It was laid out in 1861 and is one of the oldest zoos in India.
Also, situated in the Gardens is the Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly Victoria and Albert Museum), mainly of industrial and agricultural interest. On the grounds to the east of the museum is the giant statue of an elephant, taken from the Elephanta Caves on Gharapuri to Britain in 1864, and later returned to these gardens.
The gardens were originally the property of the wealthy Jewish businessman David Sassoon. He built the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was designed by famous Lundons architect. Its structure from inside is the same as the Magen David synagogue of Byculla. David Sassoon donated this whole property to the municipal corporation of Mumbai and it is today's zoo and garden. Sassoon also built the Victoria tower, with its clock, that is still in the gardens but is no longer functional.
The gardens are spread over 48 acres (19 ha) in Byculla, on the central side of Mumbai, surrounded by low income housing colonies or "chawls". At the main entrance to the gardens is a Clock Tower, reminiscent of Italian Renaissance, but the clock has stopped ticking a long time ago. The gardens boast of scores of trees, some of which are really old.
Jijamata Udyaan also houses the Mumbai Zoo. It houses many rare and endangered species of animals and birds.
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Garden also houses Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly known as the Victoria and Albert Museum) which contains a large collection of archaeological artifacts. One example is a large stone elephant which is now kept at entrance of the garden. It was found in 1864 on 'Gharapuri Island' Elephanta Caves.