One City Different World to experience.
One city different world to experience, yes this is how Mumbai began to appear to me after my first walk to remember a date with Mumbai. On my recent date with the charming Bombay's (Mumbai) rich architectural & commercial hub of history and culture, I happen to realize to be living in such a mesmerizing city of what we know today as Mumbai was called Bombay then. Before I proceed further to give shreds of evidence of my statements, I would want to take a time to express my gratitude to the curators of this date Kitab Khana and @Wakitechture. Thank you for coming up with such an interesting idea.
This date took me on a tour where I peered through the heart of Mumbai only to experience the bewitching past which is famous for being called seven islands but what was eye-opening for me was that it had many more islands and a fort and the fort still exist not physically though but eponymously, the area extends from the docks in the east to Azad Maidan in the west; Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in the north to Kala Ghoda in the south hence referred as Fort till date.
Flora Fountain. (2022, August 13). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flora_Fountain
Hutatma Chowk. (2022, August 11). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutatma_Chowk
Our first halt was Flora Fountain, an epitome of Gothic architecture an effort of then governor of (Bombay) Mumbai, Sir Bartle Frère' but named after Roman Goddess Flora.
Next was the Oriental building of finances, again a great specimen of gothic architecture with its exclusive gothic greyish facade, impediments, intrinsic floral designs, and the head statue of scholars at the roof of the building was supposed to be the school at one point in history but was turned into a financial building considering the chaotic environment around the building.
Next in line was Marty's memorial right next to Flora fountains. The existence of two historical sites close to each other might not seem to be surprising for the common eyes like you and me but the one who has the knowledge of their cultural and architectural history will tell how and why Marty’s memorial was erected at Hutatma Chowk.
Maneckji Satt Agiary
The list of date walks did not stop there but we made our journey from Lakshmi Insurance building where we encountered Art deco style from there whichever place we went be it oval maidan, Banaji Agiary, Western India House, The Bombay Samachar, United India building and St Thomas Cathedral were screaming the trend of Art deco and Vernac or local art deco, and Gothic trends in architecture of Mumbai at that point, therefore, one can experience a slice of France, British, and Portuguese. Sights like Yazdani Bakery and Manick Chowk truly stood for their noteworthy claim - "Like sugar in the milk” that they made many years ago before setting their foot on Indian soil and this made me realize the big contribution of the Parsi community in the upliftment of Bombay.
Lakshmi Finance Building
The Vintage Car
The day ended with the commercial history of Mumbai through the booking reading session with Murzban F. Shroff, the acclaimed author of Breathless in Bombay at Kitab khana. Called Bombay or Mumbai, over a period of time has gained a reputation as a fast metropolitan city where every day and place seems to be the same but the fact is if we take out a time and halt for a while to witness the rich architecture the same Mumbai will open its heart in order to reveal it’s rich multi facade history through its art and compel us to appreciate the existence of many worlds who shaped the city the way it is now because history can be relived and revisited through its architecture therefore when I got the chance to peer deep into the heart of Mumbai through the medium of the architecture and the history behind them the same, the sight that appeared to be same and usual to my eyes began to appear to be quite unique and I began to become appreciative of the same.
Truly this walk has left a deep impression of the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Middle East cultures and thereby made me realize about- Mumbai is one city with a different world to experience. Mumbai city has a lot more stories to tell about its past cultures, and trends through its architecture there is just a need for revival and I really appreciate Kitab khana and Wakitecture for this initiative of revival.