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Discover Mumbai - The SeriesViews: 237
Feb 18, 2004 6:27 pm re: re: re: Discover Mumbai - The Series - About Colaba!!! (part 2) - Next Sunil Nair

Kreative Quest
Continuation of Part 1.... Landmarks in and around COLABA.....

~~~~~Gateway Of India~~~~~

When a visitor comes to Mumbai by sea he sees a 26 m high structure. This structure is called the Gateway of India. It is the icon of Mumbai. It was designed by Wittet and was built in the 16th century architectural style of Gujarat. Gate way of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911.The Gate was formally opened in 1924. Today it is a famous haunt for the residents for Mumbai. Near the Gateway of India is Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in India.

~~~~~David Sassoon Library - A book lovers retreat~~~~~

The city of Mumbai reminds one of R L Stevenson's poem 'the Railway Carriage,' where there is no time to 'stand and stare.' But amidst the hustle bustle is a well disposed haven for readers - the David Sassoon Library. As one walks down the famed Kala Ghoda art district, you come across the library, a part of a row of Malad stone buildings that encompasses the Army Navy Building, Watson's Hotel and Elphinstone College. Built during British India in 1847 by Sir Albert Sassoon, the David Sassoon Library took a long 23 years to be completed. Named after his father David Sassoon, the cost of the building amounted to Rs 1,25,000, a hefty sum in pre-independent India.

~~~~~Hutatma Chowk~~~~~

Also known as the Flora Fountain because of the fountain. It is located at one of the established business center of Mumbai. The chowk is named after Roman God of Abundance. It was erected in 1869 in honor of Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay who was responsible for shaping much of Bombay.

~~~~~Marine Drive~~~~~

Also called the Netaji Subhas Chandra Marg, it is a promenade along the water front. The drive runs from the Nariman point to Chowpatty beach and ends at the Malabar hills. The drive is built on the land reclaimed from the Back Bay along the Arabian coast. The place is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. In the night the whole drive is lit by street lights that give it are very beautiful look... it is sometimes called the Queen's Necklace.

~~~~~Hanging Gardens~~~~~

The Hanging gardens or Ferozshah Mehta Gardens were laid in 1881 on top of a reservoir on the Malabar Hills. This place has become a heaven for dating couples nevertheless the place provides a good view of the city. Nearby is the Kamla Nehru park. From the park one can have the best possible views of the Marine drive and the Chowpatty beach. The Kamla Nehru park was laid in 1952 and was developed mainly as a children's park.

~~~~~Prince of Wales Museum (Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya)~~~~~

Another structure to commemorate the visit of King George V. The building is build in Indio Sarcenic style and is set in a well laid ornamented garden. The central hall boasts of a huge dome which is believed to be inspired by the Golgumbaz. The museum was opened in 1923 and has an impressive collection of artifacts from Elephanta island, Jogeshwari Caves, Terracotta Figurines from the Indus valley, Ivory carvings, statues, a large collection of miniatures and a gloomy portrait of Abrahim Lincoln. The museum is divided into three sections art, archaeology and natural history.

~~~~~Victoria Terminus (V.T. / C.S.T)~~~~~

One of the most imposing buildings in Mumbai, it was from Victoria Terminus that the first train rolled out towards Thane. The Terminus carries the Gothic architectural style and is largest building designed by F.W Stevens. A large statue of queen Victoria is kept at the entrance of the terminus. The main structure is surmounted by a statue of progress. The clock on tower is 3.19m in diameter. carvings of peacocks, gargoyles, monkeys, elephants and British lions are mixed up among the buttresses, domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows. The terminus looks more like a cathedral than a terminus.

~~~~~National Gallery of Modern Art~~~~~

The national gallery of Modern art in Mumbai exhibits lots of modern Indian art which are of a very high quality. The showcase includes a collection of some very interesting pieces of art. National Gallery is the revamped version of Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public hall. Near the National Gallery is the Jehangir art gallery which is the venue for exhibitions to many artists and on various occasions. The place also organizes exhibitions for touring exhibits.


The cathedral, designed by W A Chambers, a noted architect, opened for worship in January 1905. The facade of the building is surmounted by two lofty towers and is flanked on either side by the residence of the Archbishop and the Fort Convent school. The paintings in the church were rendered by an Italian Jesuit Brother, Antono Mocheini, at the turn of the last century.

~~~~~The Rajabhai Tower and University Buildings ~~~~~

An ambience of restful dignity characterizes the Bombay University complex which comprises two detached buildings, the Library and Convocation Hall, designed and completed in the year 1878 by Sir Gilbert Scott .The Convocation Hall has a beautiful circular stained glass window which consists of 12 zodiac signs on it.

~~~~~Bombay Stock Exchange ~~~~~

This is Bombay's Wall Street and is bursting with perplexed brokers and speculators until 2 o'clock in the afternoon every day when the stock market closes and the frenzied brokers move out to discuss the rise and fall of the sensex over lunch. Located on Dalal Street, the Bombay Stock Exchange is barely fifteen minutes away by foot from the Bombay University, through choked gullies. With over three thousand listed companies and nearly ten million investors, the BSE index is the most buoyant in the country. Boom time generates a rash of instant millionaires everyday. The building is a striking curvilinear skyscraper towering above the colonial buildings of Fort and inspires hundreds of hopefuls to flock its ramparts everyday to try their fortunes.

~~~~~Crawford Market~~~~~

Probably the last bastion of British Bombay, poised between the two worlds - the Fort and the bylanes of the old town. The structure is a cross between Flemish and Norman architecture with a bas-relief depicting Indian peasants in wheat fields just above the main entrance. The frieze was designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of British novelist Rudyard Kipling. He designed the fountain inside the market as well, but today it is barely visible, squashed under mounds of apples and mangoes. Crawford Market covers an area of 72000 square yards and was built of coarse Coorla rubble, relieved by bright redstone from Bassein. The Arthur Crawford Market was built during the tenure of Arthur Crawford as Bombay's Municipal Commissioner. The market was renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market after a famous social reformer and houses a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, poultry, fish and meat stalls and a few stalls selling smuggled goods like Mars, Toblerone and Kraft cheese. During summer, the market smells of sweet mangoes as the King of Fruits swarms the place. If you happen to frequent this part of Mumbai city during summer, drop in at Badshah Juice Center for a mango milkshake. You won't regret it.

~~~~~Regal, Eros & Metro Cinema ~~~~~

Regal cinema was constructed in art-deco fashion of the 30's, Regal cinema was formally inaugurated by the Governor of Bombay in 1933. It is a multi-use building combining a theatre with shops at street level. Its interiors were designed to create an impression of airiness, coolness and size in harmony with the modern simplicity of the exteriors.

The foundation of Eros Cinema was laid in 1935.This grand luxury cinema opened in 1938 thus establishing its presence at the pivotal urban junction where it is situated. Partially faced with red Agra sandstone, the building is painted cream - the combination making the building look taller. The Cinema is an excellent example of modern urban design.

A minute's walk to the left of Xavier's College brings you to the Dhobi Talao junction, where six roads converge. Here stands the Metro Cinema. It was inaugurated on 8th June 1938. The 2943 square yards plot was formerly occupied by Air Force stables and was acquired by the Metro Goldwyn Corporation in 1936 on a lease for 999 years at a nominal ground rent of Re. 1 per year.

~~~~~General Post Office~~~~~

Retrace your steps to Bhagat Singh Road. As you continue North, the road splits into two. The road to your left is Mint Road. The massive dome in brooding gray is the General Post Office. Worth taking a look are the old wooden counters and lofty arches of the three-storey high Rotunda Hall. Completed in 1872, the General Post Office features a vast central hall, which rises through the height of the building to the dome. Built in local basalt with dressings of yellow stone from Kurla and white stone from Dhrangadra, this landmark of the 1930s is one of the important tourist attractions in the city.

~~~~~The High Court ~~~~~

From the western side of Flora Fountain stretches the Veer Nariman Road. The pavements of this street are packed with roadside stalls selling books, old and new, classics and fiction, academic and porn literature. As you move along, at the intersecting Bhaurao Patil Road is the Bhikha Behram Kuwa, an eighteenth century well, which is considered sacred by the Parsi community. Non-Parsis are not allowed to enter but peering through the flower covered trellis, you can catch a glimpse of the Parsis wearing scarves and satin silk caps, some praying and others lighting the customary lamps. Further down the road are the Western Railway Headquarters, the majestic building in gray stone facade and white plaster cuppolas. Next to it is Churchgate Station, a sterile post-Independence building teeming with hundreds of commuters at any given time of the day. If you backtrack to the Bhaurao Patil Road, you will confront an impressive Gothic structure in gray stone - the High Court. The four storeyed High Court was completed in 1878. This was the site of the Esplanade, a bowling green just outside the fort walls, which were struck down in the 1860s to make way for a row of public buildings.

~~~~~The Jehangir Art Gallery ~~~~~

Facing the Prince of Wales Museum, if you take the second road to your left, a five minute walk brings you to the city's famous Jehangir Art Gallery. It was built through the generous donations of Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney and is today the foremost showcase of Art and Artists' works, both established and upcoming. It is the uncrowned Mecca of Art in Mumbai City and is located at Kalaghoda, opposite Rhythm House and Khyber Restaurant. Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney used his millions to also gift the city with a Convocation Hall called the Cowasji Jehangir Hall. It was built as a part of the grant given to Bombay University.

~~~~~The Municipal Corporation Building ~~~~~

Opposite VT station are the stark headquarters of the Bombay Municipal Corporation. Many prominent citizens like Sir Pherozeshah Mehta and Sir Dinshaw Wacha were members of the Municipal Corporation. This building was designed by FW Stevens and completed in 1893. The imposing tower rises to a height of 235 feet above the ground. The outstanding feature of the building is the Council Chamber with a ceiling of unpolished teak. At the entrance stands a splendid bronze statue of Sir Pherozshah Mehta. Next to the BMC is a low building in black stone with Gothic windows. This is the Times of India building - the leading daily of the country. On the road parallel to this road and almost behind the TOI building is the St Xaviers College. This imposing structure was designed by Father Wagner of the Society of Jesus and completed in 1873. The college is today one of the leading educational institutions of Mumbai.

~~~~~Oval Maidan ~~~~~

Opposite the High Court lies the Oval Maidan, a huge open field laced with palm trees and where aspiring cricketers play cricket on Sunday mornings. The Oval is the saving grace - a recreation ground, a breather in terms of open space midst the brick and mortar of the urbanized city.

~~~~~The Taj Mahal Hotel ~~~~~

Just across the Gateway of India is the Taj Mahal Hotel, commonly known as the Taj to all Mumbai residents. The Taj, which once played host to the viceroys and royal emissaries now welcomes business travelers from all over the world. The hotel was built by Indian industrialist Jamshedji Tata to snub the white-skin as he himself was a victim of racial bias during the days of the British Raj. It is believed that Chambers, the British architect, who designed the Taj, shot himself on viewing the completed hotel. The story goes that Chambers went on a holiday to recover from the tropical onslaught and on his return, found that the back of the completed hotel facing the seafront. So he did what any man of professional integrity would have done - he took his own life. But the hotel as it stands today is a masterpiece and offers an overview of the Gateway (from the rooms in the new wing) The sight of the of bobbing boats during the day and of the lit yachts at night from the first floor tea rooms are as appealing as ever.


Situated at Horniman Circle, the Asiatic Library is housed in a very impressive structure. In the first floor of the library are housed images of various Governors of Bombay.


This gallery at the National Center of Performing Arts at Nariman Point has a superb collection of modern Indian art, which appears in rotation with special exebitions.

This concludes the series on Colaba and i now pass on the pen to Sunil Nair!!


Fa Ruchi.

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