Sixdecades since India’s independence, does the nation know this city beyond Gateway of India and CST Station? Still present in its many lanes, and lost among the many skyscrapers and bursting population, is a bit of history, hoping to be discovered some day. While others may be demolished or lost forever due to lack of care or general wear and tear, these edifices continue to tell stories of the city’s past. Now, Varsha Shirgaonkar, professor and head, department of history, SNDT Women’s University and Rahul Chemburkar, conservation architect, both advisory members to the department of archaeology and museums, Maharashtra, take Mumbaikars back in time to help them find some hidden gems within a busy and teeming metropolis.
1 Kala Ghoda statue is not located at Kala Ghoda
This statue was erected sometime in 1870s in the Fort area. It was moved to its present location inside Jijamata Udyan, Byculla in 1865.
Made of black granite stone, it shows a king mounted on a horse. n The king, who is depicted in the statue, was King Edward VII, also known as Prince of Wales. Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from January 22, 1901 until his death on May 6, 1910.
The popular annual Kala Ghoda festival of Mumbai is held in the art district named after this statue.
2 This fountain was made at a veterinary hospital to provide water for the animals.
The fountain and Pyaav at the Bai Sakarbai Petit Animal Hospital can be found near MD College, Parel. n Built in 1889, it is owned by the Petit Hospital Trust.
Located inside the veterinary hospital, it was built at a cost of R 5,000 by Furdoonjee Dhanjeebhoy Allbless in memory of his son Edulji Allbless. Experts say that it was probably used to provide water for the animals that came for treatment to the veterinary hospital.
The structure is made up of elaborate octagonal stone cupola supported by Porbandar stone structure in the form of arches, and has eight arches with columns in the Gothic style.
3 Reay Road is named after a man who was the Governor of Bombay between 1885 and 1890.
This statue of Lord Raey at the JJ School of Arts compound is dedicated to a man after whom an area in South Mumbai and a railway station are named.
It shows a man in the attire of a knight, reading a book while seated on a chair.
The entire structure is made in bronze and was made by Sir Alfred Gilbert in 1895. The height of the statue is 2.4 meters. There is no plaque but the visible letters say ‘Broad and Son, Founders- London, England’.
The original statue was erected at the corner of the Oval (Veer Nariman Road) before being moved to its present location.
4 This fountain that sits inside a church was imported from England.
Sir Cowasji Jehangir’s Fountain is located inside St Thomas Cathedral’s compound at Veer Nariman Road and has a Gothic style two-tier structure in Portland stone with a pinnacle.
The fountain was constructed in England and sent through shipment on board the ship called Bayard.
It was donated by Parsi philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir, who also gifted 40 fountains to the city, to be placed inside a church premise. The fountain was placed within the church at a cost of R 13,777 on May 22, 1866.
The fountain’s upper tier has four decorative bowls supported on circular pillars. The lower tier has a circular pattern, which intersect at intervals
5 A mini Gateway of India that is not at the Gateway.
The Gateway of India replica is located at Gamdevi and is a part of a whole stone model of Gateway of India.
Yashwantrao Harishchandra Desai, who also worked on the original monument and was a contractor, built it. He was an alumnus of JJ School of Arts and worked on several other projects like The General Post Office and The Prince of Wales Museum.
The stone used in both the monuments is the same.
The structure today stands forgotten and defiled near Desai’s home in memory of the man who built the iconic gateway on the shores of the port city.
6 These memorial stones tell stories of ancient warriors
These six paliyas or memorial stones seem to have been set in front of a temple, which stood on the top of the pond bank in the Eksar Village of Borivli, a site afterwards taken over by a Portuguese granary.
All, except one, which is broken, have their tops carved into large funereal urns, with long heavy ears and hanging bows of ribbon, and floating figures bringing chaplets and wreaths.
The faces of the slabs are richly cut in from two to eight level belts of carving; the figures in bold relief chiselled with much skill.
Each stone records the prowess of warriors. n In each case the story begins with the lowestbelt and works to the top.