Did you know the Governor’s Bungalow has its own pin code? We gain access, before the premises re-opens to public next month
We are standing on the edge of a weathered, moss-covered rock. Before us, the Arabian Sea stretches endlessly, changing colour from brown, to grey, to deep aqua-green. On the horizon, a daunting black cloud approaches rapidly.
Behind us are the royal premises of Raj Bhavan, Walkeshwar, popularly known as the Governor’s Bungalow. This is the edge of Mumbai city as we know it.
“The wind here is merciless. That’s why governors, for years, have been forced to shift base to Pune for the monsoon,” says Umesh Kashikar, the public relations officer to the Governor of Maharashtra (GoM) for over 20 years.
A 131 year-old complex, Raj Bhavan has been a residence to the Governors since 1885. Seven cottage-like make up the complex: an outhouse for dignitaries, a presidential suite for the Prime Minister and President of India, a banquet hall, the governor’s residence and office, a swearing-in ceremony hall, and staff quarters.
Below is a 360 degree view of the Presidential suite at Raj Bhavan.
DID YOU KNOW?
>> Raj Bhavan is not the original residence to the GoM. The first governor, appointed in 1665 by the East India Company, resided at the Bombay Castle — a defence fortress built by the Portuguese that now stands inside INS Angre, a naval port behind the Asiatic Library, Horniman Circle, Fort. The Haffkine Institute, Parel, was the next residence. It was abandoned after the outbreak of the Bombay Plague (1897). Raj Bhavan has been the permanent residence ever since.
Also read: Insider’s guide to Hill Road
>>The flora and fauna surrounding the residence is a UNESCO Natural Heritage site, with 6,000 species of trees. Most importantly, it is a breeding ground for peacocks — about 20 peacocks currently reside in the premises.
>> Designed by Evan Napean, GoM, 1893. The seating area of the presidential suite features oil paintings of the kings of Maratha provinces under the Peshwa rule. They were commissioned by the East India Company to foster closer ties with the local rulers in India.
>> Raj Bhavan has its exclusive post office, even its own pin code. Outside the main premise gate, Malabar Hill’s pin code is 400006. Inside, it changes to 400035.
Also read: Insider’s guide to Bazaar Gate
>> Also known as the Point Bunglow, Jal Chintan used to be a lighthouse. It was converted into a residential cottage in the early 1900s. The Nehru-Gandhi family, and Mahatma Gandhi were known to frequent these quarters for its majestic view of the Arabian Sea and Marine Drive.
>> The orginal map of the consolidated state of Maharashtra was unveiled at Raj Bhavan. The then PM Jawaharlal Nehru announced the creation of Maharashtra on April 30, at midnight.
Take a walk
Raj Bhavan is open for public tours of 10 individuals per day, from September 1
Entry: 25 per person. Register here.
When: 6am to 8am