Mumbai has a glorious past that can be traced through its architecture. For those who love history and heritage, the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2015 will bring them alive through 11 heritage walks and eight bus rides that will connect the past and the present.
The theme this year is Footprints in Time.
Apart from the tours, a series of workshops and panel discussions on urban design, city planning and contemporary architecture on the theme ‘Smart city: Connecting the dots’, will be held .
“This is our way of connecting with the festival’s theme of Sparsh (Touch). Only smart cities can connect humans efficiently,” said section co-curator Sarita Vijayan.
“The smart city concept is not just about technology, but also about human connections and sustainability. Being citizens of a congested city like Mumbai, the audience will relate to the discussions on urban issues and the search for smart solutions,” Vijayan said.
Heritage enthusiast and college student Tulika Bhattacharya, 21, said she cannot wait for the festival. “The heritage walks were a lovely experience last year. I was smitten by the creativity and beauty of architecture in Mumbai,” she said.
‘Let there be light’ is one of many innovative heritage walks this year. Conservation architects Kruti Garg and Sanaeya Vandrewala will conduct a walk starting 7pm on February 9. Through the walk participants can see how the play of light and shadow enhances the look of heritage structures, as the sun sets. Beautiful pictures are guaranteed.
Another unusual walk on offer is ‘Dramatic Bombay’ (on February 10, at 4.30pm). The trail covers the various cinemas of 19th-century Mumbai and looks at how they marked the beginning of change in the architectural landscape. “Since Mumbai is the heart of the Indian film industry, it will be interesting to see the historical dimension of the city’s relationship with the big screen,” said section co-curator Garg.
‘Public dining history and emergence of Irani cafés in Mumbai’ will explore Mumbai’s complex culinary history.
File photo of heritage walk at the Kala Ghoda Festival in 2014, where visitors were taken to a synagogue in Mumbai. (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)
Visitors can also take a tour that focuses on the contribution of British architect FW Stevens, who designed the BMC building and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
“Many people who have lived in Mumbai for decades know very little of its history,” said Parveen Mistry, who will conduct the guided heritage bus rides. “These walks and tours will lead them into unexplored areas of the city’s history.”
* Kala Ghoda is one of those rare festivals that connect the people with Mumbai’s art and culture. Through heritage walks, people get acquainted with a history that is not about facts and dates, but about a Bombay that you might have only heard or read about. This opportunity will draw the attention of people to the beautiful architecture, artefacts and monuments that they have missed in Mumbai.
Kurush Dalal, archaeologist and historian