Insider’s guide to… Bazaar Gate | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Insider’s guide to… Bazaar Gate

We go for a walk to an area that technically doesn’t exist anymore - the fort that consolidated the Bombay Presidency once stood

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Jul 28, 2016 16:26 IST
As told to Nidhi Choksi
The Bazaar Gate once stood between the current day landmarks of Azad Maindan and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
The Bazaar Gate once stood between the current day landmarks of Azad Maindan and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. (HT File Photo )

When we search for Bazaar Gate on Google Maps, it doesn’t show up. Actually, it will never really show up —it, technically, no longer exists. South Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay Fort, gets its name from Fort George, the defensive fort built by the British.

Bharat Gothoskar, founder of Khaki Tours, says the area consisted of three gates, the Apollo Gate - at Apollo Bunder, Colaba, the Church Gate - where the Flora Fountain now stands, and Bazaar Gate – that is today the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Bus Depot .

In the 1860s, these gates were demolished to get larger expanses of land. Gothoskar takes us to some of the popular spots beyond the erstwhile Bazaar Gate.


>> In the 1850s, the Great Indian Peninsular Railway built its railway terminus around the Bazaar Gate, and the station took its name as Bori Bunder Terminus. It got its name from Marathi words ‘Bori’ (a sack) and ‘Bandar’ (a port). The area around the station was used as a storehouse for goods imported and exported from the city and acted as an active market place. And thus, the area came to called at the Bazaar (market) gate.

Amar Jawan Jyoti Memorial at Azad Maidan: During the 1857 National Uprising, two soldiers - Syed Hussain and Mangal Gadia - in the British army at Mumbai had planned a revolt against the East India Company. When the plan was unearthed by police commissioner Charles Forjett, both the soldiers were blown to pieces by a cannon in front of thousands of horrified onlookers. To commemorate the valour of these two soldiers, the Indian government has erected a memorial opposite the CST station. (HT File Photo )

>> Azad Maidan is the triangular shaped sports ground opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and gets its name from the Persian word for freedom. It was formerly known as the Bombay Gymkhana Maidan because the Bombay Gymkhana clubhouse built in 1875 was at the southern end of the ground. It is a common place for cricket tournaments, political rallies and protest meetings.

>> Pedru Shah Baba Dargah: In the 18th century, a Portuguese man who converted to Islam and became a sufi saint. This dargah still stands opposite JJ School of Arts and his name ‘Pedro Saiba’ has become ‘Pedru Shah Baba’. He lies in the marble shrine present in the dargah. The architecture is Indo-saracenic with heavy influence of Islamic art visible with the domes.

Tree of Life Window: The annex of Anjuman-i-islam school has a replica of the famous latticework window of the 16th century Sidi Saiyyed Mosque from Ahmedabad. The fine work represents the ‘Tree of Life’ and has been adopted as its logo by IIM Ahmedabad. The tree signifies growth and blooming of life. (Photo: Pratik Chorge/HT )

>> The vast expanses of land of the grounds of south Mumbai - Oval Maidan, Azad Maidan, Cooperage Ground and Cross Maidan – were collectively known as Esplanade until the late 20th century. The Watson Hotel, opposite Kala Ghoda is also called Esplanade to commemorate the area.

>> The Palton road right in front of CST, leading to JJ Flyover gets its name from the word palton, which is Marathi for a group. The road was named so, as it was famous for the British army troupes doing rounds in groups and residing there.

Lady Willingdon Building: This distinct red building at Dhobi Talao, opposite Metro Cinema, houses the Parsi Ambulance Division that was established in 1904. Modelled along the lines of famous St John’s Ambulance Brigade, it serves all communities and not just the Parsis. It is named after Lady Willingdon, wife of then governor of Bombay, Lord Freeman-Thomas Willingdon. (Photo: Pratik Chorge/HT )

>> In the 1860s, there was a lake called Fasi Talao where the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation head office opposite CST now stands. It was a popular spot for public executions done by the British. It was covered up and the BMC building was constructed on it in 1884.

>> Lord Harris’ Mansion: Lord Harris was the governor of Bombay and was responsible for popularising cricket in India. It is said that he was an unpopular governor who was more interested in the sport than administering the city. In fact, when the interracial Bombay riots of 1893 broke out, Harris was at Poona enjoying cricket matches. The land for gymkhanas at Marine drive was granted by him to encourage more people to play the sport. The prestigious Harris Shield, a junior’s cricket tournament played among schools is named after him. His house was converted into a municipal school and is now under restoration. Chances are that it might be developed into a cricket museum now.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, popularly known as the Crawford Market behind Bazaar Gate, is one of Mumbai’s most famous markets. Originally named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city, it was later named after Mahatma Jotirao Phule, a Maharashtrian social reformer. The building, completed in 1869, was donated to the city by Cowasji Jehangir and was designed by British architect William Emerson. The friezes on the outside entrance depict Indian farmers. The stone fountains inside, were designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of novelist Rudyard Kipling. (HT File Photo )

Take a walk: Participate in a Beyond Bazaar Gate heritage walk by Khaki Tours on July 31, 8am onward.
At: Aram Vada Pav, opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (assembly point)
Call: 88281 00111
Price: Rs 500