Have you seen Mumbai’s castle? Step into the past, take a look
For the 55 lucky registrees, it was a rare opportunity to walk through Lion’s Gate, into one of Mumbai’s most highly secured areasUpdated: Feb 05, 2018 08:24 IST
Did you know that the Bombay Castle — a warehouse, administrative centre and church set up before the seven islands of the city were even connected — is still standing? Or that the original fort after which the Fort area was named enclosed the dockyard that grew up around it?
These were some of the historical details revealed during the Good Bay walking tour held on Sunday, as part of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’s heritage walks section presented by Bajaj Electricals.
For the 55 lucky registrees, it was a rare opportunity to walk through Lion’s Gate, into one of the city’s most highly secured areas. “This walk was really exciting,” said Ebrahim FM, 54, an interior designer from Fort.
As Kruti Garg conducted the walk through the Naval Dockyard — India’s oldest dry dock — the group was led by commodore Shirish Dube and commander Santosh Kumar through some of the earliest and oldest surviving structures of the island city.
“This is virtually where the city of Bombay was established,” Dube said.
The buildings’ styles ranged from simple wooden twin-roofs erected by the Portuguese to grey basalt-rock constructions from the 1800s. Some structures, such as the Bombay Castle, have been painstakingly restored over the years.
There were restored fire-fighting wagons, with mounted water hoses; metal plaques honouring Lowjee Nusserwanjee Wadia, the first ship-builder, and his descendants. The roots of the Wadia family of Bombay Dyeing fame can be traced back to him.
The details and old structures caused considerable excitement among the group of walkers.
“I love learning about the history of the city and Kala Ghoda never fails to disappoint,” said Ankur Jain, 36, an IT executive from Powai.
The dockyard, architecturally, reads very differently from the Victorian Gothic identity that Bombay would eventually get, Garg said. “I am thankful to the officers who allowed us access to Asia’s oldest dockyard,” she added.
“I am always most intrigued by areas where access is restricted, so I am very pleased that we could make the dockyard visit happen. It’s required a lot of study on my part, but it was fun,” said Dube, with a laugh.