During the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 09, you can enjoy the heritage walks that are free of cost (On other days they normally cost around INR 2500), so it is your great opportunity to take advantage of their free service during the festival. These are organized by Ms. Abha Bahl - architect, who is the co-founder THE BOMBAY HERITAGE WALKS (BHW) Group
The BHW group has been organizing these walking tours around the city since April 1999. The heritage walks aim to raise the awareness of the people of Mumbai and visitors, about the city’s architecture and heritage monuments. Personalized, educative and imaginative, the walking tours highlight the vast range of architectural styles, planning elements and ornamental details, tracing the social and cultural history of the city.
'The Heritage Walks’ will be held from 7th February to 15 February and they are as follows:
On 7th February at 10 am, it will start from Welligton Fountain inside Regal circle.
Starting from the 'circle of history' you will be shown some fantastic architectural gems such as the former Royal Alfred Sailor's Home, Regal Cinema and many others. During these walks you can find out about Mumbai's connection with the Duke of Wellington. You can visit the Indian Heritage Award-winning Cathedral of the Holy Name, on the Regal Circle Walk. The walk ends at the Royal Institute of Science, one of the city's foremost institutions housed in a first-rate heritage building.
On 8th February at 10 am, walks will start from Flora fountain.
Starting at Flora Fountain, a quintessential city icon which also marks the entrance into the Fort heritage district, you will be led through the country's primary financial nerve centre that houses the historic Stock Exchange and over 30 banking establishments. Uncovering slices of the past, twisting through the lanes of the old Fort, the walk will take you past Old Government House, Mumbai Samachar Marg (former Apollo Street) and ending at St. Thomas' Cathedral, the oldest British church in the city.
On 9th February at 4:30pm, walks will start from Prince of Wales Museum
Starting from the landmark CST (formerly Prince of Wales) Museum, you will walk down the historic Rampart Row of crescent-shaped Kala Ghoda area which is famous for its art galleries, museums and educational institutions. The walk includes visits to the St. Andrew's Church and David Sassoon Library.
On 10th February at 4:30pm, walk will start from Flora fountain
This walk will lead you down from the Flora Fountain, past the line of buildings housing different uses like the Vatcha Agiary, J. N. Petit Library, Bombay Mutual building etc. Once named after Governor William Hornby and then the great Dadabhai. The walk will end with views of the Victoria Terminus and surrounding Fort precinct.
On 11th February at Ballard Bunder Museum, opp. War Memorial, Shoorji Vallabhdas Marg, Ballard Estate
This walk will lead you from the restored Ballard Bunder Gate Museum to fine buildings like the Customs House, Port House,Grand Hotel and many others. It will be interesting to those who like to see a European-looking business district in Mumbai. With elegant neo-Classical facades and well-articulated urban vistas, the planning and charm of Ballard Estate was parallel to contemporary business districts in Europe and the colonial world. Today, this quiet quarter is home to not just the Mumbai Port Trust and Customs but also many corporate business houses, shipping corporations and other commercial establishments.
On 12th February at 4:30, the walk will start from Asiatic Library (bottom of stairs)
This walk will lead you down the pages of history set in the heart of the old Fort area. You will be shown around the Asiatic Library housed in what is considered to be among the finest neo-Classic buildings in India and one of the oldest surviving Colonial buildings in Mumbai. You will learn about the geography of the erstwhile 'walled town' as you walk down the arcades of Horniman Circle, the city's first planned business district and through the historic round garden in the middle. The walk will end with a visit to the other important landmark around the Circle - the grand St. Thomas' Cathedral.
On 13th February at 4:30pm, the walk will start from Oval Maidan (East entrance, opp. Mumbai University)
This walk will lead from the Oval Maidan into the city's most magnificent campus - that of Mumbai University. You can enjoy the amazing Victorian neo-Gothic architecture with magnificent detailing, airy verandahs, high-coffered ceilings, glorious stained glass and beautiful woodwork while you listen to the chimes of the famous Rajabai Clock Tower. Also you will visit the newly-restored Convocation Hall within the same campus.
On 14th February at 10am, the walk will begin from Elphinstone Technical Institute, opp. Metro Cinema (main entrance steps)
This walk will lead from the Metro Cinema junction to Crawford Market. This route is a veritable exhibition of heritage buildings representing various genres of Mumbai's architectural history. It includes the unusual Victorian neo-Gothic Elphinstone Technical School, the Art Deco Metro Cinema, vernacular style Jer Mahal, the handsome Renaissance Revival style Small Causes Court, and many more...The walk will end with visits to the small but well-maintained Police Museum and the vintage Crawford Market where you can spend the rest of the day buying things at whole sale rate.
On 15th February at 10:30am, the walk will start from Gateway of India (near monument, facing Taj Mahal Hotel)
This walk leads from the Gateway of India, down to Colaba Causeway. Enroute, you will be led past historic landmarks like the Taj Mahal Hotel, Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Dhanraj Mahal and some delightful urban artefacts. The walk will end at the elegant Wesley Church.
Besides this heritage walks you could also enjoy the Free Open-Deck bus ride that starts at 6pm (only on week-ends during the festival) from Regal Circle bus stop, outside Prince of Wales Museum in South Mumbai. They have a commentary on the upper deck and it can seat only 30 passengers. The ride is of one hour and it passes through the best-loved landmarks like Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai University, High court, Victoria Terminus, Asiatic Society and many more. The bus returns to the starting point on completion of the tour.
The rides through the city and heritage walks are all free this week…… Wow! What more could you ask?
ps: for more enquiries on heritage walks call Tel: (91-22) 2369 0992 Fax: (91-22) 2364 3234
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.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” .....as it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.
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