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When the black horse held centre stage

As the Kala Ghoda Festival enters its last league in one of Mumbai's most vibrant sub-precinct, we turn the clock back to a time when the iconic black horse stood at its original spot, and re-trace a few landmarks from then that are still around. Hop along and enjoy the ride!

Elphinstone College
It remains the first institution in India to offer university education. Dedicated to Governor Montstuart Elphinstone, it was divided into a school and college in 1856.



The State Record Office occupies two wings in this building that preserves some of India's oldest documents. The present building was completed in 1888 and is a typical Romanesque styled building. Look closely and you will spot the carved bust of Sir Cowasjee Jehangir who contributed towards this landmark.

Banaji Limji Agiary
Hidden from public gaze, this agiary on Agiary Street is home to probably one of India's oldest sacred fires. It arrived here from Kolkata on June 25 1709. Seth Banaji Limji, a wealthy merchant from Surat endowed it. It was also called Kote-ni-Agiary (Fire Temple of the Fort).


Elphinstone College and David Sassoon Library with the Kala Ghoda
statue
in its original position. Pic courtesy/ Farooq issa, philips antiques/
Bombay: the Cities Within: Sharada Dwivedi & Rahul Mehrotra, India
Book House


The agiary was severely damaged during the Great Fire that ravaged Fort in 1805 and the sacred fired was temporarily transported to the Soonaji Hirji Readymoney Agiary at Gowalia Tank. It was installed in its new home on April 15 1845, when the agiary was renovated thanks to generous fund rasing from within the community.

Flora Fountain
The iconic fountain was planned and designed by Robert Norman Shaw in England. It was molded and chiseled in Portland stone by artist James Forsyth. Smaller fountains and mythological Romanesque figurines surround the structure.


Pic/Sameer Markande

It was placed at the square on November 18, 1869, it was initially called Frere Fountain for a while as homage to Governor Sir Bartle Frere's farsighted town planning. Finally, it adopted the name Flora, after the Roman deity of flowers. At the turn of the 20th century, a circular garden was built to enclose the fountain. It was widened to become a parking lot, in the 1950s.

Standard Chartered Building
Originally called the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, this was one of FW Stevens' last works. Unfortunately, he could not live to see this structure ready as he died on March 5, 1900. The bank was eventually completed in December 1902 at the cost of Rs 60,000.



Gostling & Stevens designed these offices in the Neoclassical style using impeccable stonework carvings and facades. The premises comprised of a banking hall, offices, private apartments for the director and his family even servants quarters -- all of which were supervised by Stevens' son, Charles.

Knesseth Ell yahoo Synagogue
Built in 1884 by Jacob Sassoon, city father David Sassoon's grandson, in memory of his father Elias, it is used by the tiny Jewish community since that time.



Its marble teba (pulpit)is covered with a Persian rug that dominates the cerulean interiors, with its arches, stained glass windows, columns as well as a 'high-women's' gallery. Its wide wooden staircase is worth a view. The synagogue is a stone's throw away from the traffic island at Kala Ghoda.

Did you know?
Prince Albert Edward's bronzed statue was created by Sir John Edgar Boehm. It rose to 5.1 metres and was completed in 1878. The statue was moved to the Veermata Jijabai Udyan in Byculla in 1965.

Extracted from Ten Heritage Walks of Mumbai, Fiona Fernandez, Rupa & Co. Available at leading bookstores

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