Mumbai: Bazaar Gate Police Station is back to its old, glorious self

Updated: Nov 16, 2019, 08:00 IST | Fiona Fernandez | Mumbai

Mumbai CP opens historic 138-year-old Gothic Revival landmark that is older than CSMT and GPO.

(From left) Sanjay Barve, police chief; Abhishek Trimukhe, AIG DG Office; Manoj Sharma, Addl CP West; Sangramsinh Nishandar, DCP Zone 1 and Naval Bajaj, Jt CP. Pic/ Mumbai Police
(From left) Sanjay Barve, police chief; Abhishek Trimukhe, AIG DG Office; Manoj Sharma, Addl CP West; Sangramsinh Nishandar, DCP Zone 1 and Naval Bajaj, Jt CP. Pic/ Mumbai Police

Barely 1.4km from the historic Esplanade Mansion, which has been fighting a long battle to stay afloat, a small victory for Mumbai’s heritage movement was scripted on 17/1 Walchand Hirachand Marg. Yesterday, after a nearly nine-month-long restoration, Bazaar Gate Police Station DCP Zone –1, established in 1881, was inaugurated by Commissioner of Police Sanjay Barve, in the presence of several senior police officers including Abhishek Trimukhe, AIG DG Office, Manoj Sharma, Addl CP West and Naval Bajaj, Jt CP. Sangramsinh Nishandar, DCP Zone 1 (the restored police station) and his team specially welcomed their seniors and superiors to the restored police station.

Located in the Bora Bazaar precinct, and listed as a Grade III heritage structure, the space emerged after the demolition of the Fort walls in the 1860s by the Rampart Removal Committee. The police station, interestingly is older that its more popular landmarks in the neighbourhood – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and General Post Office. The repairs and restoration was courtesy the Kala Ghoda Association and architect Vikas Dilawari.

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Police chief Sanjay Barve (right), Maneck Davar (in blue jacket) and Sangramsinh Nishandar, DCP Zone 1 at the inauguration

“The area is situated where the old Bazaar Gate – one of the three gates of the Fort walls (Church Gate and Apollo Gate being the other two) – would have been located,” shared Dilawari at the inauguration. The simple, modest structure was built in Gothic revivalist style, and includes a ground floor plus two storeys. The verandahs came in for special mention as they run right through the building across all the three levels offering ventilation, light and a sense of space. As we look around from the second level, it’s easy to imagine its heightened historicity, and how the force might have found it convenient to watch over the city from its vantage position. We learn later that the entire restoration was done sensitively enough that staff could continue operations instead of having to shift elsewhere.

Moments before the inauguration, when we caught up with Maneck Davar, chairman of the Kala Ghoda Association, he was thrilled that another site in the precinct received timely restoration. “It’s a good sign for the city’s heritage,” he said.

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Restored interiors retained the vintage character of the original structure. Pics/Fiona Fernandez

As the afternoon sun cast a warm glow on the Malad (yellow basalt) stone façade building, it was time to head indoors where Dilawari guided the CP and senior members of the police force on a walkthrough of its restored interiors. Visitors were given a closer view of the significant elements, like the Kurla basalt stone that was used for the rest of the structure, as well as the minimal ornamentation that was done in Porbander stone.

Special snacks from 100-yr-old eateries

Bazargate

While welcoming us to the police station, DCP Nishandar had said, “As a tribute to our historic police station, I’ve arranged for snacks from eateries that are 100 years or even older.” Cake rolls, samosas, jalebis, pedhas were sourced from old Mumbai favourites like Parsi Diary Farm, Bhuleshwar Jilebiwala and Persian Bakery, to ensure that the occasion ended on a nostalgic sweet note.

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