In search of the black horse
Every year when the Kala Ghoda sub-precinct comes to life with its annual cultural extravaganza, the now-familiar signage featuring a black horse takes centrestage.
For the rest of the year, it’s business as usual in this nucleus of the city’s buzzing art district. Recently, as we rummaged through a few titles on the city’s history, a pleasant discovery was in store. Circa June 26, 1879: The Kala Ghoda statue, which depicts Albert Edward, Prince of Wales riding a black horse was unveiled by Sir Richard Temple, the then Governor General of Bombay.
The black horse or ‘Kala Ghoda’ stood there till 1965 when it was shifted to the Victoria and Albert Museum (now renamed after Dr Bhau Daji Lad) in Byculla’s Rani Baug. Sir John Edgar Boehm sculpted the imposing statue in bronze at a cost of over Rs 12,500.
It rises to a height of 12 feet and nine inches, and was completed in 1878. By the 1960s, this statue, along with those of several British personalities, had been damaged by political activism and protests. Today, the statue occupies a place of prominence in a separate enclosure, near the decadent gates of the Rani Baug that was once called the Victoria Gardens with priceless fauna for company.
At: Rani Baug, Dr Ambedkar Road, Byculla Railway (E).