Walk down the forgotten roads of Mumbai, discover places you never knew existed

Mar 13, 2018, 12:08 IST | Trina Chaudhuri

Grab a chance to walk down forgotten roads and discover a port city you never knew existed

Ballard Bunder Gate
Ballard Bunder Gate

Sometimes it only takes a walk down the lanes and by-lanes of a city to find out what it really has in store. Better still, if there's someone to guide you through it. This Saturday, have Alisha Sadikot, founder of The Inheritage Project, transport you to what was, in early 20th century, a port city that stood at the centre of a map dominated by sea trade and travel, as part of the Ballard Estate heritage walk.

Architectural details of the Ballard Estate building
Architectural details of the Ballard Estate building

According to Rishi Shah, co-founder of Mumbai Riders that have collaborated with Sadikot for the walk, Ballard Estate was planned and developed in the early 1900s as Bombay's premier business district, planned in a uniform architectural style. Beyond its architecture and layout, Ballard Estate became home to some of the city's leading business houses, and public institutions, each with fascinating histories.

Boman Kohinoor, owner of the iconic Britannia café
Boman Kohinoor, owner of the iconic Britannia café

“For me, this has always been as it's rightly called 'a ghost town'. We never really visit that part of the city. However, walking through the town during previous walks made me conscious about how prominent it was earlier — from war, trade and shipping to train travel, migration, hotels and public dining. This walk highlighted remarkable hidden connections between Bombay and the world,” says Shah.

Alisha Sadikot
Alisha Sadikot

For Sadikot, however, “Ballard Estate and its history remain a relatively unknown area of the city for most residents. The walks are an attempt to encourage an exploration of this unique neighbourhood which has great (hi)stories to share”.At this walk, participants will trace the story of Bombay island as it moves out of relative obscurity under the Portuguese during the 16th century; follow its transfer to the British and subsequent development into a fortified town and home to diverse communities; its growth into a crowded, cosmopolitan trading centre, and then to the heart of 19th-century changes that transformed Bombay into British India's “first city”.

“From Horniman Circle, we will walk to Ballard Estate, with its wide, tree-lined streets and elegant European-inspired architecture, and back to early 20th century Bombay,” Sadikot explains, adding, “My favourite stop is the Ballard Bunder Gate, which once led to Ballard Pier where passengers and other steamships would dock.”

On March 17, 8 am to 10 am
Meeting point Steps of the Asiatic Society, Fort.
Call 9619949909
Log on to imojo.in (limited spots) COST Rs 850

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