Skip to main content

...and the Mumbai was born

As a boy, born and brought up in North India, Delhi was always the greatest City for me in India. Everything, from first mall to first McD, it has always in Delhi. On the other hand, Mumbai always fascinated me but the only information I had was through friends or books. Finally last weekend, I got a chance to visit Mumbai with one of my friend and I started the journey with Colaba region of Bombay.

Previous two generations of my family worked in Bombay (when it was not Mumbai). From them I have heard a lot about this area, Colaba. Colaba is the heart of Bombay. Its history is as old as Bombay.

Almost 350 years before, when there was no Mumbai, just one small island of Bombay. In 1661 King Charles II of England married Princess Catherine of Braganza. The marriage dowry given to English was the island of Bombay that the Portuguese had no use. Charles himself didn’t care much about these island. But British East India Company realized the importance and developed Bombay as perfect natural harbour. Deep enough to accommodate 150 ships and with a natural fortification as mainland India, Bombay was perfect for the company’s operations. And with the Company renting the islands from the Crown, for £10/- annually, Bombay’s illustrious history began.

Most important place in Colaba is “The Gateway of India” that was constructed for welcoming King Charles II on India’s soil. He must have not realized that one day it shall be one of the biggest tourist spot of Current Mumbai. You may always find Couples sitting spending time together, kids taking pictures of the Gateway and family queuing for ferry rides around Elephanta Caves. So, as a traditional we took pictures and queued up for the ride.

Just in front of Gateway, there is mighty Taj Mahal Hotel. It was the first Taj Hotel to be opened in India and in my opinion it is still the best one. We decided to walk along the periphery of the ‘front’ bay and re-chart the birth of Mumbai. We walked through Apollo Gate and Front Bay covers the northern part of the old ‘Fort’. This was the area where the first signs of habitation were seen on the island of Bombay. Bombay is not a city of locals, Maharashtrians. It was always a City of Immigrants that was founded by British and developed by Gujjus, Parsis, Tamilians and now by North Indians.

Charles II wedding gift, the seven islands of Bombay were in control of East India Company and it was British who thus began the herculean task of developing the Company’s newest asset. After completing the task of fortifying the town from sea borne invasion the next job at hand was to stamp their authority on the local inhabitants and what better way to do so than by constructing buildings that epitomized might, authority, imperialism and power. Soon structures began popping up all over the ‘new’ town to serve some purpose or the other.

 By that we walked towards the Fort area of Colaba. Fort is the area which has Renaissance style buildings scattered all around the place. You can see the famous Town Hall which houses the Asiatic Society Library of Mumbai and the Horniman Circle Garden and the spectacular surrounding buildings. It has a lot of Parse’s inhabitant in the area and you can find a lot of Parse’s restaurant and Fire temples in the surroundings. Most famous of them is Britannia restaurant which is more than 70 years old and is only place in the country which serves “Berry Pulao”, an Iranian delicacy prepared with Chicken and Berry’s.

 In the Fort, we pass through Bombay stock exchange, Tata’s head office and many big offices which still has British effect on them. In the entrance of Fort area is CST (Victoria Terminus) which apart from being a railway station is a tourist spot in itself. You will be in love with the place in just few seconds and will realize that contribution of British in developing India is beyond comparison. If we claim that they have taken money from India, then above this they have also invested ample amount of their wealth in this country which is easily visible today’s time in form of railways and hundreds of bridges that they had developed at their time. But apart from other facts, their contribution for Bombay is not comparable and you may realize it only if you walk through the lanes of Fort.


  1. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Mumbai, but perhaps I failed to appreciate the history of the place. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  2. I spent my childhood at wodehouse road colaba , later strand cinema , mumbai just grew on you.. I now stay at Bandra and Colaba is a distant dream,,nice blog take care thanks.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ultimate guide of Eating Out in Pune

I am born and brought up in North India but am living in Pune for last four years. This is the place I call home. I love eating out and on various occasions people keep asking me about my favorite eating places in Pune or where they can find Best Punjabi or best Biryani in town. So I thought let’s make a list of my favorite places to eat in Pune so that it can be a reference to someone searing for some good food options.
Before starting my list, I am making few confessions to help you understand how I made the list.
Let me clear you that it totally depends on my taste. People taste differs and it can happen that you don’t like a place where I love to eat.It’s also not correct to say that I have eaten at all places in Pune and then I am making a list out of that.I am not a fan in eating at those five star restaurants and only visit them when it is sponsored by someone else.I will not include any chain restaurants or places which I think is not Puneri.I am a teetotaler and don’t eat Bac…

Allahabad - Exploring the Land of three Rivers

The land of Prayag or Allahabad where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meets was always a special place for Hindus. They continue to come here from different parts of Globe to take a holy dip in Ganga and ask forgiveness for their Sins in life and free them from the cycle of rebirth.

Once called the Oxford of the East, Allahabad has lost its glory in this Modern world. It was once the capital of United Province, now called Uttar Pradesh at the time of Britishers. From Asoka to Akbar, the City was a center of Statesmanship, art and culture. The time has gone and so is its glory, but it has protected its heritages and past to get vanished in current time.
I visited Allahabad a few days back and found there are many places of my Interest. They can be a mythological place or a Modern architecture. The City has seen it all. I am listing out a few of my experiences and will welcome if you want to add anything in the list:--
1)Take a holy dip in Sangam

The two great rivers that start their journey f…

Te Amo - Daman

As my friends in India were supporting Portugal in FIFA World cup 2014, I traveled to India’s strongest connection to Portugal, Daman. This small Union territory borders with Gujarat and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It turned out to be same as I had expected. The place is quite similar to its counterpart Goa, which was also a Portuguese colony but has a lot of unexplored places than Goa. It’s laid back beaches, Portuguese architecture buildings and awesome sea food has forced me to love the place. So, if you are planning to travel this small town, here are 5 things you should do here:
1) Take a walk in Moti Daman.

Moti Daman is the old city of Daman situated around Moti Daman  Fort. The place has numerous Portuguese style buildings. These grand buildings which was once ruled by Portuguese is now been converted to Indian government offices. You can’t find people speaking Portuguese on road in any other part of Country but in Daman. The atmosphere has charm of its own and you can’t afford to m…

Into the Den of the Dons

When you talk to a Mumbaikar about Mohammad Ali Road who some says is the toughest Competitor of Chandani Chowk (Delhi) in terms of foodies delight. People from all over the country come to Mohammad Ali road to treat their taste buds to deliciously unusual non-vegetarian delights. It has Crawford market on one end and famous Minara Masjid at other. It is surrounded by area called Bhendi Bazaar and Bohri Mohalla.
When you walk down the narrow lanes of the adjoining areas Bhendi bazaar or Bohri mohalla, there are these small shops selling most awesome Non-Vegetarian foods from the time of Britishers. Noor mohammadi and Sharvi are two most famous restaurants in the area. Bollywood film stars such as Sanjay Dutt or Salman are regular here. Even Sanjay Dutt has shared his recipe with Noor Mohammadi and they serve it with his name, Chicken Sanju baba. You can walk towards famous Chor Bazaar from Bhendi bazaar and if you are lucky you can find some antique and vintage items.
We arrived at Mo…

The mysterious levitating stone of Shivapur

The quest for untold and unusual places had brought us to a small village near Pune. The village called Shivapur is known for an unusual Dargah of a 15th century saint named Qamar ali darvesh.
Someone from the twitter world had shared an image about the place and from there only I came to know about the story behind it. Till then, I was not aware about this fascinating story. So, Shivapur has a Dargah of a saint named Qamar ali darvesh and apart from that Dargah it has a large stone in its complex. The story goes like this that whenever eleven people will try to lift the stone by their index finger shouting the name of Qamar ali darvesh. They would be able to lift the stone above their head and if there are more or less people trying the same thing they won’t be able to lift it up.

I don’t believe in these kinds of stories and decided to check that out. We reached Shivapur and easily found the Dargah. There were a lot of pilgrims who had come to take the blessings of the saint. An e…