• Rohit Pansare

Mumbai’s heritage in a shed….

Bombay (renamed as Mumbai in 1995) a city of opportunities,a city of dreams unfulfilled, a city that conquers all hearts yet remains unconquered. Mumbai city(Metropolitan area) has a population of more than 12 million according to the 2011 Census of India, is highest in India, ranked 4th most populated in the world.

Who owns Mumbai now? 9 Million people(almost 60% of the population) live in self-made settlements or slums. This population serves the rest of the 40% population and yet is considered a vestigial organ of the city, a cancer or tumour spreading across it and a huge hurdle in its Shanghai dreams. The city is a living heritage and includes two UNESCO World Heritage sites– The Victoria Terminals(Renamed as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in 1966) and the Elephanta caves.Yet heritage is not always appreciated, often dimissed and sometimes dismissed, especially if it claims stake over the city, even if that stake doesn’t hold true now.

On the southern side stands the grand Gateway of India, built in 1915 to commemorate the arrival of King George V & Queen Marry in 1911. It has served as an entry for the British Raj that have ruled India for roughly 100 years. Yet this heritage could not be hid like the one that is hidden in the heart of the city.

Located near a  narrow lane next to Elphinstone College, off MG Road lies a legacy of the city, hidden from view, underneath a shed made of corrugated asbestos sheet. A small hole at the eye-level, will give you a glimpse of what lies within it. By far it is one of the most beautiful and yet sad site that I have seen in Bombay.

As you peer through this hole, two figures will materialize, at first almost looking ghastly, till your eyes adjust to the darkness. Then it will hit you, as you look around with an awestruck expression. Obvious questions will run through your mind, as to who must have put this here? Was it originally here? Were these brought here from somewhere else?

As your eyesight moves across the shed you will see that these are statues, a legacy of the British Raj and arguably the heritage of Modern Bombay.

What lies inside this shed are the statues of King Edward VIII and his royal predecessor, King George V


Statue of King Edward VIII


An interesting read on Firstpost.  The author was the one who lead me to this place!

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