Walking Mumbai

Encouraging critical and creative public engagement with Mumbai’s histories, streets and spaces, art and museums – one walk at a time! Follow me on Facebook for an upcoming events calendar. Walks are also available on request, with routes and timings tailored to suit your needs and interests.

Fort Stories: Explore Mumbai’s most iconic neighbourhood on a walking tour that unearths and spotlights it’s hidden histories – the stories that lie behind, around, and within, the buildings, streets and spaces so familiar today. We walk back through the area’s earliest history as a lonely island acquired by traders of the East India Co., follow its journey from a struggling fortified town into a crowded, cosmopolitan, trading centre, then to its place at the heart of 19th century developments that transformed Bombay into British India’s ‘first city’, and, finally, to area’s unique post-independence challenges and changes in identity.
Route: Gateway of India – Regal Circle – Kala Ghoda – Oval Maidan

Modern Mumbai – Walking through the 20th century: Beginning with city improvements and development following the deadly Plague epidemic of the late 19th century, this walk highlights critical moments in the making of modern Mumbai. From the high of Art Deco to darker, largely untold, histories of corruption, appropriation and inefficiency, from grating missed opportunities in urban planning post independence to our ongoing romance with reclamation, this walk explores planning, architecture and roads not taken in the building of the city we experience today.
Route: Oval Maidan – Marine Drive – Nariman Point

In Fact & Fiction – Walking with Words: Participants explore Mumbai’s most iconic neighbourhood on a walking tour that unearths and spotlights it’s hidden histories – the stories that lie behind, around, and within, the buildings, streets and spaces so familiar today. We walk back through the area’s earliest history as a lonely island acquired by traders of the East India Co., follow its journey from a struggling fortified town into a crowded, cosmopolitan, trading centre, then to its place at the heart of 19th century developments that transformed Bombay into British India’s ‘first city’, and, finally, to area’s unique post-independence challenges and changes in identity. On the way, we meet and hear from diarists, novelists and poets who share their experiences of the city now known as Mumbai, in their own voice, as only they can! From Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie, Kala Ghoda’s triangle to the Bombay crow, Bombay then to Mumbai now, walk with me and the many words written on, and in, this city by the sea.
Route: Gateway of India – Regal Circle – Kala Ghoda – Oval Maidan

Bandra’s Past, Present & Future: Myth, belief, tradition and fact merge on a heritage walk that explores the unique physical spaces, character and cultures of contemporary Bandra, spotlighting the neighbourhood’s particular history and legacies, and the manner in which its residents attempt to preserve and negotiate the same today, at a time of monumental change and loss in the city.

Byculla’s Hidden Histories: Explore 19th century Byculla through the lens of change! Once a low lying swamp submerged by every high tide, Byculla benefitted from crucial reclamation work and grew into a rich residential suburb in the early 19th century, attracting the most affluent of Bombay’s citizens and its most sophisticated infrastructure – including its very first museum! In the latter 1800’s, the building of the mills and workers’ housing transformed the character and face of the neighbourhood. The Bombay Plague of the 1890’s brought a tumultuous century to its close; the next would bring even more upheaval. To walk through Byculla today is to be in two places at once – Mumbai in its past, and its future. Focusing on Byculla’s physical spaces and unique contemporary character, this walk encourages an exploration of the city’s complex histories, its present moment and potential futures.

Bombay meets the World – A walk through Horniman Circle and Ballard Estate Participants explore the birthplace of modern Mumbai on a walking tour that unearths and spotlights it’s hidden histories. We 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 development into a fortified town and home to diverse communities, its growth into a crowded, cosmopolitan trading centre, and then to its place at the heart of 19th century changes that transformed Bombay into British India’s ‘first city’. From Horniman Circle, we walk to Ballard Estate, with its wide, tree-lined streets and elegant European-inspired architecture, and back to early 20th century Bombay, to a port city that stood at the centre of a map dominated by sea trade and travel, and at the brink of modern living. From war, trade and shipping to train travel, migration, hotels and public dining, this walk highlights remarkable, hidden connections between Bombay and the world

Planning for People – Dadar Then and Now: On a walking conversation through Dadar Parsi and Hindu Colonies in central Mumbai, participants will be encouraged to observe and interpret the reasons why these areas have, for the past century, been considered amongst the city’s best planned neighbourhoods for people. We will also confront the almost overwhelming, rampant urban development that is eroding neighbourhoods, and changing lifestyles, across Mumbai, today. Our walk, observations and discussion will be guided by the universal and enduring cues and teachings of urban planning revolutionary Jane Jacobs, on the health of cities everywhere! 

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An Insider’s Tour of the BDL MuseumEstablished in the mid-19th century as the Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay, the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad (BDL) Museum in Byculla is Mumbai’s oldest museum and, recently, its greatest heritage conservation success story. Participants join me on an insider’s exploration of the Museum building, collections and histories. From fine and decorative arts that spotlight craftsmanship, change and international trade through the latter 1800’s to miniature clay models, dioramas and maps which illustrate life, culture and politics in 20th century Mumbai, the Museum’s stunning Victorian home holds complex and layered memories waiting to be unraveled.

Museum Memories at the CSMVS: As keeper of our collective memory and histories, and a space of joy and inspiration, Mumbai’s premier museum is without rival. Participants join me on an interpretive tour of the CSMVS to encounter, explore and critically engage with the stories and secrets hidden within, behind and around the highlights of the museum collection! From prehistoric stone tools to ancient inscriptions of monumental significance, powerful relief carvings from a faraway land, sculptures that illustrate the very development of Indian figurative art, miniature paintings that speak of political aspiration and resistance beyond style and subject, textiles, coins and weapons, the CSMVS has it all. Participants also discover the features and meanings behind the museum’s iconic design and its institutional history, placing its story within the larger development of Indian museums and the building of Bombay’s city centre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

For Schools & Colleges: Specially conceptualised walks, visits and workshops, encouraging critical and creative learning and hands-on skills development, are planned in collaboration with the city’s schools and colleges. Please connect for further details.

12 thoughts on “Walking Mumbai

  1. Hey! I had visited the Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum for a private tour with my office and now have finally found more info online about the tours! Could you let me know how I could book one of these? They sound so interesting!!

  2. It was great walking around Byculla with you yesterday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the walk and all the interesting information you shared. Thanks so much for the good work you do for preserving our disappearing heritage.

  3. I took the Byculla walk with the super cool Alisha Sadilkot .I think this is the best way to explore any city . The best part of the walk was to realise that the parts of city or city itself which we take so much for granted today meant so much at one given point of time . It was legendary or rather still is . Special thanks to Alisha for maintaining her energy and enthusiasm at high levels throughout the walk with her heart warming charm .

    Can’t wait for another walk .

  4. Alisha thank you for bringing the museum display – of India and the nine stories alive. Just like the bandra heritage walk and the kala ghodha this was so captivating. We start appreciating the city we live in so much more.

    Thankyou

  5. I used to be more than happy to search out this web-site.I needed to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I undoubtedly enjoying each little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you blog post.

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