Presenting the past through curated walking tours, visits and workshops that are interactive, engaging and critical.
Museums and heritage sites are my happy place! Join me on walks and guided visits through Mumbai’s fascinating, layered heritage spaces and museums to find out why. Follow me on Facebook for an updated events calendar. Walks are also available on request, with routes and timings tailored to suit your needs and interests.
Inheritage Walk Routes:
Fort Stories: See the city as never before! 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.
- From the iconic Gateway of India precinct walk to Regal Circle – then to the original boundary of the erstwhile Bombay Fort at the start of the old Dockyard Road (Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg) – on to Kala Ghoda and the University buildings, to end at the Art Deco precinct across Oval Maidan (2.5 hours).
- You could continue towards Flora Fountain and the heart of the old Fort – to St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Horniman Circle and end at the old Town Hall (Asiatic Society). Alternatively follow the original boundary of the Fort along today’s DN road to end at VT (CST) station (3 hours).
- Begin at the heart of the old Fort at the Town Hall building (Asiatic Society), walk around Horniman Circle to St. Thomas’ Cathedral, then Flora Fountain and onward to the High Court and University Buildings, to end at the Art Deco precinct across Oval Maidan (2.5 hours).
- This route could be extended to include Kala Ghoda, Regal Circle and the Gateway precinct. Alternatively continue in the opposite direction, following the original boundary of the Fort along today’s DN road, to end at VT (CST) station (3 hours).
- Begin at Oval Maidan, walk towards Flora Fountain, which marks the boundary to the old Bombay Fort, onward to St. Thomas’ Cathedral, around Horniman Circle to the old Town Hall, then through the Indian Town within the Fort, past Ballard Estate, to end at VT (CST) station (3 hours).
Represented along these routes are the various architectural traditions that characterise the historic city centre. During the walks, archival images of the city help bridge the gap between past and present.
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
BUT…there’s so much more to Mumbai than the erstwhile Fort area!
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. (2.5 hours).
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 (2.5 hours).
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 (2.5 hours).
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! (2 hours).
The Lives of Objects: Discover the ever fascinating Chor (or is it Shor?) Bazaar, hidden deep within the labyrinth of the city’s traditional Market district. The shops of Chor Bazaar are best described as today’s curiosity cabinets, each stocked floor to ceiling (literally) with objects bursting to share their stories! The visit will illustrate how objects can speak to us, and how we may use them for inspiration, reflection and learning (1.5 hours).
Discover Mumbai’s Museums
An Insider’s Tour of the BDL Museum: Established 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 (2.5 hours).
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. (2.5 hours).
Nehru Centre Library: Travel back in time at the Nehru Centre Library’s iconic Discovery of India exhibition. With 14 galleries of immersive, tactile displays that encourage critical thought and engagement with a wide sweep of past events, art, architecture, material culture and traditions, there is no better place in the city to experience the history of India (2 hours).
For Schools & Colleges: Specially conceptualised walks, visits and workshops, which encourage critical and creative learning, hands-on skills development and respond to curriculum requirements, are planned in collaboration with the city’s schools and colleges. Please connect for further details.