Mumbai Lens: The Cotton Exchange Building at Kalbadevi

In the busy Zaveri Bazaar area of Mumbai, near the Mumbadevi Temple and at a road intersection stands this multi-storied building.

Cotton Exchange Building, Urban Heritage, Mumbai, Bombay, Kalbadevi

Source: Wikimapia. Please click on the picture for full details.

At first glance, the greyish brown facade is quite unappealing and unimpressive to look at and gives no hint of its importance or the history associated with it. A passerby might just walk past the building or maybe, just maybe, glance at the large signboard which says ‘Jewel World’ before walking on.

It is only when one looks up and sees a relief panel (the band behind the white board) running around the building and understand the narrative it depicts that things become clear. The band depicts the story of cotton and this building is, or rather was, Mumbai’s Cotton Exchange.

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Mumbai Lens: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

The grand and Gothic-inspired building of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai is awe-inspiring at any time of the day. But when this UNESCO-listed world heritage site and the headquarters of Central Railway is lit up, it is simply stunning. Do click on the photograph below to see the details.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, CST, Victoria Terminus, VY, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Monument, Central Railway HeadquartersI came across the CST building, all lip up, a couple of Saturdays ago. It was around 7.30 pm and I was in a cab, homeward bound when suddenly CST appeared glowing like a jewel. I was lucky to get the red signal, which meant that I had time for a couple of quick photographs with my mobile phone, before the traffic surged ahead.

While I love to see monuments lit up and showing off their architecture, I really wish the colours are subtler and nicer. I found the pink and blue colours that light up CST quite garish and geared towards grabbing your eyeballs.

What are you think? Did you like the colours of CST? How do like your monuments lit up? Subtle? Eyeball grabbing? Thematic?

Do tell.ūüôā


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Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more posts from this series here.


Mumbai Lens: The Sri Aurobindo Memorial Tower

If you’re travelling towards Chembur or beyond from Navi Mumbai by the Sion-Panvel Highway, look left as the road curves right into V.N. Purav Marg (also known as the¬† Sion-Trombay Road). You will see this white tower standing tall in the shade of trees against the BARC boundary wall.

Aurobindo Me orial Tower, Mumbai, DeonarThis is the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Tower, which I have been seeing every day on my commute to work for the last 19 years. And every day I would look at the Memorial Tower with curiosity and tell myself that I would stop by one day to have a closer look at it. That day finally happened to be yesterday !

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Mumbai Lens: The Junction Box Family

There we were ‚ÄĒ a friend and I ‚ÄĒ walking along the Central Avenue in Chembur last Sunday animatedly discussing forthcoming travel plans when we met this family.

Street Art, MumbaiNaturally, we stopped to say hello. The Junction Box Family, that was their name, had taken up residence in Chembur earlier this year during the Chembur Festival.

“We like this place,” said Mr. Junction Box.

“Oh yes, we do,” repeated Mrs. Junction Box looking adoringly at her husband.

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Mumbai Lens: The painted tree

Roadside shrines are a common sight all over India. They can be anything from a tree, to a stone with eyes painted on it, to small stone idols placed under a tree, to a framed picture of a god or a holy man/woman, a cross, a grave of a pir… In my experience, the concentration of such shrines is the highest in cities, and Mumbai is no exception. I am no longer surprised when I come across them in the most unexpected of places; I do, however, get surprised only when I don’t see any.

But today morning, I came across a shrine that surprised me, stopped me in my tracks, made me have a good look, and then come home and write about it. Do let me tell you more about it.

I have been having some work in the Gandhi Market area, near King’s Circle in Mumbai this entire week. Once my work is done, I walk to King’s Circle to take a bus home. It is a short walk and I pass three well-maintained roadside shrines to reach my bus stop. The sharp contrast between the well-maintained and clean shrines and the squalid dwellings of the pavement dwellers who look after the shrines is what I have been noticing day after day.

Today, I noticed something else as well at one of the shrines – I saw that the tree trunk of one of the shrines was painted. And how !

Roadside shrine, Mumbai, Matunga, Ganesha

The painted tree

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Mumbai Lens: Bomonjee’s steps

It was the golden hour before sunset a couple of weeks back and I was on a walk with my friend Rama on Mount Mary Road. We were generally chatting about that and this and as we approached the steps that leads one down to Hill Road, I noticed a half-buried stone plaque/marker on one side of the steps. A closer look revealed this:

Bomanjee's Steps, Bandra, Hill Road, Mount Mary Road

The half-buried stone plaque/marker which reads: “Presented by H. Bomonjee Jeejeebhoy to Bandora Municipality ~ 1879”

Wow ! A 135-year old marker? And Bandra as Bandora? I was immediately intrigued and once I reached home turned to my good friend Google for helping me find out more about this slice of history.

And here is what I discoveredūüôā

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