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Gamdevi

Harshit Rakheja
For the history buff, Mumbai overwhelms with the historicity of its otherwise bland cityscape. Interspersed with those high-rise buildings which have come to characterise Mumbai as a concrete jungle are the hidden gems of Bombay. Their heritage value inconspicuous for the passer-by, rue the heritage conservationists who organise heritage walks in various precincts of South Bombay to have us look a bit closer at our surroundings, at the building which stands out for its ornate jharokas or balconies, amidst the squalor of chawls and slums, or the double-storeyed haveli which draws our attention for its modest make, even as we catch a glimpse of the chandelier in the living room. Mumbai’s heritage isn’t tell-tale but titillating, making you yearn for more, even as the answers to your questions continue to elude you. One such precinct of South Bombay whose heritage value lies in plain sight is Gamdevi. Moving past the Royal Opera House, India’s last surviving Opera House, and its junction, it’s worth marvelling at the pastel coloured buildings which flank the wide avenues of SoBo. A hike through the length of the French Bridge takes one to the Blavatsky Lodge, one of the centres of the Theosophical Society, a fulcrum for the idea of secularism in India.