17 August 2013

Journey of City of Seven Islands, from Portugal Invasion to Independent India

I have been following Travel Logs for quite some time now. Recently they had a contest "Explore Your City", which won me a vita walk. I opted "A Tryst With Destiny: Indepedence day special" midnight walk on Independence day eve. And guess the venue, Town Hall. The venue with the occassion thrilled me, not to miss the event. We gathered at 10PM, started off with introduction session toasted with a cup of hot tea. Then Kurush Dalal, of Travel Logs team took over with the History of the city..
Town Hall, Mumbai
History: Bombay as known, was the city of seven islands, with Kolis(the marathi fishing community) settlers. The first European invasion on Bombay was in 1534 by Potuguese, it continued to be in the hands of Portuguese until 1661, till Charls II of England recieved possion of the Island as part of dowry of Catherina of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal. Charls leased the seven islands to East India Company in 1668. By end of 17th century, Bombay had developed into a local port. 
In 1735, the ship building industry was started. Meanwhile Maratha had become the paramount power in Deccan and came into conflict with Portuguese in 1737, in the battle of Bassein. The battle lead by Baji Rao Peshwa lasted for 2 years, pushing Portuguese out of Salsette.
The Modern city of Bombay took its shape in 19th century, with the start of reclamation process of the seven Island. During the later half of the century, the cotton trade in Bombay created a pool of wealth amongst British and Indians. Which channelled in the rebuilding of the core of the city. This was the time when VT, BMC, Town Hall, University were constructed. Another new development was the opening of the railway lines in India, and in 1853, the first rails were laid between Bombay and Thane.
The Gothic revival of the late 19th century gave way to Indo - Sarascenic style of architectue. And General post office, the Prince of Wales Museum, the Gate Way of India and the Institute of Science were built.

Kurush Dalal's mesmerizing session at Town Hall Entrance
In 1857, the first war of Independence, lead the East India Company to revert to crown and the British rule started then in 1857. In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed the Ganesh Chaturthi festival into a large organised public event to gather public and generate nationalistic fervour amongst people against the British Colonial rule. During the end of 19th century the booming textile manufacturing, attracted huge number of workers.
Meanwhile, in 1885 the Indian National Congress was formed, Even after the congress becoming national, Bombay retained important place in struggle for Independence from Britain. Swaraj was first enunciated from the city. Gandhi returned from South Africa through the port of Bombay and the merchants of Bombay financed the independence movement. Quit India movement in 1942 was issued in Bombay, and India gained independence at midnight, becoming a free country from August 15, 1947.

Horniman Circle Garden entrance
The session was so interesting that non of us were ready to leave. It was already 11:30 by then and we planned for a walk through the Horniman circle, where Nikita Khanna and Dhiresh Sharma, explained us with more on the architecture of the buildings. It was nearing midnight by then and a gang of bikers gathered at the Starbucks Coffee, started the countdown for the special day, followed by National Anthem. We all sang with them, and welcomed the special day on a special note. Definitely this was one of the best Independence day celebration, I ever had. Way back home, clicked the below pic of CST station.
CST station


  1. Wow! Must have been so much fun!
    Congratulations on winning the free walk!
    A lovely post with history and beautiful images!

  2. Thank you magiceye. You must try one of their walks, they arrange very well...

  3. wow!! such a nice walk !!!


  4. Congratulations on winning :D Walking is the best way to explore any place.

  5. Nice walk. Have always loved walking among the Gothic buildings. Such imposing presence.

  6. @Sushmita: Thank you
    @Mridula: Thank you. True Mridula, walking is the best way to explore any place, and it becomes more interesting when you have a group who share similar interest.
    @Anil: Thank you and thanks for dropping in..

  7. wonderful history to this area, thanks for sharing and participating in Travel Photo Mondays

  8. I would love to visit this place some day but fear that the humidity would do me in. It seems like such an interesting place.

  9. Lovely shots!

  10. I love Mumbai! And your photos remind me of a very special city!

  11. Thank you everyone... Joyful: the best time to visit is Nov to Feb, you can plan then, am sure you will enjoy your visit...

  12. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing to light/dark.