Flora Fountain is the heart of Old Bombay, in the central district known as Fort, because there used to be a fort in this area.
The first part of our walking tour of Old Bombay takes in the heart of Old Bombay – known as the Fort district, because once there actually was a Fort – a fortified settlement here.
We begin where we began this stint in Bombay – at the Gateway to India, on Apollo Bunder, an important pier for passengers travelling to the East. We head north, past Wellington Fountain to Horniman Circle – the commercial heart of Old Bombay.
Crossing the Circle, we make our way to Flora Fountain, the iconic centre of Old Bombay, and wend our way south again down Mahatma Gandhi Road towards Wellington Fountain, ending at the Museum Quarter.
This first segment of the tour of Bombay’s monumental architecture takes in primarily 19th and early 20th century commercial architecture in Bombay, with a few instances of religious, civic and military architecture.
The entire walking tour is a loop that will probably take the intrepid tourist some 2 – 3 hours to take in entirely.
Apollo Bunder to Wellington Fountain
The Gateway to India (1924), designed by George Wittet in an Indo-Saracenic style. This is the sea-facing facade of the structure.
The Taj Mahal Palace is Bombay’s Grand Hotel. It was commissioned by Jamshedji Tata and designed in an Indo-Saracenic style by Indian architects Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza. An “up-yours” to the British, completed in 1903.
The Old Yacht Club Building, at the edge of Apollo Bunder.
The Royal Bombay Yacht Club (1897), designed in a Tudor-bethan Gothic style.These are the residential annexe to the Old Yacht Club building.
Commercial cast-iron style building
Dhunraj Mahal was built by a Raja of the Princely State of Hyberabad in the 1930s in an Art Deco style. It was the most expensive residential development of its time.
Majestic Hotel, 1909.
Waterloo Mansions (early 1900s).
The former Royal Alfred Sailor’s Home (today’s Maharashtra State Police Headquarters), 1876. Venetian Gothic style – note the Ibero-Moorish arches reminiscent of the Great Mosque of Cordoba.
Regal Cinema, 1934. Designed in an Art Deco style.
From Wellington Fountain to Horniman Circle
Church of St Andrew, 1815. This is the Scots Kirk of the city.
KR Cama Oriental Institute, 1930s Art Deco style. It contains a rare collection on Parsi culture and history.
The Great Western Hotel, first built in the 1770s, was the residence of Governor William Hornby – of the Hornby Vellard (the ambitious plan to link the seven islands of Bombay through land reclamation). It became the Great Western Hotel in 1883.
Writer’s Building – once the Secretariat Building.
Nearby sits the Old Admiralty, 1800s.
…and Knesset Eliyahoo, the second oldest synagogue in the city.
The Naval Dockyard.
The old Bombay Town Hall, built in 1833 in a Doric style. Also the headquarters of the Royal Asiatic Society.
The Bank of India Building.
From Horniman Circle to Flora Fountain
Horniman Circle – the commercial and civic buildings framing the circle were completed between 1858 to 1878.
The circle was once known as Elphinstone Circle
Elphinstone Building, late 1800s. Venetian Gothic.
British Bank of the Middle East
St Thomas Church, 1718. This is the oldest church in Bombay.
Readymoney Mansions, designed in an Indo-Saracenic style.
Flora Fountain, 1864.
From Flora Fountain to the Museum Quarter
Hongkong and Shanghai B
Reserve Bank of India, 1935.
Watson’s Esplanade Hotel, 1869. This was once the foremost British-run, “whites-only” hotel in Bombay – from which Jamshedji Tata was refused entry.
Army and Navy Buildings, 1900s.
David Sassoon Library, 1870. The Sassoons were a Baghdadi Jewish trading family.
Elphinstone College, Victorian Gothic Revival Style.