Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bombay: Hidden Beauties: Horniman Circle and Victorian Architecture

Some years back while I was attending a Sufi Show, called Ruhaniyaat in the Horniman Garden, I discovered the beauty of Horniman Circle in the background. I thought to myself, I wish I could have a cocktail party here with light live music playing, the buildings lit up in the background, the fountain inside the garden in a playful mood sprinkling its water.

On close observations you see that the "banking street" that’s I would like to call it, has so much of wonderful architectural gems. The buildings, like most street buildings along the roads in South Bombay enclose footpaths at the ground levels. This was done to protect pedestrians while walking in the hot unbearable sun in the summers and from the heavy showers that were received during the monsoons. What an insight they had while the planned and designed! The space thus created is a cool arched passage and an absolute pleasure to walk through...

The niches have various heads/busts of people on each floor and on every building, each head being slightly different from the next; a different hairdo, a differently styled beard, a different expression...

Buildings around this area have a sort of romance in them, Elphinstone House, the Red coloured Mumbai Samachar Building, the St Thomas Cathedral, Brady House/ building that houses the ABN Amro (today the RBS), Readymoney Mansion are all such beauties.

Our modern day managers while taking care of their branding have sadly plastered and destroyed some of their facades so that their establishments could get good visibility.

Horniman Circle also has the Town Hall, this place has such historical importance, and very few people know that the declaration of Queen Victoria as the Empress of India was made on the very steps of the Town Hall after the Sepoy Mutiny.

South Bombay never disappoints me I always discover something new. Despite of being there so many times, it was only on this trip that I discovered the Bombay Port Trust building’s two beautiful ships that were jetting out. The building is a very simple stone building but these two ships take them to another level, so well thought of, small details make so much of a difference!

- Text by Francis D'Costa!


  1. Diti,hi
    this is LAkshmi Arvind from Celebrations decor.have been following your blog for along your blog dear.
    i would love to blog about "Shradanjali" and the pictures which you clicked ,would like to feature them on my decor blog.please do write back to me at
    all due credits for your image will be given will be linked to your blog.dont worry about that.

  2. I have just been back, and I am missing it already! Lovely pics.

  3. Oh lovely.. lovely .. The first pic is very dramatic... The architecture.. amazing!!

  4. Hi Diti

    Lovely pictures. Made me wish I has spent more time walking the streets of South Bombay.

    I am looking for bloggers who can blog about art. Drop me a line at sudaibir[at] if you are interested.


  5. Totally Agree!

    Remains of long standing stone buildings of British Colony. Now its home to YES bank, All India institute of local self government, Botawala Building, Parikh Construction, also to lots of homeless indian.

    Truly Amazing India!.

  6. Fantastic Framing! Bombay can be seen in a million different ways I suppose.

  7. Horniman?
    Coincidentally, there's also a museum called Horniman Museum in London.
    I wonder that circle was built by the same chap?