In and Around

Horniman Circle

‘Fort’ in Mumbai has a special place in the way the city’s  residents define their identity.

The Asiatic Society in the Town Hall building  with the verdant Horniman Circle garden in front. All around the atmosphere throbs with activity. Office goers, traders, entrepreneurs and a veritable army of service-providers to keep them well-fed and industrious. With the Reserve Bank and the Stock Exchange right there, along with a host of banks, businesses and shops, it is patently a financial and commercial hub. Yet the place is busy without being mindless. It has an indescribable feel, a historical and cultural memory running through  it. Horniman Circle, in the heart of Fort, holds within itself, the early history of Portugese and British Bombay, going back to the mid 16th century. Something about its configuration allows you to savour the ambience, peel is layers and discover the stages and processes in the making of contemporary Mumbai. It invites  you to stop by, admire its architecture, explore its nooks and lanes, rest in its leafy garden, listen to snatches of music wafting from St. Thomas Cathedral, browse in its old world libraries and reading rooms and quaint bookshops and partake of its gastronomic pluralism. Its charm and textured character imperceptibly slow you down, a feat of sorts in downtown Mumbai. 

The juxtapositioning of colonial and post colonial institutions, of commerce, art and literature, of  ceaseless activity and eternal repose, is not a superficial  geographical one. The live interconnections and ruptures  render it a fascinating subject of exploration for the historian, sociologist and the intrepid amateur.

A view of the Asiatic Society from the Horniman Circle Garden

press to zoom

Asiatic Society & Town Hall

press to zoom

Poetry reading on the steps of the Town Hall

press to zoom

A view of the Asiatic Society from the Horniman Circle Garden

press to zoom
1/13

Images © Rafeeq Elias