Category Archives: Porticos

You say Tata and I say hello

5 July, 2013
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The Esplanade Hotel (1871)

Porticos: The Esplanade Hotel (1871)
Esplanade Road, Fort, (presently Esplanade Mansion, Mahatma Gandhi Road).

Among the urban legends of Bombay is the story that the industrialist Jamsetji Tata begun the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 1903, in retaliation for being denied admission into the European run and owned The Esplanade Hotel.
The story seems implausible for several reasons not least because John Watson’s The Esplanade admitted Indian guests as early as 1871, the year of its opening. Three young Bengalis, fresh from passing the Civil Service Examination in England in 1871, chose to stay at The Esplanade Hotel before their return to Calcutta.

Yesterday’s newspapers inform that the Esplanade Mansion (nee Hotel), India’s oldest surviving building with a cast iron framework, will be redeveloped. See the Local category of our Media Section for the reports.

The photograph is shot by Hersh Acharya.

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Portico: BB&CI Railway Administrative Offices (1899)

19 April, 2013
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BB&CI Railway Administrative Offices (1899)
Churchgate (presently Western Railway Head Office).

2013 is an important anniversary year for the Indian Railways and their structures. The first passenger train left Bombay for Thana on April 16th 1853, 160 years ago, hauled by three locomotives named Sindh, Sultan and Sahib.

The façade of the Bombay, Baroda & Central India (BB&CI) Railway Administrative Offices has been lit up this week in celebration (see our gallery above). A Google Doodle marks the 160 year anniversary.

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