Windows: Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (1903)
Legend has it that the Indian industrialist Jamsetji Tata begun the Taj in 1903, in retaliation for being denied admission into the European run and owned Esplanade Hotel or Watson’s Hotel in Bombay. This account is highly implausible.
The Esplanade Hotel hosted 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, stayed at the Esplanade before their return to Calcutta.
In another popular account Tata begun the Taj after being barred from entering Pyrke’s Apollo Hotel in Bombay. This is also an implausible anecdote.
Apollo Hotel (1887) was run by a Parsi proprietor, Hormusji Modi. E. W. Pyrke was made a partner proprietor only in late 1904, a year after the Taj had opened, and after which the business was conducted under the modified name of Pyrke’s Apollo Hotel.
This post is dedicated to the cities, citizens and structures that have been brutally attacked by terrorists in recent months.
‘Shine on’ says photographer Hersh Acharya.
Interiors: Afghan Church (1858)
Church of St. John the Evangelist, Colaba.
Whenever Britain went to war in the 19th century, Bombay’s various communities would gather to pray at churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and fire temples.
‘O Almighty God! We pray to you that the Queen of this country be granted an honourable victory in the present fighting. The King of Kings should grant her army and navy special strength and wisdom, bless the Queen with a long life, and ensure the prosperity of her empire.’
Prayer gatherings offered avenues for a leveled participation in the Empire. They required no monetary contribution, only an emotional earnestness, and if the war was won, all could claim to have played a part.
An Acharya armed only with his camera.
Folks our blog turns one today. Thank you for all the support, encouragement and generosity.
Simin, Sitanshu, Hashim, Hersh and Dj.
Clocks: Victoria Terminus (VT) (1888)Hersh Acharya captures the clock that compromised first.
Dr. Prashant Kidambi is a Senior Lecturer in Colonial Urban History at the University of Leicester.
Pop-up: Dhobi Ghat (1890-95)
Dhobiwada Road, Mahaluxmi.
Hanging was the predominant method of execution in Bombay. Early instances of hanging were public spectacles, where the victims were displayed in chains to the gathered crowds.
Hersh Acharya captures hung shirts with a Wildean wistful eye.