Tag Archives: Matunga

Matunga or Matheran?

12 November, 2016
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Motifs: Ganesh Baug

Plan 214, Matunga.

The locality of Matunga and the hill station of Matheran seem to have more than a bunch of cheeky monkeys in common.

As historian Nikhil Rao has shown, the migrants from South India who quickly populated the newly developed suburb of Matunga in the 1930s imagined Matunga as something of an island through which they could manage the ‘terrifying heterogeneity’ of the wider city. They set up a variety of recreational establishments in the locality such as meeting halls, gymkhanas and messes. As the first batch of residents, they felt Matunga offered an ‘uncontaminated’ environment, in which they could maintain their caste while simultaneously exploring their new status as ‘middle class’.

By the 1860s Bombay’s native elites were busy building and buying bungalows and setting up hotels in Matheran; promoting the hill station as the closest retreat to beat the Bombay heat. Honeymooners were also being wooed into visiting the ‘romantic sanitarium’. In April 1862, Dr Bhawoo Dajee spent a few days in Matheran with his friend Mungoldas Nathobhoy, at the ‘beautiful bungalow’ Nathobhoy had recently bought from Commodore Wellesley.

The inhabitants of both Matunga and Matheran imagined their permanent and seasonal homes as sanctuaries from the bustle of Bombay city life.

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Ladies & solid foods

7 January, 2014
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Furniture: Koolar & Co. (1932)

Furniture: Koolar & Co. (1932)

Noor Mahal, King’s Circle, Matunga East (presently junction of Ambedkar Road and Hormusji Adenwalla Road).

Ladies and solid foods were introduced into restaurants in Bombay at roughly the same time in the late 1800’s. Prior to their inclusion, native women were cooped up at home and hardly partook of the city’s vibrant public culture and an array of cold drinks- lemonade, ices, soda water- dominated the menus of refreshment rooms across the city.

Ms Bombaywalla was dismissed so quickly by the proprietor of Koolar & Co., she thinks it will be another century before a lady and her camera are welcomed into cafes.

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