A Heritage Walk:
Heritage walks are the best way to learn and recognize a specific culture, tradition, philosophy, myths and rituals that are associated with them. The walk creates nostalgia and reminds us of the rich culture and history, provoking our thoughts about the existence of every historical element of that place. Mumbai is a city rich in history, culture, tradition and architecture. A heritage walk can be a perfect tour through the vivid chapters of the history of Mumbai.
A Brief History of Mumbai:
Mumbai is described as having only “change” as a “constant.” Its incredible capacity for adaptation and progress is demonstrated by its stunning growth from a modest fishing hamlet to India’s commercial metropolis. From being an archipelago with a fort established by the British East India Company in the 17th century, it gained prominence as a commercial port, then as the capital of the former Bombay Presidency, and now as the state of Maharashtra, the most significant financial hub of the nation. Every timeline left its mark on the city, its inhabitants, and thus, its architectural style. Mumbai’s skyline is now made up of a variety of architectural styles, some of which evoke images from the past while others are more modern and timeless. Much of its colorful past has permeated into the present. If one takes a trip along any street in the heart of the city , one can interpret the layers of history concealed behind the dusty facades and cluttered signboards. Mumbai’s architecture, a manuscript used by each era, is a testament to this transformation.
The British-built fort remained on Bombay’s eastern seaboard for about 150 years, guarding the harbor. In the 1860s, it was almost entirely destroyed. This was the beginning of a significant period of building in Bombay’s architectural history, during which a number of enormous public and institutional structures rose to prominence. Nonetheless, a sizable area of South Bombay is still referred to as the “Fort” even though there aren’t many signs of the original defenses left today.
Heritage walk tours in Mumbai:
Having a number of historic structures and significant places weaved all over the city, Mumbai has had some heritage walk routes since the 1990s. The variety of architectural styles and heritage areas cannot be fully appreciated by just driving around the city or browsing tourism brochures or guidebooks. Mumbai’s true character can only be uncovered on foot and in the company of someone who is well-versed in the city’s history, culture, people, architecture, and streets. This concept provoked the idea of various walk routes towards different corners of the city.
The walking tours highlight a wide variety of architectural styles, building processes and materials, design features, and ornamental details and are personalized, educational, and pleasant. With interesting tales and anecdotes, the physical, social, and cultural history of the city is brought to life. In order to give participants experiences that are significant and unforgettable, our walks make an effort to bridge Mumbai’s history with modern features.
There are some groups in India that provide some walk routes along selected heritage sites. To name a few trip advisor companies, BHW, Viator, Art Deco Mumbai, Khaki Tours, No Footprints, Mumbai Magic can be mentioned for their interesting heritage walk routes. These tours can be of different durations and prices according to the tourist preferences. They can be very user friendly and be booked online as well. All the necessary details are given on the websites of these groups. This quality makes these tours even more accessible and intriguing.
- Bombay Heritage Walk: The Bombay Heritage Walks (BHW) group was founded by city architects Abha Bahl and Brinda Gaitonde Nayak, and since April 1999, it has organized walking excursions throughout the city’s heritage areas. The walks are intended to increase Mumbai residents’ and tourists’ awareness of the city’s historic buildings and other architectural features.
- Viator: This is a trip advisor company who provide various types of heritage walk tours such as, cultural, religious, historical etc. which can be half-day, full-day or multiple day long.
- Art Deco Mumbai: This online based group provides an intriguing guide to the historic examples of art deco in architecture.
- Mumbai Morning: This is another innovative company who comes with the concept of a morning walk, enriched with historic essence. This tour is based in South Mumbai basically, where there are a huge number of historic structures.
- Kaki Tours: This group introduces many interesting packages where a tourist can select different areas of Mumbai and cover within 1-3 hours. These tours can be of groups or simple solo tours as well.
The routes of these heritage walks are pretty interesting. Some of the packages are based on Bandra, some on the Southern part. Some focus on the beach sites, some have the high end metropolitan vibe. Above all, the most famous architectural edifices are often common in all the routes. These spots are basically the major tourist attractions of Mumbai, including;
- Gateway of India
- Kala Ghoda
- Horniman Circle
- Elephanta Caves
- Marine drive
- Regal Cinema
- Haji Ali’s Dargah
- Shree Siddhivinayak Temple
- Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
- Basilica of our Lady of the Mount
- Heritage (2013) Bombay. Available at: https://www.bombayheritagewalks.com/index.html
- #ChemburChurcha: Walk 592 Walking Tours | City Tours | Food Tours | Khaki Tours | Mumbai. Available at: https://khakitours.com/WalkBooking/chemburchurcha-walk-591
- Mumbai morning heritage walking tour: Mumbai-indiaToursByLocals. Available at: https://www.toursbylocals.com/Colaba-Mumbai-Private-HeritageWalkingTour?gclid=Cj0KCQiApKagBhC1ARIsAFc7Mc5mccuF5k_vvfT4mCb3YG-elT99vnHwUCeNOA2PtmKZhtHBuya7a0UaAtj7EALw_wcB
- Inventory Art Deco. Available at: http://www.artdecomumbai.com/inventory/
- Mumbai, India 2023: Best places to visitTripadvisor. Available at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g304554-Mumbai_Maharashtra-Vacations.html
- Facebook. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/MumbaiHeritageWalks/
- This exciting heritage walk explores 250 years of Mumbai’s Fort Area’s history through maps India Heritage Walks. Available at: https://www.indiaheritagewalks.org/blog/exciting-heritage-walk-explores-250-years-mumbais-fort-areas-history-through-maps