A Sleepy hamlet of a street in Mumbai’s Girgaum which one could easily miss while on a tour, houses several Portuguese style houses, a few 175 years old, still standing the test of time!
The Portuguese love their homes very colourful, just like you can see in the old Latin quarters of Goa, they like to have big windows with colour stained glasses, elegant balconettes and sloped tiled roofs with beautiful art pieces! They have high ceilings with wooden floors and large fans I am a huge fan of this style of architecture.
It was during the 15th century that the Portuguese Empire laid its foundations across the world as the world’s first modern colonial empire, and what would be the longest. Heptanesia or the Ilse of Bombay (Mumbai as we know it today) was certainly one of their early conquests, although their purpose was to introduce Catholicism, they ended up giving it away to the British as a Dowry when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II of England. The British saw Bombay as a great trade and established their offices in various locations which we can still see in today’s South Mumbai.
Although the British took over, some of the Portuguese who had their homes here stayed on in closed communities. One of these that has stood not only the test of time, but also the force of real estate giants who want to destroy history to build high rise condominiums is Khotachiwadi. The leader of this community is James Ferreira is an Indian fashion designer and founder of the ‘James Ferreira’ designer label. Ferreira has formed a union with the residents of Khotachiwadi to resist the real estate giants from destroying heritage homes and putting up high-rise in the place. His movements have been successful so far and all demolition work have stopped, however it is only a matter of time when this heritage may be wiped out altogether.
A Small prayer chapel in front of James Ferreira’s house