Bombay Old, Mumbai New.

David Sasoon Library, Mumbai, India

I walked through the portals into a different realm, into a world old, forgotten, endangered but not lost. David Sassoon Library is one such building that emulates this feelings of time warp I seem to love. Wood panelled chambers littered with ancient, framed etchings of Bombay old and in the background played the cacophonous sound of Mumbai new. At first glance you get a sense you are walking into a old boys club where you will see middle-aged men smoking cuban cigars and drinking single malt whisky in kangaroo leather armchairs. This sense quickly wears out to one of academic enrichment as the wood panelled walls give aways to rows of aged rosewood bookshelves. Crumply, crisp, chlorine free brown pages bound together in leather jackets embellished with worn out titles. I took the passport The Kala Ghoda Festival gave me to feel free and explore. Yippie !!

[David Sassoon in alabaster and light]

Exit to the back and you are in garden green, inhabitated by shady pastures, cats and mosquitoes.

Looking on to the Kala Ghoda, on Rampart Row, this Romanesque structure, completed in 1870, is built from the same yellow Malad stone as the rest of the buildings in the row-- Elphinstone College, the Army and Navy Building and Watson's Hotel.

Source: Kaumudi Marathe in Times of India

[1st Floor of the Library. Rows of books and silient book worms to go]


[Balcony looking onto Kala Ghoda.]


Up a spiralling staircase and you are greeted with more large pannelling windows staring down at you.


Now, to the crowning glory of this grand building - the clock chamber.

Clock Tower.

That ends our photo-tour of "David Sassoon Library and Reading Room"


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Hiren Shah said...

Excellent pictures. I always had the perception that Bombay was a fun city. Normally one associates Delhi which is full of historical places. Though I am from Delhi, we came from Bombay and have lots of friends and relatives there. I don't recall anybody talking of all this. This actually implies that Bombay has a lot to offer instead of mere commercial appeal.Pictures are really unique.

Mridula said...

I have been to Mumbai only once, in those days when it was called Bombay. But your pictures give such a nice feel to the city :) Have you done anything on the traffic yet?

Geetanjali said...

Did you know the first film screened in India (yes yes the same one by the brothers Lumiere) was at the David Sasson library, then a cinema?

PS I envy you for the Taufiq a BIG fan!

alsoanon said...

ws there. and know exactly how those poics were framed. great!

Akshay said...

Hiren - Mumbai those have heritage and since it was colonial city by nature allot of its heritage obviously is colonial in nature. Delhi on the under is a far more historical city.

Mridula - For many years I tried to fight the place but I've decided to accept the city for what it is.
P.S - traffic has gotten worse.

Geetanjali - David Sassoon was opened as a sort of technical institute and then later it was converted into a library. The first film shown in India was shown at not Sassoon but at the Watson Hotel. Watson Hotel now Esplanade Mansion rots in the background a small glimpse of its former glory. The urban myth goes that J.R.D Tata wasn't allowed into the Watson therefore he went on and build the Taj.

Alsoanon - thanks.

wormtongue said...

:) the old world charm of town side is really enchanting. the only regret i have about life in bombay, its that i dont get to travel to town as often as i would like to....
im still waiting for the chance to go click pictures of the new india insurance building..:)
nice pics .. have you ever been into the xaviers college library, its damn lovely .

Ajay said...

wow man cool pics. Really amazing. Looks so different. Ususlly we dont even notice things around in all the rush.

Anonymous said...

Akshay, You have a gift. Your compositions are one of the best I have ever seen. I am certain a lot of right people will soon discover you.

Vilma D'Souza, Dartmouth, NS, Canada said...

Any picture I see of Mumbai makes me want to take the first flight back to Mumbai and to the old sights and sounds in the place I grew up. Its been many years (28 years) since I left Bombay (as it was known then. Some part of me still belongs in Mumbai.