Conceptualisation of Heritage Walks
Having worked on a number of architectural conservation and urban improvement projects in Mumbai & India, as qualified architects, we, Abha Bahl and Brinda Gaitonde (co-founders of THE BOMBAY HERITAGE WALKS), obtained a significant insight into Mumbai's architectural heritage. As it was related to the work done by us, we volunteered to conduct heritage walks in South Mumbai's 'Kala Ghoda Art District' as part of events organised during the Kala Ghoda Art Fest in February 1999. The heritage walks drew large crowds comprising people of all ages and professions, from within Mumbai as well as tourists. We were flooded with eager questions about the city's historic origins and morphology, intelligent queries regarding architecture styles and deep concerns were voiced about present construction trends by participants.
There was, we realised, a complete dearth of publicly available, comprehensive historic and architectural information about the city's heritage buildings. In addition, one just could not experience the multitude of architectural styles and heritage precincts by merely traversing the city in a comfortable car or by leafing through travel brochures or guidebooks. The real essence of Mumbai can only be discovered on foot and with someone who was knowledgeable about the city's past, conversant with its architecture and intimately familiar with the its streets.
Buoyed by the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the crowds, we decided to make the heritage walks a regular feature, aimed at creating city-wide awareness, taking architectural conservation issues to all people. Thus was formulated 'THE BOMBAY HERITAGE WALKS' group on April 18th 1999, World Heritage Day. Since then, the BHW team has grown beyond the architect-founders to include a talented, young bunch of presenters. Over the years, BHW has organised numerous open-to-public walks, specialised private tours including those for visiting dignitaries and heritage-awareness workshops for students. BHW also regularly contributes to public heritage-education in Mumbai in the form of media articles, lectures, participation in panel discussions, annual free-of-charge heritage tours etc. Some of them have been as follows -
LECTURES & PANEL DISCUSSIONS
- Participated in a panel discussion on the 'Role of the Press & NGOs' at the UDRI Conference on '
Conservation after Legislation - Issues & Ideas for Bombay', April 2000
-Addressed the 'Rotary Club of South Bombay' on Mumbai's Heritage Conservation Issues, May 1999
- Authored a series of articles for the 'Architecture, Time, Space & People' official magazine of
the Council of Architecture, India, 2004
- Written articles for the 'Mid-day' newspaper, Jan 2000
- Authored a series of articles on the architectural heritage of Mumbai featured on website www.carpetarea.com
About the BHW Founders
"Heritage is a passion and architecture is what they have trained themselves in. Brinda & Abha were lucky to combine their passion and their training into a love of heritage walks."
- DNA Newspaper, Mumbai, Wednesday 3rd May, 2006
Abha Bahl (architect) received her Masters in Urban Design degree from the University of California at Berkeley, USA in 2002. She has been associated with the Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai on various urban management schemes and area improvement projects in Mumbai such as the 'Improvement Plan for the Corporate District of Ballard Estate' and 'Churchgate Revival A Proposal for Urban Management of the area.'
Brinda Gaitonde (architect) completed her Masters in Architecture degree from Sir J. J. College of Architecture, Mumbai. She is a consultant to the Archaeological Survey of India (Mumbai Circle) and is on the Experts panel appointed by the Mumbai High Court to review the state of the Mumbai caves. She was recently awarded the 'Charles Wallace India Trust' fellowship to undertake 2 months intensive training on 'Heritage Site Management' in UK.
BHW Team Members
Enthusiastic, well spoken and heritage-lovers to the core, the team of presenters are a bunch of talented young individuals - Shraddha Bhatawadekar, Lata Bhura & Himanshu Kadam. Their backgrounds range from Heritage Management, Ancient Indian Culture, History and the Arts.
In love with Mumbai Abha Bahl and