Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shirely, Rajan (Bandra) and Khotachwadi (Girgaum)

An other visit, to these amazing villages around Bandra and in Girgaum. It was a good visit, as i got to know about Parallels to Ranwar. This was not an exercise to study the differences and alikeness between these hamlets, but to study them as a whole, keeping Ranwar out of my mind.
But as we are humans and we tend to compare, it thus happened.

The first visit happened to Rajan, and the next neighborhood, Shirely in Bandra, Mumbai. It was Raghav Sethi, Neehar Desai and me looking at an other settlement in the same suburb with a similar layout, community and format. While wandering around the streets of Shirely Rajan (will use the names together henceforth, its also worth noticing the fact that the names of these two villages/hamlets were always taken in one breath, i wonder why?) we found we landed in another part of Ranwar, which we might have missed to explore. There was similarity in house layouts, the local style, the zig zag wandering streets, the grills, windows, doors. everything! But there had to be something different and that could have been in the lifestyle. If one looks at the photographs in isolation without attaching the name Shirely Rajan to it, it would just look like an other part of Ranwar. Why i contextualize everything to Ranwar is simply due to the fact that i am studying it in detail.
Lets look at some photographs from Shirely Rajan;

the Greens:

In these two hamlets a lot of importance was was given to the green around the house. almost every house we crossed gave beautiful variations of greens against the nice colors of the house. More interesting were the ways in which these greens were incorporated around their houses and the efforts placed in it. These spots serve as great nodes of communication amongst the residents. Also watering and maintenance of the green seems to a common interest and is nurtured very well.

the old scale ground floor houses, with a standard attic at the rooftop, mainly to store
the paddy harvest

this place is converted to a nice school for creative arts for the kids, moving around this house
we could hear interesting music, once we went on the other side, they had a beautiful front space for the kids to play. A very interesting mix use for the house and nurture young minds around these winding lanes.

one of my favorites and very natural, the photographs speaks for itself and speaks a lot

Open spaces, common nodes of interaction, greens, colors and a happy community is what we got to see at Shirely Rajan, a very interesting hamlet the proximity of these two hamlets for sure have induced a lot of interactions and a lot of stories pertaining to these two places might be enough for a thick publication.

Moving to Khotachiwadi (Girgaum), a lot of similarity was seen again. Went there on a sunny saturday morning and the place was full of vibrant colors and beautiful lanes again. This village/wadi has been in a lot of limelight lately. one of the last few remaining ones in South Mumbai, there is a lot of history to this place. Of the 60 (approx) cottages/bungalows in Khotachiwadi only 26 are remaining, and thanks to the resident awareness they are in a good shape. more about Khotachiwadi from the residents and URBZ  will be found here: , this webpage is a very interesting effort and a good start at a resident involvement in preservation of their own culture.
some of my favorite picks from the hamlet:

The analysis and comparison of efforts and conservation in Khotachwadi Preceinct, with Ranwar is something that i would like to do in detail, which shall happen in the next post.

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