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Quick Facts

Historical Development

In the predominantly Portuguese Bombay of the mid-sixteenth century, Khotachiwadi was a part of the coconut plantations in Girgaum, located between Dongri and Malabar Hill. A fortified port with vast areas of plantation surrounding it, the isle of Bombay was then passed to the British by the Portuguese in 1661. By the end of eighteenth century, it was functioning as the headquarters of the Bombay Presidency. Then came the great fire of 1803 which destroyed the fortification, and brought about a new planning of the town. Subsequently, land was divided, and Khotachiwadi was assigned to an individual named Dadoba Waman Khot. As a land revenue officer, he leased it to some land tillers of the vadval community. The Salsette Christians (or East Indians), whom Khot developed good relations with, eventually settled in Khotachiwadi about three decades later.

 

Khotachiwadi was officially given its name in 1880 by the Bombay Municipal Corporation. Being home to Marathis and Christians for a long time, it witnessed an advent of Goans, Gujratis, Marwaris and Sindhis in the 1940s and 50s.

Location

Close to Charni Road railway station in Girgaon, the North of Khotachiwadi is surrounded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy road, the West by Jagannath Shankarsheth road, and the East by Vitthalbhai Patel road.

Architecture

Buildings in the precinct display the strong Portuguese influence of the mid-sixteenth century. Houses with sloping roof lines, external window openings and verandas are positioned in a way that keep the narrow, crisscrossing streets shaded most of the time. The configuration of buildings varies from ground level to four storey which creates an interesting play of levels.

 

As demarcated in the Heritage Regulations for Greater Bombay 1995 (Government of Maharashtra Publication), Khotachiwadi had been divided into three zones: the core area, the buffer zone and the peripheral zone. The core area consists of buildings that are characterised by their low height, sloping roofs, vibrant facades and detailed ornamentation of wooden balustrades, fascia, boards, etc. On the other hand, the chawls (residential buildings with separate tenements) and wadis (Mumbai’s indigenous housing systems) form the buffer area around the core. The fringes of the precinct that have gone through a significant transformation due to the peripheral commercialised region of Girgaon comprise of retail establishments and newer constructions.*

 

The buildings of the village have been identified as 28 per cent bungalows, 23 per cent apartments, 30 per cent chawls/wadis; 4 per cent villas/townhouses, and 15 per cent of other structures. Nine of these buildings were included under the Grade III category in 1995.**

 

 

 

*As per data stated in Khotachiwadi: A Heritage Precinct, vol. 1. (1996)

**This category comprises of buildings/precincts that deserve protection due to their historical and architectural importance.

Population

A primarily residential area, Khotachiwadi hosts a fascinating co-existence of various communities. According to the survey conducted by the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai, the total population of the village is around 600, of which 44 per cent are Christians; 36, Maharashtrians; 16, Gujratis, and the rest 4 per cent comprise of Marwaris, South Indians and Punjabis.*

 

 

*As per data stated in Khotachiwadi: A Heritage Precinct, vol. 1. (1996)

Culture

The close-knit existence of a diverse pool of residents along with the hybrid character of the architecture makes Khotachiwadi exemplify cultural synthesis. It exudes a fusion of Konkan and Goan cuisine during mealtimes. Ganpati, Navratri, Diwali and Christmas are four occasions that bring people together in festive celebration.

Present State

The Bombay Municipal Corporation declared Khotachiwadi as a protected historical precinct in 1995. This order was then reversed in 2006, giving in to the commercialising needs of the city. Since then, the village has witnessed demolition of old structures for construction of high-rise buildings, and is gradually losing its heritage value.