Mumbai Heritage Precinct- Khotachi Wadi
The old-Portuguese style of architecture.
I remember those days, about nearly 3 years ago, when my friend named “Jinal” and I used to go for tuitions together at Gai Wadi. We used to have a pleasant walk, all the way from Prathna Samaj to Gai Wadi. One day, she told me, “Ruchi, let’s take a shortcut. It will help us to save our time.” I agreed and followed her.
She took me through some unfamiliar narrow lanes which were in zigzag layout. It was quite confusing for me because I felt like; I was solving a puzzle while walking. On my way, to Gai wadi, I got a glimpse of all the houses that were built there. I noticed there were houses/ bungalows which were very beautifully designed. It consisted of vivid colours, the old-Portuguese style of architecture: tiled roofs, hand painted fences and walls, wooden staircases, large verandas in front of houses and St. Teresa Church. It had a peaceful, calm atmosphere unlike the chaos of the city just a road away. Only two-wheeler vehicles could enter the narrow lanes. I felt like I had entered a modern era; something very similar to Old Goan Village. I was amazed to see that place for the first time.
47C – ALVARES HOUSE
OLD-PORTUGUESE STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE
We soon reached the end of the lane. I asked my friend, “What is the name of the lane?” She replied, “Khotachi Wadi.” All the way from there to our destination, I kept wondering, “Why is the name Khotachi Wadi given to the lane?”; “Who are the people who stay there?”; “What is its history?”; “How many houses are there in the entire wadi?”
After returning home, out of curiosity, I asked my dad about Khotachi Wadi. He told me, “I have a friend named Dipen Savla who lives there. We can meet him tomorrow and maybe he can help you in finding answers for all your questions. He has been staying there for a quite long time.” After hearing this, I was super excited to visit his place and explore more facts about Khotachi Wadi.
The next day, around 11am, my father and I visited Mr. Dipen’s place. He lived in building -29A. We climbed stairs and reached the second floor. After greeting each other, I asked him about Khotachi Wadi- all the questions that I had in my mind (as mentioned earlier). He said, “Khotachi Wadi means the hamlet of the khots.” Suddenly, I asked him, “What is the meaning of Khots?” He replied, “Khots means land owners.” After that, I asked him about the history of Khotachi wadi. He replied, “Around 1536, Khotachi Wadi was owned by Portuguese. A century after they arrived, they gave away Bombay to British. Seven years later, the British government leased its control to the East India Company. In the second half of the 19th century, a man named Prabhu Pathare- Dadoba Waman Khot started receiving lands in Girgaum- collecting revenues from Hindu farmers only. He extended his collection to the East Indian Christian Community. Acknowledging the role played by the Khot family in its development, the locality had officially adopted the name of Khotachiwadi.”
Later, I asked him the about present scenario of Khotachi Wadi. He replied, “There are approximately 15 ‘original’ bungalows that have survived from that time. Many new bungalows were been built after. In addition to it he said, the original inhabitants of Khotachi Wadi were Christians and Maharashtrians, but now even Gujaratis and Marwaris have located here.”
PRESENT SCENARIO OF KHOTACHI WADI
With this our conversation ended. I thank Mr. Dipen for sharing all the information he had about Khotachi Wadi.
T.Y.BMM- RUCHI NANDU