MAIDANS OF MUMBAI
Mumbai is the city where the cost of land is higher than the cost of any other thing including gold. Due to lack of space, residential areas are cramped in a limited space. But one of the few places which keep going Mumbai is, its Maidans or Parks. There are many maidans/parks in Mumbai and all have their own history and importance. So, today I have taken few Maidans and tried to put light on few aspects that are known by few.
- AZAD MAIDAN: It is also known as Bombay Gymkhana Maidan.
Mahatama Gandhi had addressed the largest ever political meeting at Azad Maidan in December 1931. So we can understand the importance of it. Also, how old the maidan is. This is a triangular shaped maidan. Maidan is known for the protest meetings and political rallies. But it is Cricket for which the Azad maidan is most famous for. Maidan has 22 cricket pitches and is the regular venue for the inter-school and inter-college cricket matches. This maidan has produced many cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli.
- CROSS MAIDAN:
It is also known as Parade Ground. The area of the maidan is around 23,000 square meters. The name “Cross” is derived for the old stone Cross (crucifix) built when the city was under Portuguese rule in the 16th century. In earlier times, rallies and parades used to conduct in this maidan. Now, Football is played during the monsoons and Cricket rest of the year. It has eight cricket pitches. Maidan holds importance not only because of its history etc, but also because of places it connects to. Like, part of Mahatama Gandhi Road adjacent to maidan is called Fashion Street, known for its shopping. Then, cutting across the centre of the maidan, there is a shortcut to Chatrapati Shivaji Terminals (CST station) and Churchgate station. Then, there is “Khau Gali” lane near to it. Also, at the southern end there is a well built by Bhika Behram in 1725. It is a very sacred place for Parsis.
- OVAL MAIDAN: It is named so due to its oval shape. It is situated near
to Churchgate station. Political rallies and religious functions are banned in the maidan. The area of the maidan is around 89,000 square meters. Sports that are played in the maidan are Cricket and Football. Until 1997 maidan was poorly maintained by state government. Later it was given to OCRA (Oval Cooperage Residents Association) to maintain it properly.
The vast area of land of the Oval Maidan, Azad Maidan and Cross Maidan until the early 20th century was known as Esplanade.
- AUGUST KRANTI MAIDAN:
It is also known as Gowalia Tank Maidan. It is situated near Grant Road station. Maidan is known as August Kranti maidan because almost seven decades back on 8th and 9thAugust 1942, Mahatama Gandhi had delivered Quit India speech against British. This maidan was built over the water tank, which still exists underground. The reason it is called Gowalia tank because in olden days shepherds used to bring their sheep and cows here to bathe. Now, Football and Volleyball are played during the monsoons and Cricket rest of the year. Now, maidan has been split into different maidans.
- SHIVAJI PARK: It is the largest park of Mumbai. The park is named after 17th Century warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji. It was created by Bombay Mumcipal Corporations in 1925. Park has also witnessed the political rallies and protest, pre and post Independence. The area of the maidan is 1,12,937 square meters. It has many sections which includes Samarth Vyayam Madir(gymnasium), Gymkhana, Scout’s hall, Children’s park, Nana-Nani park, Ganesh Temple even a library. Also, there is a statue of Shivaji Maharaj in the park. Cricket and Football are the two most famous games which are played in the park. Many cricketers trained here including Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar, Sunil Gavaskar etc. Also some Football teams play here. Like Arsenal Mumbai Supporters Club, Dadar IX, R D United etc.
As I have told earlier that there are many maidans and parks of Mumbai, because of which, Mumbai is still somewhat greener. I have chosen five maidans. These maidans are important for a Mumbaikars because they are not just a playground but a place where they can relax with their families and friends.
_ Anusha Pathak