A City’s Legacy

The Indian Navy has a substantial presence in Bombay in terms of its landed properties and heritage structures. Curiously, this immense legacy has been largely invisible to the public, essentially due to security reasons even though the Navys many assets on the island city are among the most historic structures in British Bombay.

The Navys heritage comprises a wide array of architectural styles including historic complexes, grand bungalows, lighthouses, docks, fortifications, clock towers and military barracks. INS Angre, the Dockyard, INHS Asvini and INS Trata, each with its own unique history, contain structures that symbolize the very genesis of the citys development. Similarly, the confines of the military area in Colaba include a large number of historic buildings out of the gaze of the city. The Middle Ground and Oyster rock islands in the harbor are unique in their historic value. The recently reopened Ballard Bunder gate at Ballard Estate, housing an exceptional mini museum, is yet another invaluable heritage building, as is the unusual training ship, Jawahar.

The heritage walks in the Naval Dockyard area, the increasing frequency of events at the heritage homes of its staff and the Navys heritage homes of its staff and the Navys dedication to document and restore its buildings and monuments are examples of the Navys commitment to the conservation of its heritage. The Navys hidden assets, somewhat frozen in time, have now been made visible to the city, not only as properties to enjoy and treasure in the present and future but also as those that enable a continuum in the reading of the citys past.