Mumbai’s Slowly Dwindling Secret: Khotachi wadi

Mumbai is synonymous with high rise towers, overpopulated trains and a constant feeling of rush and hurry distilled in the air which everyone seems to breathe. But within this urban melting pot, lie certain pieces of history and culture contrasting the radical nature of the city. One such place is Khotachiwadi.

Lying in the heart of South Mumbai, near Girgaum, Khothachiwadi is a quaint heritage village founded during the 18th century when the owner of the land, Khot (hence, Khotachi-wadi) gifted the land to the local East Indian families. Dominated by colourful Portuguese architecture, there once used to be 65 houses here. Today that number is down to 28 and dwindling further.

When Ishita first told me about the existence of this place, I was intrigued.
“So how many days is it for? Is there an entry fee? Do they also have Portuguese food?”
“Umm… It’s like an actual residential place? So…  No.”
Imagine my excitement when she told me she’ll take me there. Yes, I need to grow up, I know. All in good time.

So I took my camera, and off we went. Walking into Khotachiwadi is the closest I’ve been to travelling through time. It’s like being transported to 1900s Goa. I haven’t been to 1900s Goa but I can promise you it would have like this. Khotachiwadi is a society, in the true sense of the word. Communal living has lost it’s meaning in Mumbai with people living in concrete houses with concrete mindsets.

I love Mumbai, but it can be a harsh host. Khotachiwadi is but a shadow of what it once was. It has seen better days, and it’s now slowly being consumed by the city, one house at a time. But it’s still there in spirit, whispering from the balconies of pastel coloured houses, echoing in the narrow lanes, rustling through the branches of the resident trees. If you can, I’d recommend you to visit; at least once.

A city is a collection of stories, of intricate plots intertwining through it’s characters. This is the story Khotachiwadi had to tell.

Here are some of the pictures I took there.

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Posted in About a Cause, Featured, Photo Story.

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