Uncover Mumbai’s most loved community this weekend through Dadar Parsi colony trail
Organised by Sahapedia, an open online resource on the arts, cultures and heritage of India, the walk will be led by Vimala MV. “The idea is to understand the Parsi community better and look beyond the stereotypes. The walk will be filled with fun trivia and interesting facts about the colony and community,” she says.
On: August 27, 9 am to 10.45 am
Meeting point: Outside Cafe Madras, King’s Circle, Matunga.
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According to architect Kamu Iyer, most buildings in the Dadar Parsi Colony were designed by architects, unlike the nearby Hindu Colony, where structures were commissioned to contractors. This is why most of the structures in the former were different – ahead of their time and planned for a western style of living. Several of these buildings are used as settings for period dramas. Among the movies recently shot in the locality are Raees, Rustom and Special 26.
Although shut on Sundays, this little café run by a Parsi is a great snack stop if you happen to be in the area on any other day. Grab a quick bite – they stock sandwiches, wraps, puffs, desserts and more – and sip on a cup of piping hot coffee while you’re at it. They also have a daily meal menu, offering traditional Parsi eats such as Dhansak, Kaju Chicken, Patra Prawns, and more.
Time: 10.30 am to 8 pm (Sundays closed)
At: 792, Dina Manzil Outhouse, Jam-e-Jamshed Road
The bust of mancherji joshi
The construction of the Dadar Parsi Colony in the 1920s was a response to the outbreak of plague in the island city, and an attempt to get members of the community to move to the suburbs. The man responsible for the planned layout of the area is Mancherji Joshi, who was an architect with the Bombay Improvement Trust. Every aspect, from how tall the buildings could be, to what kind of trees could be planted in the locality, was taken care of by Joshi himself. Although you won’t be visiting his home, where his granddaughter Zarine Engineer continues to live, you can stop to admire his bust, located at the entrance to the colony.
Rustom faramna agiary
This 88-year-old fire temple is named in honour of hotelier and philanthropist Rustom Faramna, who built it when he realised there was no place of worship for members of the community residing in the colony. When he passed away, the management of the agiary fell to his brother-in-law, and it is now managed by a board of trustees, which includes Faramna’s descendents. At this agiary, you will find an exhaustive record of every single person who has lived in the Parsi Colony since its establishment. The agiary was given a facelift on its 75th anniversary.
‘It was the start of middle class housing’
Simin Patel, Founder, Bombaywalla
The Dadar Parsi Colony is fascinating for many reasons. It marked the beginning of affordable housing in the city for the middle class, and today, it houses the largest concentration of Parsis. The way other communities can interact with the space differentiates it from other Parsi baugs, which are gated.
‘Its exclusivity is what makes it unique’
Kamu Iyer, Architect
The locality has managed to retain its structures and look thanks to the conservative nature of the Parsi community, which shielded the colony from redevelopment. A British-era covenant ensures that even today, most of the houses here can only be owned by or rented out to Parsis.