Saturday, March 09, 2013

Scenes from Worli Fishing Village

- By Deepa Krishnan

Walking through Worli Fishing Village is a bit like stepping into a time-warp. The rest of Mumbai might live in the 21st century, but this part of the city is still not far removed from the sleepy fishing village it once was.
Temple with deep-stambh, old style houses and tulsi plant.
Water is stored in big plastic bins now, instead of wells. 

The colourful boats still remain a visually arresting feature. The old cane baskets are there, but alongside, there are also plastic ones.
The kolins wait every morning for the catch to come in, like they have always done. Except now each woman has a cell phone, and the clothing is more varied. 
The morning ritual outside the homes still includes tulsi puja and rangoli
Spices and chillies are still dried in the sun, and ground to make personalised masalas
This house has a tulsi plant holder shaped like a boat. 
Change has come to this house, you can see a girl's school 
uniform hanging from the clothes line.

The current generation may not all go fishing, 
but the sea remains a constant presence, visible
at the end of  many tiny lanes.
And the boys continue to dive and splash and enjoy themselves, as generations before them always have done. 
Walking through Worli Fishing Village always makes me uncomfortable. On the one hand, I want to see the old traditions continue. On the other hand, there is the villagers' own desire to modernise, to become more like the rest of city. What we need is a strong conservation movement that helps document and preserve old houses and ways of life, but provides room for the aspirations of local inhabitants. I was in Ahmedabad this week, speaking at a training program on heritage management, and there is some excellent work that is being done in that city to revive the inner city areas. We need something similar for Worli. Or soon these little lanes and colourful boats will be things of the past, and glass and concrete will take over this part of the city too.


சுபத்ரா said...

Beautiful pictures!

Alpha Charlie said...

I lived in Mumbai for 2 years and never realized that something like this was still around.
Interestingly I remember seeing a TV Serial that Parel Rawal produced which had a setting in a place very similar and I used to wonder, how can such a place be in Mumbai. Now I know. Thanks for enlightening us!

And your point is valid in a much larger sense. Our country has countless such heritage buildings and other architecturally significant elements from times gone by that are in complete shambols. Its heartening to know that something is happening in Ahmedabad because I am yet to see any serious effort towards it anywhere in India. Contrast with other places e.g. Singapore where the old melds beautifully with the new in many places and the heritage is showcased rather than made an eyesore.

KK said...

I like the deepastambh at Sitaladevi temple too.

Ayesha said...

Living here in Mumbai, around tall buildings and traffic sometimes you seem to over-look such elegant places. Thanks for reminding me that something like this really exists in Mumbai.

Tyler Thursby said...

Everything here is so luscious. Thanks for sharing!

Check out my budget travel blog soon :)

Aadil Desai said...

Deepastambhas are an integral part of some temples and you will find them in the old temples at Sitaladevi, Agar Bazar, at Banganga Tank, etc. besides the one in Worli village. I remember having seen a dish antenna fitted on the side of one of the deepastambhas at Banganga Tank. That is how we preserve our heritage ..... sad but unfortunately very true.

pushpendra yadav said...
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