For years now, visitors to Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai ask about the origins of this oddly named precinct, named after a black horse. While the original equestrian statue of King Edward VII that stood in the central square of the city’s art district was removed decades ago, the Kala Ghoda Association (KGA) is now working towards placing the statue of another black horse in the area.
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When the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) approached the Kala Ghoda Association with its proposal to bring back the horse to the Kala Ghoda as part of its beautification drive, the latter readily agreed to finance and execute the project.
“The BMC has been working towards reviving heritage structures in the city and as part of that, they wanted to introduce a horse statue in Kala Ghoda. When they approached us, we gladly took up the project. Having a representation of a horse will help today’s generation relate to the area,” said Maneck Davar, KGA chairperson.
The work for the new horse has already begun and is likely to be unveiled to the public by the end of December. Designed by architect Alfaz Miller and sculpted by Shreehari Bhonsle, the new horse will be erected at the parking lot, close to where the original equestrian statue stood. But unlike the colonial stone statue, this will be a bronze Kala Ghoda, minus the colonial prince.
Positioned so that it can be seen across the Kala Ghoda precinct, the horse will be placed in the East-West direction facing the Army and Navy Building and David Sassoon Library.
Kaiyomi Engineer, Administrative Director of KGA, explained the significance of the new statue to Mumbai by saying, “The new horse will be a representation via art to the whole area that is generally called as Kala Ghoda.”
After the construction of the statue, it will be donated to the city to be maintained by the BMC.
The 18-year-old association that has earlier looked into the upkeep of many heritage buildings like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and Bombay Natural History Society is also working on the restoration of the Wadia Clock tower at the Bazaar Gate Road, the Gangalal V Nandlal Mulji Piyao at Horniman Circle and Ruttonfee Muljee Jetha Piyao at the junction of Mint Road and Shahid Bhagat Singh Road.