KNOWN as the place where elephants of royalties were kept, Matunga was named so after the matangs — elephants in Sanskrit. Commuters and tourists will soon be informed about the origin and history of many suburban stations like this one through the beautification initiative being undertaken by various NGOs.
Started on October 2, the makeover will cover almost 36 suburban stations (21 on Western Railway and 15 on Central Main and Harbour line), with volunteers from various NGOs artfully decorating them. While painting work at many of stations are almost complete, hoardings related to the history of such stations will be put up soon. At Matunga, the hoardings will depict the suburb’s journey from being a resting place for elephants to a prominent hub for the south Indian communities.
“I have involved two other volunteers to help me paint the history of suburban stations. We have collected history of each of these stations from railway offices and tried to understand its journey from then to now. The motive is to let commuters understand how the place got its name and what it has turned into today,” said Shishir Joshi CEO, Mumbai First, one of the NGOs executing the project.
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Besides Matunga, stations such as Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Byculla, Vikhroli and many others are getting a facelift. While Lower Parel station will speak on the evolution and phasing of mills and malls, the artwork at Churchgate station will recreate the journey from Oval Maidan to Marine Drive.
“Not many know that Mahalaxmi station was a train hub earlier. All these things clubbed with prominent tourist spots at these stations will be shown on the hoardings. Thus, the journey of Bori Bunder at Mumbai Central or significance of Byculla zoo at Byculla will come up,” said Joshi.
Two boards of almost 4-5 feet will come up at each station, which will have printed details of its history in a creative way. According to those executing the project, these boards will come up either at the entrance of the station or on pillars or at ticket booking offices in a couple of days.
Walls at some of these stations will showcase traditional Indian artforms like Warli and Madhubani.
“The idea is to make a conceptual wall which will showcase the art forms of India. Our idea is to show commuters the various colours of India when they pass by these stations. It is adding a difference to their daily commute,” said Shilpa Pachpor, assistant professor (art with mural specialisation) at SNDT college who is also the head of the project. Overall, four huge walls will don artwork.
The CR stations chosen for the project are Masjid Bunder,Sandhurst Road, Byculla, Chinchpokli, Currey Road, Parel, Sion, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Kanjur Marg, Bhandup, Nahur, Mulund and Thane, while the WR stations are Churchgate, Marine Lines, Charni Road, Grant Road, Mumbai Central, Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel, Elphinstone Road, Dadar, Mahim, Bandra, Khar Road, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli and Dahisar, which will be beautified by volunteers from Mumbai First and Making A Difference Foundation.