Designed on the theme of old Mumbai, this mural on Gokhale Road in Dadar West depicts the long-abolished city tram service, Koli women selling fish, horse-drawn carriages popularly known as Victorias, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus building, Rajabai Clock Tower, and Fort’s Flora Fountain.
The mural has been designed as a backdrop for the century-old Anand Vitthal Koli Pyau, which has recently been restored by the civic body’s heritage department. A senior official said, “The mural was conceived with the thought of highlighting the pyau. Before the BMC started the restoration of the pyau, it was in a decrepit state. It was buried at least a foot into the ground owing to road and footpath resurfacing work over the years. This is among the few pyaus that also has a drinking water trough for animals…”
There are records in the hydraulics department that show the Anand Vitthal Koli Pyau was shifted to its present location in 1936. Earlier, it was located on the northbound side of Gokhale Road.
Hardly anyone noticed the structure, which was surrounded by encroachments and street-side stalls before the restoration work was taken up. During the restoration work, the pyau was uprooted from the ground and reinstalled. The work on its restoration is almost complete, with finishing and polishing work left to be done. In order to make it stand out, the BMC decided to beautify the area around it.
Complementing the pyau, the mural in the background also depicts a pyau with an animal trough and a horse sipping water from it. The design for the mural was finalised by the BMC’s heritage department and Vaastu Vidhaan Projects, which is the conservation architect for the pyau.
Renowned city-based sculptor Vasudev Patkar worked on the mural. Speaking to a publication, Patkar said: “The concept for the mural is old Mumbai, so in keeping with that theme, we shortlisted aspects of Mumbai that depict its old life, and came up with a collage of such places.” It took Patkar about 3.5 months to complete the mural, which is made in glass fibre-reinforced cement (GRC).
Patkar is a 1987 graduate of the Sir JJ School of Art. He has previously worked at the Durbar Hall in Raj Bhavan and the Royal Opera House. He also maintains all the statues around the Oval Maidan near the Fort precinct.