A recreational ground spanning 22 acres, Oval Maidan in Mumbai is a place for both sports lovers and heritage enthusiasts who have an eye for the finer details of the city’s architecture. It is the ideal spot for anyone who would love to spend a peaceful day in the winter sun watching youngsters actively involved in a game of cricket or football. Moreover, it is also a charming spot for tourists who love the glorious Art Deco buildings.
Mumbai has the second-highest number of Art Deco buildings among all cities after Miami.
Oval Maidan’s Art Deco buildings were constructed on land reclaimed after World War I. The plan for their development purposely included restrictions on the height of the buildings in order to maintain the façade of the space.
According to the UNESCO World Heritage website, the “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles of Mumbai have been inscribed upon the World Heritage List of the Convention of the Protection of the World and Cultural Heritage.”
On its eastern side, the park is flanked by the Rajabhai clock tower and the Bombay High Court, two British-era buildings that provide a colonial feel to the park. On the western side, there is a collection of Art Deco buildings in a variety of colours. With gorgeous terraces and balconies overlooking the garden, residents of Nariman point have the perfect view of the park.
The park was poorly maintained till the late 20th century. But that changed when in 1997 it was handed over to the Oval Maidan Residents’ Association which renovated the park, making it cleaner and more accessible. The garden was fenced off and a walking path was constructed across the ground which connects its eastern and western flanks.
For most locals, the ground is a place they would like to visit if they want to catch a game of cricket or football. If you happen to saunter in for a casual stroll, you would find passionate youths arguing over a dismissal or kicking around a ball amid the loud ruckus.
In February, residents of Nariman point complained that locals were using the facilities despite a ban on using public spaces due to Covid-19. The park was supposed to stay closed due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Due to its ideal location—the park is sandwiched in between Mumbai University and KC College—the place is also a huge favourite among college students.