Very little is known about Jewish culture in Mumbai. The city houses many Jews and also stations infrastructure that dates back to more than 2000 years. To promote the city’s longstanding Jewish history, this year, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival conducted a Jewish heritage walk in the city.
The event saw many people thronging the registration desk to participate. Kruti Garg, section head for heritage walks in Kala Ghoda and a conservation architect by profession, hopes that these walks will highlight the everyday pool of culture that we cross everyday without noticing it much. “The Jewish walk today focused on how the Jews in the city came to India and how they were instrumental in building the infrastructure in the city,” she said.
More than 80 people registered for the walk. “The ceiling limit for the walk was 50 people as the synagogue had a restriction. Therefore, we split the group into two batches,” Garg added.
The influential David Sassoon family was monumental in shaping up the city. Many cultural institutions like the David Sassoon Library, part of the Elphinstone College, part of Institute of Science and the synagogue was funded by the philanthropist.
The walk also comprised an entry into the Knesset Eliyahoo synagogue, which doesn’t normally open its gates to the general public.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has planned such walks every day of the festival to help people discover the historical culture that is hidden in the streets of Mumbai. “Over the weekend, we covered the Bombay high court and also the area from CST to Crawford Market. Throughout the week, we hope to cover everything from public dining history and art decor to Irani cafes. On February 8, we plan to conduct a boat tour along the docks of Mumbai so you can see the eastern front of Mumbai, which is not easily accessible and look at the city from a different angle,” Garg said.
“Kala Ghoda brings about this whole sense of coming together to celebrate art, music and literature that is brimming in Mumbai. This art festival is a perfect platform to highlight these architectural structures in Mumbai that are heavy with history. These structures have stood the test of time with all that has happened in their background through the years and they are the sole witness of the change,” she said.