Here’s some great news for Bandra residents. The three-century-old Pali Gaothan that houses many original inhabitants of the city have been recommended for heritage listing.
It joins an exclusive club of eight other gaothans in the western suburbs, who have managed to survive the test of time and retain their heritage look.
Among the others which have already been accorded heritage status include the Bandra Chimbai Village, Pali Mala Road, Old Khar Village, Kevani Village, Versova Village, Amboli Village, Kandivili Poisar precinct and Bhatt Chawl. The BMC heritage committee, headed by former chief secretary Sharad Upasani, has drawn the list based on a survey sponsored by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Society. The society is a wing of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority which helps in creating and managing a database and spreading awareness on heritage conservation in the metropolitan region.
Neil Pereira, a resident of the Pali Village, welcomed the move. “The move was the need of the hour. The historical site should be preserved for generations to come as it will reflect how Mumbai has slowly grown out of gaothans. People are forgetting the East Indians and their culture. This should help restore it. The area needs to be preserved from increasing real estate prices and land sharks and politicians who are out to destroy the villages.”
Another resident of Pali Village said, “If BMC does grant a heritage status we want to know the reason behind it. If it is for preservation of Gaothans at whose cost will it be preserved?” He said, “I treasure my ancestral home and like it to be as it is. Not many others in the gaothans are economically sound and would want to go in for development. The objectives of heritage status have to be clearly defined in the gaothan. We can get our house repaired only after running from pillar to post in the BMC.”
Also included in the heritage list are religious shrines and schools. At least 11 churches in the western suburbs including the four-century-old Our Lady of Egypt Church at Kalina have been retained as heritage structures. Also included are the St Bonaventine Church and Our Lady of the Sea at Madh. A few old schools like St Andrews School at Bandra have also been retained for heritage listing.