A Guide to Fort and Kala Ghoda

Hebar heritage home

This year, around mid-monsoon, I ended up spending a few days in Fort, Mumbai on a journey to find inspiration to write. As much as I enjoy the strong solitude of remote hills, sometimes the chaos of old cities is what I need. I spent my time there at a 100-year-old homestay,  watching movies in the oldest theatres, working out of stylish hangouts, running in the rains to find cake shops and visiting art galleries between cafe hopping!

The winding streets of Fort area have a different charm altogether; the dilapidated buildings tell so many stories (or at least so I imagine :p). 
Thousands of people must have spent their entire lives here. Some writer must have written the first page of a best seller sitting in one of the cafes here and budding artists who are now renowned must have gotten their art supplies from one of the markets here. From rock bands to solo hummers, how many performances must the stairs of the Asiatic Library have witnessed? In Dalal street, while someone was making a fortune, someone else’s dreams may have crashed. From Dahi Handi to LGBTQ parades, how many festivals must these streets have witnessed? I suppose places get their souls from the memories they contain and all the nostalgia they hold. 

Streets of Fort area
Of fallen flowers and silent whispers! PC: Shubham Charlu

I can never get enough with my imagination 🙂 While working from Fort, Mumbai, I also worked on this blog post, writing a few lines every day, discovering places, conversing with people, imagining fictional stories on the streets and letting the monsoon win by getting drenched every now and then. 

Things to do in Fort, Mumbai 

CSTM station during monsoons
Monsoon hustles PC: Shubham Charlu

Libraries:

JN petit: An amazing old library with a massive collection of books including old and care copies it also has a vintage reading room which I love the most! 

Asiatic society: This two-century-old library has a collection of very old journals and magazines. I love sitting/reading on the library steps facing the road and a park. 

Kitaab khana book store: A paradise if you are a book lover. An old book shop, reading space with a cafe inside it 

I couldn’t go to the Wayword and wise book store and cafe but it’s on my list. Though David Sassoon Library is a heritage site, and ambience is very charismatic, it is open only to members. 

Cafes: 

This neighborhood has stylish plush cafes that offer healthy options, friendly coffee shops, Vibrant pizzerias and some of my favorite bakeries. A few of them are super healthy but the food is too bland and a few other have super cute and instagramable interiors but a piece of carrot cake is priced 500 bucks. So these recommendations are after moderation.

Kala Ghoda Cafe: Great vibe, simple classy ambience. Not a place to chill- Only serious business. Go, eat your food(which is tasty) and get-out because it’s busy throughout the day and there is usually waiting. 

Creeda Board game cafe: This is not a usual cafe and opens late afternoons. As the name says its a place to hog on snacks and play board games. This place always worked out for me because its in one of the silent alleys, great place to sit and work, read or play games. Good coffee and quick bites to much on. 

Food for thought cafe: This cafe is inside the Kitaab khana library. Settle down your favorite book in a corner overlooking the book store. They have great coffee, tea and an elaborate main course and dessert menu. 

Apart from these, I love the pizza from 1441 pizzeria, Jimmy boy, Britannia & co serves the best Persian food, Chetana for Gujarati cuisine, Mahesh lunch home if you love seafood, and Theobroma for some dessert indulgence.

Art galleries:

Jehangir art gallery is one my favorite one and I revisit this place from time to time for two reasons……One, different artists display their work here every week from all across the country, so every time I ago I get to meet new artists. Two, the entry is free of cost. 

The streets around the main building are filled with artworks of local artists. Most building and walls around kala ghoda are very artistic.

The Kulture shop is a place to buy artistic graphic prints created by handpicked artists. They have trendy tee’s, books, cards, and many more articles. 

Midnight cycling:

The midnight storytelling cycling in and around fort areas is probably one of the best memories I have in this city. Priyank from The Legend of Bombay bards is an amazing story teller, they organise wonderful events to tell people untold/forgotten stories about the history of old Bombay. Keep a tab on their Facebook page

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue :

The Keneseth Eliyahoo is a Jewish synagogue near Kala Ghoda that dates back to 18th century. The Neoclassic architecture with Minton tile floors, walls painted in Victorian pale greens contrasting with the matte white pillars and the colorful stained-glass windows takes you back in time.

Must read: I was filled with regret and everything about Mumbai changed for me when I first visited this place

Rail Heritage Museum – Inside the Victoria terminus

This rail heritage museum is just beside the entry/exit gate of CSTM station. One can witness the charismatic colonial interiors. The architecture is opulent, the huge staircase which starts on the ground floors unveils the intricate details of gothic and Mughal architecture as you go up to floor by floor.

Jump to the full post to check out the photos of this UNESCO world heritage site

Other historic monuments: Rajabhai clock tower, Mani Bhavan, Flora fountain, Parsi fire temple, Horniman circle garden, St Thomas cathedral. Each building here has some or the other historic relevance. Am sure you will discover something new and inspiring 🙂 

BMC building during monsoon
Mumbai Monsoon – We love it, We hate it! PC: Shubham Charlu

Checkout more of Shubham Charlu’s work here.

Tags: Things to do in Mumbai, Things do in Fort/Kala Ghoda, Things to do in Mumbai on weekends.

10 thoughts on “A Guide to Fort and Kala Ghoda

  1. I’m not much of a traveller myself but you’ve definitely been a marvelous tour guide with your blogs, needless to say this one is another masterpiece.

  2. U have made me imagine how will I spend my perfect day reading with sipping my fav coffe at one of the cafes u have mentioned.. great writing.. going to explore this soon

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