22 April 2017

FW Stevens' great grand daughter in Mumbai

Rajendra B. Aklekar

Absolute honour to co-host Diana Robertson and her husband Kevin, the fourth generation descendants of the nineteenth century iconic architect FW Stevens, along with Anita Rane-kothare, head of department of Ancient Indian Culture, St Xavier's College, in Mumbai. It was Kothare who got in touch with her and connected her with the city. It was Diana's very first visit to Mumbai and she was very sentimental to see that Stevens is so much respected and remembered in Mumbai even today. (Read her visit details HERE)

Frederick William Stevens (FW Stevens)
The event was jointly conducted with the co-operation of Central Railway chief PRO Narendra Patil and his team. Also thanks to Pheroza Godrej, Bharat Gothoskar of Khaki Tours.

It was a privilege to receive a memento at the hands of Pheroza Godrej at the event.

For the uninitiated FW Stevens or Frederick William Stevens is the architect of Victoria Terminus- today Mumbai CST, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, the Mumbai Municipal Head Office, the Western Railway Churchgate Head Office (formerly Bombay Baroda and Central India Office), the Sailors Home, what is today the Maharashtra Police Headquarters and many more in Mumbai.

Stevens received various honours. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire "for services rendered in connection with public buildings in Bombay," and gained medals for his designs in exhibitions held in Bombay in 1872 and 1879, as well as becoming a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Receiving FW Stevens' descendant Diana Robertson and
Kevin at the Taj, alongwith Anita Rane-Kothare
He was only 52 when he died of malaria at his home in the Malabar Hills in 1900, and was buried in Sewri Christian Cemetery, where his grave carries the inscription, "In loving memory of Frederick William Stevens, born May 11th 1847, died March 3rd 1900." Diana also broke down at the cemetary during the visit on April 20, 2017. A few photographs.

Diana at the Sewri Christian Cemetery, Mumbai
The old burial details and purchase records
at the  Sewri Christian Cemetery, Mumbai
FW Stevens grave at Sewri Christian Cemetery, Mumbai
The old records at  Sewri Christian Cemetery, Mumbai
Moment of Pride: In front of the building with the creator's descendants

In front of Mumbai CST, formerly Victoria Terminus

In front of Mumbai CST, formerly Victoria Terminus
On the second floor, below the dome of the iconic
Mumbai CST, formerly Victoria Terminus building

Privileged to receive a memento at the hands of Pheroza Godrej 

05 January 2017

Century-old signal cabin along India's first railway line pulled down

A 100-year-old signal cabin lost its life to make way for the landing of a new pedestrian bridge at Kurla suburban railway station. This had been a part of India's first railway company, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company.

1st Day tickets of Ram Mandir railway station in Mumbai

First day tickets issued from Mumbai's newest suburban railway station Ram Mandir collected by friend Jigar Desai. The station on Western Railway Mumbai division was formally opened on December 22, 2016. 

11 December 2016

Fourth imprint -- Halt Station India

Yes! Excited to announce the 4th imprint of my successful book on the story of India's 1st railway. Thank u, all. For those who still haven't bought it, here are the details: To place an order..

Please call for home delivery--

Mumbai number-  02223524655, 02223511381. Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm. Saturday 9.30am to 2.00pm, Sunday closed.
Email at kgminternational @ gmail.com

The book is also available online on Flipkart/Amazon and also at book stores

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For the US and other countries


25 November 2016

Mumbai suburban railway goes religious!

Rajendra B. Aklekar

So with the Maharashtra government now deciding to name the proposed Oshiwara station between Jogeshwari and Goregaon on Churchgate-Virar section of Mumbai division of Western Railway as Ram Mandir, Mumbai suburban railway, the city’s lifeline, has now become a completely secular railway and come a full circle.

Controversies apart, and I do not have any political views, but lightly speaking it now has a Churchgate, a Masjid Bunder, a Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar and now a Ram Mandir. :)

Let’s look at their brief history. 

Churchgate: Mumbai (today’s south Mumbai) was a walled, fortified city with moats. The fortification had three main gates. And one of the gates was an entry to the St. Thomas Church, today’s St Thomas Cathedral. The road was named Churchgate as the road from led to this church. This gate, which roughly stood where today’s Flora Fountain stands, was demolished in 1860. The railway station that came up near the gate’s proximity on the Bombay, Baroda and Central India line (today’s Western Railway) was named Churchgate.

Masjid Bunder: Named after an old jetty which was near a mosque (masjid), this station on Central Railway Mumbai comes just after the iconic Mumbai CST. Records suggest the station probably got its name from the 200-year old Gate of Mercy Synagogue, called Juni Masjid, along Samuel Street in Mandvi in the east of the station, one of Mumbai’s oldest synagogues. Another one Saat-Taad mosque, simply translated “seven palm trees” is located just next to the station today hidden amid a maze of warehouses and wholesale dealers with a narrow entrance today
Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar: Originally called Koliwada, this station on the harbour line of Central Railway Mumbai was renamed Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar after the ninth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism in July 1979.

Ram Mandir: The proposed Oshiwara station had been under construction for quite some time. Political parties demanded that the station be renamed as Ram Mandir station in recognition of a popular temple in the area. The road that leads to the station is called Ram Mandir Road. Today, the Maharashtra government approved the proposal.