The Flora Fountain is a well-known landmark in Mumbai’s Fort district, standing regally in the square Hutama Chowk, where five streets converge, and is also known as the Piccadilly Circus of Mumbai.
The fountain was constructed in 1864 for a respectable price of RS 47,000, which was a considerable sum in those days. It is modeled after the Flora, the Roman goddess of spring. The building itself has been recognized as one of India’s Heritage Sites.
History of Flora Fountain:
Martyrs Square, also known as Hutatma Chowk, was given its current name in 1960 to honor the 105 Samyuktha Maharashtra Samiti members who lost their lives fighting for a separate Maharashtrian state. Two heroes carrying torches are depicted in the statue.
In 1864, the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India built the Flora Fountain with a contribution from Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh. It was carved out of imported Portland stone by James Forsythe under the direction of Richard Norman Shaw. The fountain building is made even more lovely by a stunning statue of the Roman goddess put at the top.
The authorities opted to place what was then known as the Frere Fountain at the convergence of new roads when the fort walls were taken down.
Beautiful Architectural Layout:
Inspired by Neo-Gothic and Indo-Saracenic architectural traditions, James Forsythe and Richard Norman Shaw created the Flora Fountain. The fountain’s base is 32 feet high, while the Flora structure is 7 feet high. It has a layer of white oil paint on top and is made of Portland stone. The original limestone is a brilliant, light beige color.
The fountain is made up of statues with four intricate details: one has a braid, another has a grin on its face, another has disc earrings, and the final statue has anklets. You can see four fish and 20 lion heads on the basin at Flora’s feet.
Restoration of Flora Fountain:
The Rajabai Clock Tower and the spectacular Bhau Daji Lad Museum were saved by Dilawari and his crew, who were hired in 2008. The statues had been painted over, harming the original Portland stone, and water was dripping out of the fountain in various places. Fingers, two hands, a neck crack, and a broken nose were broken. Some of these damages may have been brought on by earlier renovation attempts, especially when faulty bamboo scaffolding damaged the soft limestone.
The team believed that the task at hand would have a greater scope. Dilawari claims it was a relief to find that the plaza would be included in the repair by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) heritage committee as the fountain restoration will only be ideal if the surroundings were proper.
The team made use of the best tools available, working with qualified conservators from the INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) branches in Mumbai and New Delhi on marble cladding, waterproofing, and related work completed by its civil contractors. However, the fountain’s water engineering, or “soul,” remained a mystery.
The water flow was hampered by leaks, accretions, and damage. The team had to scrape additional concrete, look for and find various plumbing components, and make a map. The oldest plumbers in the city, Burjoor Framji & Co, were hired to expedite the process. Because it was difficult to find matching stones from Portland, the architect replaced the statues with limestone from Porbandar.
At this point, Lady Flora believes that everyone knows she is there as she stands gracefully and watches the passing vehicles and pedestrians.
A renovated fountain was successfully installed and unveiled to Mumbai residents in January 2019.
Best time to visit Flora Fountain:
The best time to visit and admire the fountain’s glory is during the winter time, which generally starts from early November to mid-February, as the weather during that time is less humid and more pleasant. Also, plan your visit during the evening time as it attracts more with the amazing lighting.
How to reach the location?
Mumbai’s Flora Fountain is accessible because it is close to the city’s commercial center. To get to the fountain, board one of the Mumbai local trains or the state-run BEST buses. To get to Flora Fountain from any location in Mumbai, you may also get a cab from one of the city’s leading vehicle rental firms. Alternatively, you can get to your location by calling an Uber or Ola cab.
By Train- Frequent express trains connect Mumbai to the rest of India. The two primary railway stations in Mumbai are Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (approximately a kilometer away) and Mumbai Central (about five kilometers away).
By Road- National Highways link the city to every region of the nation. Buses travel frequently from surrounding cities like Pune, Nagpur, and others. The Flora Fountain is just 5 kilometers distant from Mumbai Central Bus Depot.
By Air- Hailing a local, which will take you to Flora Fountain within 20 minutes, is the quickest option from the Mumbai airport, which is nearly 21.1 km away. You can also board a train leaving from Vile Parle to visit the city’s neighborhood. After traveling for almost 26 minutes, it will arrive at Marine Lines. It stands at Veer Nariman Road, close to Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Flora Fountain is open 24 hours, so there is no need to worry about the timing.
Blessing for Book Lovers:
Book lovers will love visiting here more often as they can see books stacked against the fountain on one side. The pavement is covered in walls, stacks, and piles of books. They can locate books here, whether looking for poetry, scholarly, or fiction novels. The book stalls provide a wide variety of treasures for them to discover, from rare classics to current bestsellers.
Places to visit nearby:
- Maharaja Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus– This historic railway station, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is about 1 kilometer from Flora Fountain. It is one of India’s outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The terminus is notable for an exchange of influences between two different cultures. Its style was influenced by Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival and conventional Indian architecture. This station is known to be the headquarters of the Central Railways. Photography aficionados should visit this location to discover its diverse interior and magnificent exterior.
- Marine Drive– You must explore Marine Drive, one of Mumbai’s most recognizable tourist destinations. A fantastic view of the beach and the shore is provided by the curved road and beachfront. You can visit this area for a night-time stroll and the nearby restaurants. The distance to Flora Fountain is 2.1 kilometers.
- Chowpatty Beach– It is located at the northernmost point of Marine Drive, over 4 kilometers from Flora Fountain. Want to see a beautiful sunset? The location is Chowpatty Beach. You may enjoy the renowned Chowpatty cuisine while admiring the beach’s natural beauty.
- Gateway of India– One of Mumbai’s most well-known tourist destinations is the Gateway of India, a 20th-century arch structure. You may take in the view of the Gateway complex from the sea at Flora Fountain, which is a mile away. At the Taj Palace or Oberoi Trident, you may chow down on a royal lunch and dinner. You might also take a ferry ride and enjoy the scenery from the water.
- Asiatic Society of Mumbai- The Asiatic Society of Mumbai is where you should be if you call yourself a bibliophile. It’s a research organization for Asian studies with almost 100,000 books. The Flora Fountain is only 1 kilometer distant from this location. Apart from books, visitors to this location frequently come for its fusion of Greek and Roman architecture.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind before visiting the monument:-
- Plan at least a few hours here as you don’t want to leave without roaming its nearby areas
- Try not to bring your vehicle. Instead, use public vehicles to save time in traffic and parking.