A small bungalow, Malabar Hill, Bombay.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a bungalow on Malabar Hill in Bombay (Mumbai), Maharashtra, by an unknown photographer, from an album of 40 prints taken in the 1860s. Bombay, one of the key cities of India, is a major port, busy manufacturing centre and capital of Maharashtra. During British rule, it was the administrative capital of the Bombay Presidency. It extends over a peninsula jutting into the Arabian Sea on the west coast of India. Originally a collection of fishing villages of the Koli community built on seven islands, Bombay was by the 14th century controlled by the Gujarat Sultanate who ceded it to the Portuguese in the 16th century. In 1661 it was part of the dowry brought to Charles II of England when he married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza. Malabar hill is the highest point in Bombay (15 metres above sea level). The style of building in the photograph is typical of the dwellings favoured by the colonial rulers of India. It was adapted and developed from the vernacular architecture of India as observed by the British in Bengal. Usually one-storeyed and located in large compounds with gardens, bungalows featured airy verandahs, colonnaded porticoes and high sloping roofs. The first European to build a bungalow on Malabar Hill was Mountstuart Elphinstone during his period of Governorship of Bombay (1819-1827). After this in the boom period of the 1860s and 1870s many Europeans built houses here and the area became the exclusive locality which it still remains.