Lalbaugcha Raja in 2011

Lalbaugcha Raja has a lot of history behind it dating back to pre independence times. Most of the major textile mills of Bombay stood in this neighbourhood. Mill workers lived here in tenements or chawls. One fine day, the owners of these mills decided to either shut down operations or move elsewhere as property prices in the city escalated to unimaginable magnitudes. The workers weren’t paid their dues leading to years of protest. It was only towards the beginning of the 21st century that the mill owners came to an agreement with the mill workers. By this time, property prices in Mumbai were on par with the most expensive cities in the world. And today, mammoth skyscrapers stand there.

The traditions etc. that go with the Ganpati at Lalbaug don’t seem to have changed too much. It is moulded, decorated and celebrated with the same vigor. The surrounding plots have seen redevelopment. And they’re threatening to redevelop the last few tenements that still stand in Lalbaug. I’m guessing that about two decades ago, the height of the idol would have been comparable to the tallest residential establishment that it passed by. These were the scenes on the 11th of September, 2011:

Lalbaugcha Raja

Fuji GS646S Professional Camera and Fuji NEOPAN 100 ISO Black and White Film.

Urban planners decided to demolish the flyover at Lalbaug only to reconstruct an even bigger one. By immersion day, 2008, the old flyover had been demolished. Lalbaugcha Raja came out to an open street for the first time in many long years. So it’s a rare photo in that sense:

Lalbaugcha Raja

Canon AE-1P Camera and 100ISO Fuji Reala Film.

The new flyover has since been constructed.


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