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The History of Raj Bhavan, Mumbai

Contents

The Tides of Time
Winds of Change
Bombay Castle
New House

• Sans Pareil

Malabar Point
Raj Bhavan
Jal Bhushan
Jal Chintan
Jal Lakshan
Jal Vihar
Jal Sabhagraha
Heritage Bequeathed

Sans Pareil

Government House, ParelOnce a Jesuit monastery, the magnificent mansion at Parel was built on the ruins of the old Vaijanath Temple. A traveller, Carsten Neibur had suggested the villa at Parel be called ‘Sans Pareil’ (The Peerless) since nothing could compare with it in all of India.

Mr. W. Hornby (1771-1784) was the first Governor to take up residence at Parel. Melody and mellifluous voices filled the Durbar Hall. During these gala evening, china and crystal would glitter under the chandeliers in the banquet hall. In 1804, diners raised their glasses at a banquet hosted by Gov. Jonathan Duncan to toast the launch of ‘The Literary Society of Bombay.’

Meanwhile in Parel, industrialisation was asserting its noxious effect. The population had burgeoned. Pollutants fouled the air, creating conditions favoured by wind and water borne diseases.

Governor Richard Temple transferred his residence to Malabar Point. In 1883 Lady Fergusson, wife of the Governor died of cholera in the Parel House. Following her death, Government House officially shifted to Malabar Point.

The Parel Residence was converted into a plague hospital where thousands received treatment for the plague that struck Bombay in 1897-98.

Dr Waldemar Haffkine entered the portals and developed the Plague and Cholera vaccines. Since 1925, this Government House is now known as ‘The Haffkine Institute’, in memory of the man who transformed a fortress into a citadel of science.

 

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