Historic Mumbai Bungalow Threatened with Demolition

In a picturesque corner of Versova, Mumbai, sits one of the city’s last remaining century-old bungalows. Known as Talati Bungalow, this historic property is one of the two surviving structures from the original Seven Bungalows development in Versova. According to a recent notice issued by the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai (BMC), the owners of Talati Bungalow, renamed Rattan Kunj, have been instructed to vacate the premises and demolish the structure. BMC’s technical advisory committee (TAC) has deemed the bungalow to be in a “ruinous state” and “likely to fall.”

The present owners of Rattan Kunj, the Barar family, claim that there is a conspiracy to evict them so that they can redevelop the land. Shaloo Rahul Barar and her two sons, who co-own the one-acre property, argue that the bungalow passed a structural audit and only requires minor repairs. Barar suspects that a developer wants to get the bungalow classified as “dilapidated” to push them out. The dispute has divided the family, with other co-owners having already moved out. The Barars are challenging the TAC report and are demanding to see it. The issue of strong structures being wrongly declared dilapidated has been raised in the state assembly, with politicians calling for independent members to evaluate the condition of such buildings. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) has released a report stating that Rattan Kunj is structurally stable, albeit in need of repairs to preserve its architectural integrity.

The Seven Bungalows in Versova, including structures like Kaikei Villa, Rus Cottage, and Jasbir Villa, were built after a plague hit the city in 1896. These bungalows hold significant historical value, with their original owners including notable figures like the Maharaja of Gwalior, the Maharaja of Kutch, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Rustom Masani. Conservation architect Vikas Dilawari highlighted the importance of preserving such structures, stating that Mumbai’s suburbs contain a relatively unknown and often neglected history. He emphasized the rarity of buildings like Talati Bungalow and urged for their protection.

Whether Rattan Kunj will be demolished or preserved remains uncertain, as the Barar family puts up a fight to hold onto their piece of Mumbai’s architectural heritage. This episode raises the larger question of preserving heritage buildings throughout the city and the need for a more nuanced approach that considers the historical value and structural soundness of each property, rather than relying solely on rudimentary assessments.

Sumit Mondal Content Analyst at Square Yards
  • Super Quick & Easy
  • Stamped & E-Signed
  • Delivered Directly in Mailbox

Exploring Options for Buying or Renting Property

Looking to buy or rent property
Related Category
  • Current Trends
  • Govt. Department
Contact Our Real Estate Experts