STANDING AT the intersection of three major streets is flora Fountain, the quintcontinential icon of Mumbai. crafted out of Portland stone and shipped out from EnAland, the fountain is surmtinted by the Roman less Flora who stands exuberantly carved hells, dolphins and mythical beasts. Erected in 1869 in was then a spacious plaza, Flora Fountain ,w swamped in a sea of and over-shadowed Martyrs’ Memorial put up by the Maharashtra state government in 1960. The area has now been renamed Hutatma Chowk (“Martyrs’ Square”). This area marks the western ramparts of the now vanished old Fort, built by the East India Company in 1716, which covered the southern part of the city. The Fort was demolished in the 1860s by the governor, Sir Bartle Frere, to allow the city to expand, and to accommodate the grandiose new civic and commercial buildings he had planned. All these buildings were designed with pedestrian arcades, which today are crowded with hawkers selling a wide range of goods, from old hooks to clothes and electronic gadgets.
North of Flora Fountain, leading towards Victoria Terminus, is Dadabhai Naoroji (DN) Road, lined with some magnificent Victorian and later colonial structures such as the Capitol Cinema with its classical detailing, the JN Petit Institute and Library (1898) with its Venetian Neo-Gothic facade and the Art Deco Watcha Agiary (Parsi Fire Temple) with its Assyrian-style carvings, built in 1881. Other interesting stoic- Mures include the Indo-Saracenic Times of India Building and the fanciful Municipal Corporation Building, with its Islamic minarets, Gothic towers and onion domes.