Hutatma Chowk


Hutatma Chowk

Hutatma Chowk (Marathi: हुतात्मा चौक) ("Martyrs' Square") is the official name of a square in South Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

The square hosts Flora Fountain and was known by that name until 1960. It was officially renamed in 1960 in memory of the members of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, who lost their lives when police fired upon their peaceful demonstration. A statue of 'Martyr with a Flame' stands next to Flora Fountain.

History

Hutatma Chowk is located in the busy financial district of South Mumbai. It derives its present name from an incident in 1960 when a peaceful demonstration by the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti (United Maharashtra Committee) was fired upon by the police resulting in 105 deaths. The incident was part of ongoing struggles of the Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, amongst others, for the creation of the State of Maharashtra. The shooting proved to be a major impetus for the creation of Maharashtra on May 1, 1960.

The Hutatma Chowk square is lined on all sides by buildings constructed during the British Raj. An ornate fountain surrounded by delicately carved figures forms the center of the huge square. This was the Flora Fountain.

The fountain itself was built in 1864 and represents the Roman Goddess Flora, the Goddess of Abundance. Today it is a heritage structure. It cost Rs. 47,000 to build, a princely sum at the time and was constructed by the Agri-Horticultural Society of Western India. Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh donated Rs.20,000 towards the construction of this fountain. The fountain was carved from stone that was imported from Portland. It was built in honour of Sir Bartle Frere, who was the Governor of Bombay at the time. Sir Frere was responsible for dismantling Bombay Fort and shaping much of modern Mumbai. Initially it was to be named after the Governor but the name was changed before the fountain was unveiled. When it was constructed it was in the middle of the city. Flora fountain stands in exactly the same place where the original Church Gate of Bombay Fort stood. The area around Flora Fountain is the business center of Mumbai and is surrounded by offices, banks, colleges and shops.


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