Park - The popular playground of Mumbai
Park is one of the most prominent parks (ground) in Mumbai,
which is often buzzing with activity all round the year. Shivaji
Park was opened for the general public by Bombay Municipal
Corporation in the year 1925. Shivaji Park is located in
the northeast part of Mumbai, which is an ideal location for organising
large congregations like public meetings, conferences, etc. The
Park stands testimony to the huge rallies, meetings and demonstrations,
which were organised during the British rule and the Samyukta Maharashtra
movement. The Park can also take pride in the huge statue
of the great Maratha king Shivaji, which was installed after collecting
funds from the people in 1966. Shivaji Park is also the favourite
haunt of many youngsters, sport lovers and elderly people. The katta
(parapet), which encircles the Park, is a meeting point for people
from all walks of life.
Shivaji Park area, was originally a part of the Mahim bay and its
inhabitants were the Bhandaris, Sutars, Kolis (fishermen) and Christians.
Except for a few pedestrian routes between Parel and Mahim Island,
the whole area encompassing the Park was covered with marshy grass.
The local people filled the creeks with big rocks as this region
formed the route between Mahim Island and Parel area, which became
famous by the name Dadar.
Shivaji Park is reckoned as the nursery of Indian cricket,
which has produced great cricketers like Vijay Manjrekar, Subhash
Gupte, Chandu Patankar, Manohar Hardikar, Baloo Gupte, Ramakant
Desai, Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Sanjay Manjrekar,
Sachin Tendulkar, Pravin Amre, etc, over the last several decades.
Shivaji Park is a beehive of young aspiring cricketers,
who practice their skills under the supervision of their coaches.
The Park houses more than 30 nets of different clubs like
Western Railway, Young Mahim, Regal
Club, Bharat CC, Mahim Juvenile, Shivaji Park Gymkhana, etc, for
the purpose of practicing cricket. Renowned coach Ramakant Achrekar
also trains his boys in the nets. The Park has the popular
physical education institution VV Shree Samarth Vyayam Mandir, which
offers training in mallakhamb, khokho, kabaddi, yoga, gymnastics,
wrestling and body building.
Assistant coach Naresh Kumar Churi, who represented the
Railway team in the Ranji Trophy from 1983 to 1989, has been closely
associated with Ramakant Achrekar for the past 25 years. Naresh
Churi said, Shivaji Park has a very progressive atmosphere
for cricket. The children residing in the adjoining colonies
of the Park, can easily drop into the ground (Park), with their
bats to play the game. In fact, we have boys who come from
distant places like Virar and Kalyan, to practice their
With the arrival of the summer season, which also coincides with
the vacation in schools and colleges; the youngsters from the adjoining
areas of Shivaji Park and even those from the far flung places
like Virar, Dombivali, Kalyan, etc, will continue to flush the Park
with their hectic (sports) activity.
By: Wasim Siddiqui