A Goddess In Stone:
The Flora Fountain

The Flora Fountain is nestled at the heart of a 5-way highway intersection in Mumbai’s busy business district in southwest India. The fountain was built in 1864 and depicts the Roman goddess Flora in stone. Flora is the goddess of flowers and the spring season. She is a symbol of renewal and rebirth. Her outstretched hands are seen with water flowing to the small side basins which then overflows into the large fountain pool at the base of the structure.

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The Flora Fountain was carved out of imported stone from Portland, England. Unfortunately, the fountain suffers from being covered with thick dirt due to the city’s polluted air. This leaves visitors to have an ironic sentiment at the country’s environmental legacy.

Currently, the fountain is regarded as a heritage site and is being treated with great care to ensure its future. It was originally commissioned and paid for by Cursetjee Fardoonjee Parekh. The latter was a noble dignitary who was responsible for Mumbai’s revitalization during the late 1800s.

For several years since it was built, the fountain didn’t have any finish. The raw stone was left unprotected from the elements and degraded over time. In recent decades, the fountain has been covered with a white oil paint as an attempt to protect the stone against pollution.

The fountain was initially named after Sir Bartle Frere who was the governor of Bombay. Shortly after, the name was changed to Flora in time before the fountain was opened.

The Flora Fountain is located in the center of the city and has become a notable historic landmark. It was again renamed in 1960 as Hutatma Chowk, otherwise known as “Martyr’s Crossroad,” as a way to memorialize the people who died in the battle aimed at securing India’s current government. However, most locals and visitors refer to the structure simply as the “fountain.”

On any given ordinary day, this beautiful fountain is surrounded by peddlers who are selling a wide range of products, food and services. It is also being surrounded by much of the Indian government which include the Secretariat, the University of Bombay and the Gateway of India.

The Flora Fountain can be viewed from the windows of the High Court which is India’s highest court of law. It is continuously undergoing a restoration process amidst the fact that the Indian climate combined with massive volume of car pollution continue to compromise its structure. In other words, the fountain is a delicate reminder of the effects of modern technology on timeless beauty. The Flora Fountain is a must-see for anyone who is traveling through India.