‘Kala Ghoda’ refers to a black horse in a statue of King Edward VIII mounted on it. The statue is long gone and the erstwhile Esplanade Road, Bombay is now Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai.
The crescent shaped area flaunts numerous museums, art galleries, educational institutions, boutiques and restaurants. The heritage buildings of this place are the showstoppers. There are more than 100,000 square-feet of indoor gallery space, huge outdoor pavement galleries and exhibition space making the place an awesome Urban Museum. There are lecture halls, convocation halls and conference facilities, which give the place a cultural atmosphere. Throughout the year, you will find plenty of cultural activities taking place in this area. From artists to food exponents, fashion designers and admirers of architecture, everyone flocks to this place. With round-the-year arts festival and fairs, ‘Kala Ghoda’ has evolved as the cultural hub of the city.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is one of the most popular events of the Mumbai cultural calendar. It is held annually in late January or early February. Organized by the Kala Ghoda Association, the festival was first started in 1999. Over the years, the festival has become immense popular and increased in stature.
A team of curator handles the sub festivals that feature visual arts, dance, music, theater, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks, special children events along with a lively street festival.
You will not need to buy any entry ticket for the events – the main venues of the events are the Jehangir Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Modern Art, the David Sassoon Library, Max Mueller Bhavan, Elphinstone College, the K R Cama Institute, the M C Ghia Hall, and Rampart Row street area. What will surprise you the most is the fact that the whole of the Rampart Row area is turned into a street fair with food stalls, sketchers sketching instant portraits, artisans selling their creations, street art fixing and many more.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has helped other festivals like the Mumbai Festival, the Celebrate Bandra Festival and the Kitab Festival to spring up.