What is the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is a free, public, street event held every year in Mumbai city. It was started in 1999 by the Kala Ghoda Association, a not-for-profit enterprise .
The festival was named after an area in South Mumbai called ‘Kala Ghoda’ or Black Horse and was intended as an outlet for arts. From art installations to ethnic jewellery, the KGAF has something for every one.
What are the dates for Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in 2019
The KGAF in 2019 is from February 2 to 10. You can visit on any day but weekdays are better as the venues are less crowded.
What is there to see at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival?
Whether it’s classical dance or the latest fusion music, traditional crafts or modern art, this festival brings together a variety of experiences that one wouldn’t normally get to enjoy simultaneously.
What you will get to see or experience at KGAF is a mix of performing arts (dance, drama/theatre, music), heritage walks, workshops, film screenings, and activities for children. Don’t miss the street stalls for shopping and street food. If nothing else, you can walk around the area and see Mumbai’s heritage structures from the newly renovated Flora Fountain to the David Sassoon Library.
Here’s a short video clip of what to expect at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
Why is it called Kala Ghoda
Originally there was a black stone statue of King Edward VII (Prince of Wales at that time) on a horse at the site. Since black in Hindi is ‘kala’ and horse is ‘ghoda’ the area came to be known as Kala Ghoda.
In 1965, the statue was moved in an effort to eliminate prominently visible reminders of British rule over India. You can now see it at the Byculla Zoo or ‘Jijamata Udyan’ a few km away.
A brand new equine statue (seen in picture above) was installed in 2017. Minus a rider, the bronze sculpture has its own identity. Called ‘Spirit of Kala Ghoda’, it’s been crafted by Shreehari Bhosle aided by sculptor Arzan Khambatta, and designed by architect Alfaz Miller.
Program or Performance Venues for Kala Ghoda 2019
DANCE – Cross Maidan (MG or Mahatma Gandhi) Road, New Marine Lines)
MUSIC – Cross Maidan, Asiatic Society Library (Town Hall) steps at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road and Irish House, K Dubash Marg
STANDUP COMEDY – Irish House in Great Western Building, K Dubash Marg
LITERATURE – Garden at David Sassoon Library, M.G. Road and Children’s Literature at Kitab Khana, Somaiya Bhavan
MOVIES – Visitors’ Centre and Coomaraswamy Hall on the premises of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (also called Prince of Wales Museum), Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) at Hornbill House, Opp Lion’s Gate
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES- Kitab Khana (Somaiya Bhavan, Next to Davar’s College near Flora Fountain) and Lawns of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (also called Prince of Wales Museum)
THEATRE or DRAMA – National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) auditorium in Oricon House on K Dubash Marg, Horniman Circle Garden on Mumbai Samachar Marg, and M. C. Ghia Hall in Bhogilal Hargonvindas Building on K Dubash Marg
WORKSHOPS – Somaiya Bhavan beside Davar’s College on M.G. Road, Artists Centre at Ador House on M.G. Road and Artisans’ at V.B. Gandhi Marg
VISUAL ARTS – Horniman Circle Garden, K Dubash Marg in the Kala Ghoda area, Cross Maidan at M.G. Road, Artists Centre Art Gallery and The Art Entrance in the Army Navy Building
URBAN DESIGN and ARCHITECTURE – Library at Max Mueller Bhavan
Everything else you need to know about KGAF
Kala Ghoda is anyway known as an art precinct on account of buildings like the Jehangir Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Modern Art. During the festival several of these buildings host KGAF events.
You can visit the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival site by clicking here . Navigate to ‘Festival’ and then to ‘Sections’. This will show you all the activities they have planned. You can choose the program or activity of your interest, for example ‘standup comedy’, ‘stalls’, ‘children’, or ‘food’ for details about when and where that particular program or event will be held.
For the workshops, all you need to do is turn up a little before it is scheduled to begin. For heritage walks, you need to collect a pass from the help desk at 11 am a day before the walk is scheduled. Remember, passes are issued on a first come, first served basis. For events where seats are limited, you might have to register earlier.
Get ready to savour performances by well-known artistes and upcoming ones or be in the audience as bloggers, writers, photographers, and architects share tricks of the trade at workshops.
Before you go, here is a link to the area map for KGAF that shows the locations of buildings where events are held.
How to reach Kala Ghoda
Suburban (local) trains are the cheapest though crowded option. Take a train to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus aka CST (read about the historic station here ) or Churchgate station.Just don’t travel during peak hours (generally between 7 am-10 am towards CST or Churchgate and 5-9 pm in the opposite direction). From there, hail a cab/taxi to Kala Ghoda.
I find the the m-indicator mobile app very handy to check timings and other details for trains and buses.
You could take a BEST bus too – Click here and choose the stations you would board and alight at. If there is a bus on that route, the bus number will show up. If you’re new to Mumbai, it’s best to ask someone the relevant bus stop names and write them down.
Of course, you could take an Uber/Ola ride or a normal black and yellow taxi too.