A walk through the 200-year-old Khotachiwadi takes your past a tiny chapel, candy coloured Portuguese-style wooden bungalows with cracks in their walls but stars on their landings, stained glass windows, open shutter style windows and narrows alleyways opening out onto broad courtyards, elderly women peering suspiciously as you photograph their homes, and people struggling to maintain their identity surrounded by a concrete jungle. The lanes are narrow so children play in the courtyards of houses or their balconies in the slum-like buildings. The area is peaceful and gives no indication of the chaos that is only a few streets away.
- Khotachiwadi is a gaothan (coastal settlement) hidden deep in the by lanes of the bustling Girgaum. History says that Khot was a Brahmin who sold his land to the East Indian community who settled here and named the place Khotachiwadi or the village of Khot.
- At the beginning of the lane leading into the village is a tiny chapel. To the left is designer James Ferreira’s house.
- The chapel is where the largely Catholic residents gather for prayers and on religious occasions.
The bare walls that segregate the old (and new) buildings are peppered with graffiti, religious and otherwise.
Step inside a home and you will be greeted with wooden staircases, spacious balconies or courtyards, mosaic tiles and a hodgepodge of wicker chairs, ceramic figurines and mirrors.