Joseph Baptista Gardens
|John Baptista Gardens|
|Area||1.5 acres (0.6 ha)|
|Operated by||Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai|
|Status||Open all year|
The Joseph Baptista Gardens, locally known as the Mazagaon Gardens, is a 1.5 acres (0.6 ha) park in south Mumbai in Mazagaon. It lies atop a hill, the Bhandarwada Hill, and offers a panoramic view of the Mumbai harbour and the southern business district of the city. Beneath the gardens is a water reservoir, constructed by the second Municipal Commissioner of Bombay, John Hay Grant (1877–1881) between 1880–1884. The gardens are located behind the Dockyard Road railway station, at an altitude of 32 metres (105 ft). Shortly after India's independence in 1947, the gardens, was named after Joseph Baptista, an Indian freedom activist.
After the British arrived in Bombay in the 1660s, they selected Bhandarwala Hill, a basalt rocky outcrop as a site for the Mazagon Fort, that was built in 1680. However, the fort was completely razed by Siddi ruler Yakut Khan after he withdrew his siege on the orders of the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb.
In 1884, to address the shortage of potable water in the city, several hills were selected as storage tanks by the civic administration. Water from the Vihar Lake was pumped to the Bhandarwada Hill reservoir, that was then distributed to the city. Over it the John Hay Grant park was built. In 1925, the capacity was increased to 20,000,000 imperial gallons (90,900,000 l).
The park is frequented by neighbourhood residents. It is mostly patronised by couples, joggers, senior citizens, and students who find peaceful corners to study. Cycas, ixora, musanda, bougainvillea, and hibiscus are some of the plants found in the garden. As part of a makeover plan, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (BMC) earmarked 53.4 million (US$897,120) to beautify the gardens. Local residents however are upset over the plans for the makeover, and have claimed that the BMC have uprooted trees, thrown away wrought iron gates. Work on the renovations is set to be completed by February 2009.
- "Garden job fails, contractors told to show cause". Times of India (Times Group). 30 August 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
- Nandgaonkar, Satish (22 March 2003). "Mazgaon fort was blown to pieces – 313 years ago". Indian Express (Express Group). Retrieved 20 September 2008.
- Tatke, Sukhala (5 May 2008). "Locals upset over Mazgaon garden revamp". Times of India (Express Group). Retrieved 12 October 2008.