Oval Maidan

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Oval Maidan with Bombay High Court in the background

The Oval Maidan is a large Grade I recreational ground situated in South Mumbai, India.[1] It is named because of its oval shape and is situated just south of Churchgate. It is a popular recreation ground and most popular sports being played there are cricket and football. The ground measures 22 acres (0.089 km²) in area.[1] Political rallies and religious functions are banned in the maidan.[2]

Oval Maidan in 1875


The vast expanses of land of the Oval Maidan, Azad Maidan, Cooperage Ground and Cross Maidan until the early 20th century formed the area known as Esplanade.[3]


Till 1997, the ground was owned and run by the state government and was very poorly maintained. It was frequented by beggars, prostitutes and drug peddlers. Finally in 1997 a public charitable trust set up by the residents of the area, namely the OCRA (Oval-Cooperage Residents Association) was formed which petitioned the Maharashtra government to maintain the Oval maidan. The Maharashtra government did not respond to the petition, leading the group to take it to the Bombay High Court. The Court ruled in their favour, forcing the government to either maintain the maidan or hand it over to OCRA. The ground was subsequently handed over to the OCRA.

The OCRA then went about fencing the ground and building a jogging course around the periphery. A lane which cut through the diameter of the ground was metalled to facilitate a smoother thoroughfare.

To the north of the ground, a cricket academy, the Elf cricket academy, run by former Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar operated for a few years.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mumbai's green getaways". Daily News and Analysis. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "List 23 grounds as heritage spaces, panel tells BMC". The Indian Express. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Kelly Shannon, Janina Gosseye (2009). Reclaiming (the urbanism of) Mumbai Volume 3 of Explorations in/of urbanism. SUN Academia. p. 125. ISBN 90-8506-694-8.