Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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Your idea
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Year innovation began


Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of benefit to the people of the desitination

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Indicate sector in which you principally work

Conservation/Preservation organization

Geographic location


Plot your innovation within the Mosaic of Solutions
Main barrier addressed

Lack of collaboration

Main insight addressed

Incorporate sustainable practices

What is the goal of your innovation?

KGA aims at reviving the historic building and spaces of the Kala Ghoda area as the art district of Mumbai.

How does your approach support or embody geotourism?

The goal and vision of KGA is to preserve the historic KGA area as the art district of the city and to show case art and culture.

KGA has succeeded significantly in attaining its targeted objectives. The cityscape has improved vastly. The pavements are redone complete with street signs, history plaques and street furniture. The unsightly municipal sheds on the street have been rebuilt with an amphitheatre exterior fit for street performances. The historic Elphinstone College was cleaned and restored for the first time since it was built in 1888!

One of the most significant of achievements has been organizing the arts festival at the beginning of each year. The festival has completed 10 successful years. The festival encompasses all the art forms….dance, drama, music, heritage walks, food stalls, books, poetry, fashion shows, art exhibitions, installations, children’s programmes, films, artisans exhibiting their crafts… There is something for all ages and tastes.

The festival in the restored Kala Ghoda Area is the preferred destination for entertainment and education for both the locals of the city and tourists.

Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?

It was the imaginative vision of our architects who could see that this area was uniquely suited for the creation of an art district. To bring this to the public focus both restoration of this long neglected area, as also bringing it alive with the platform of art in all its aspects, entirely free of charge was the key to its success.

It was then a question of raising the required funds from corporates, trusts and funds from members of parliament for the area who were sympathetic to KGA’s views for the betterment of the city. While this involved detailed studies and plans, it was not difficult to achieve, as the need for improvement was obvious to all.

It was also a question of breaking the barriers of the official mind…. this had not been done before….Could KGA do it? …..Would KGA misuse the sanctions given?

The best commendation of KGA’s work is the willing co-operation the authorities now extend for the restoration of the area and that other areas in the city now organize festivals such as the Mumbai festival and the Bandra Festival.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

The partnerships, which would be most beneficial, would be at the local level of municipal government, which will have understood the beneficial effects of the work KGA has done. Some fiscal incentives from the authorities would not only assist our Association to grow but would encourage others to take up similar projects in other parts of Mumbai with its huge population of 18 million plus.

In addition, partnership with the tourism wing of the Government and partnership with Embassies wanting to showcase the arts and culture of their country would add a new dimension to KGA’s art district.

In one sentence describe what kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

The impact KGA intends is that its historic areas can be revitalized at minimal cost for the public benefit.

Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts? 200 words or less

Our approach has been an unqualified success. Every year the KGA arts festival is on the map of both the locals and tourists. All the venues of the festival in and around Kala Ghoda are overflowing with appreciative audiences.

The sponsorship for the festival has an inbuilt feature of donation to KGA’s corpus fund, this corpus fund of the Association, which enables it to run a small office with a minimum staff of three persons and more importantly to carry out physical repairs and upgradation to the area.

The ever-increasing numbers of people who come to the area for the festival throughout the area partake of the culture and urban heritage and aesthetics are sufficient tribute to KGA’s vision. The restoration of the Elphinstone College received honorable mention from UNESCO’s Asia Pacific Heritage Award.

This model is both sustainable and replicable in the city.
There are hardly any negative impacts in our functioning particularly as this a win, win situation.

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

There are very few local residents in our area. However the commercial establishments and offices in the area have responded positively as they have stood to benefit from the city’s focus on the area. Many NGO’s have had their products and crafts showcased and popularized during the festival time. Several other organizations now wish to hold similar festivals in the area.

Describe how your innovation helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area’s cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues. How do you motivate them to act responsibly in their future travel decisions?

With the upgradation of the historic building and public spaces of the area and the informative history plaque, it educates and sensitizes the visitor to his historic heritage and environment. Seeing the work done and the kind of uses the buildings are put to, motivates the visitor to treat with respect their own historic inheritance. This would rub favorably of them in their future travels.

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your innovation, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

The KGA Arts festivals programme is now on the calendar of tourists. In the short space of 9 days in February each year the tourists can get an across- the- board sampling of the culture and arts of India. Whatever the tourist liking may be…. be it literature, painting music, local food or fashion the traveler will get a fair sample of it. In fact it is the one stop complete destination for the culture seeking traveler.

Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? What is the potential demand for your innovation?

Yes it is, as the sponsors are committed to giving to the Association a donation to the corpus fund of the Association. In addition as part of KGA’s initiative it runs a small art gallery to encourage up and coming artists who can display their work for a modest donation to the Association. The initiative of KGA has been replicated by the Government itself in the Mumbai Festival it holds annually as also in the surburbs by the Bandra Festival conducted by the local residents once in two years.

How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

As explained above donations to the corpus fund of the Association given by the sponsor to the arts festival as also the donations for exhibiting at the art gallery are the sources of fund for the Association. Our annual budget is approximately 10 lakhs, we have a full time staff of three and a volunteer committee of nine persons.

What is your plan to expand your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

KGA’s plan is to upgrade the quality of the Arts festival even further and to hold smaller festivals during the year such as the spring festival, the Diwali Festival and to have entertainment programmes at its amphitheatre during the winter months.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

The method and system by which KGA works, implies that sponsors must be willing and able to fund the larger initiatives of the Association. If a building is to be restored or illuminated funding is always a question. The sponsoring party would of course be given due mileage in the restored facility. With the past record of the Association this should not be an insurmountable barrier.

The Story
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What is the origin of your innovation? Tell your story.

The thriving and proud city of Mumbai suffers from urban decay. The time had come therefore for all sections of the city to focus on reviving it starting particularly from its historic fort area. The Kala Ghoda area was named after a grand 12 foot bronze statue of King Edward the VII on a black horse that once stood in the Plaza of the area. Although the statue has been removed to another location on account of political sensitivity, no one, but no one, refers to this area except as the Kala Ghoda area after the iconic equestrian statue. Today a stylishly painted black horse mural on the wall of one of the buildings of the area draws attention to its name.

With the interventions made by KGA (a public charitable Trust) in the area and its focus on art, the KGA precinct has become the cultural node of the city. The area is a meeting place for artists, sculptors, photographers, musicians, writers, publishers and students who exchange news and views on their special interest. The Prince of Wales museum at the Southern end of the precinct, a premier museum of the country, is a thriving place for culture and the arts. KGA holds events in the public spaces of this museum.

After the advent of the Association., atleast six new art galleries have opened in this area, which is a tribute to the work KGA has done. The area is also dotted with craft centers book and music shops and humorous cafes. There are also a variety of fine stores and boutiques inviting tourists to visit and shop.

To encourage more public participation and appreciation of our cultural and art heritage the KGA’s arts festival is open to all at no cost whatsoever. Many sections of Mumbai’s society who would never be able to afford the fees to the cultural and art shows in the festival are able to come to and appreciate them at festival time. There is not even standing space available at these shows should you happen to come late!

KGA has now undertaken the restoration of the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, one of the listed heritage buildings in the area where the films of the festival are shown. It is also proposed to install a water fountain in that area which would provide clean drinking water to the tourists and other people who visit the area.

We are also proposing to restore the quadrangle of the Elphinstone College so that performances can be held there.

To conclude the KGA work is a model for private, public joint participation in a manner that has that can be a model to be replicated in other parts of the city for the benefit of the public at large.

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