Four drinking water fountains at Byculla zoo to be revived, conserved

Laxman Singh
One of the heritage water fountains. Express Photo by Ganesh Shirsekar.

The BMC may soon breathe life into four early twentieth-century drinking water fountains or "pyaus" located inside the Veer Jijamata Udyan, popularly known as the Byculla zoo or Rani Baug. Under its initiative to conserve and revive heritage drinking water fountains across the city, the BMC will undertake the restoration of the four defunct "pyaus" on the zoo premises. The drinking water fountains were constructed between 1903 and 1933.

According to the BMC's heritage department, two of the four fountains are known as Ardeshir Dadysett Pyau, donated by Ardeshir Dadabhoy in 1912. The other two are Khimji Mulji Randeria Pyau and Seth Samaldas Nasidas Pyau, named after their donors. They were donated in 1903 and 1933, respectively.

"These 'pyaus' have been defunct for approximately 40 years. All the donors were philanthropists. These are scattered heritage and we are reviving them by creative, cultural ways. The 'pyau' in the nursery will be relocated. The restoration is part of the ongoing project to revive 'pyaus' across the city," Rahul Chemburkar, an architect with conservation firm Vastu Vidhan Projects, said.

Vastu Vidhan Project, which has restored heritage drinking water fountains in other parts of the city so far, has been appointed by the BMC to revive and conserve the "pyaus" inside the zoo. The firm has restored about four such fountains, including the 95-year-old Kothari Pyau near the GPO, which was restored last year.

"The revival of the fountains inside the zoo includes excavation of the area around the 'pyau' to make it accessible, revival of the water system of the 'pyau' and addition of filtration system to provide potable water to visitors, information plaques with QR codes and uniform design," an official from the heritage department told The Indian Express.

The restoration plan is ready and would soon be sent to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee for approval. If everything goes as per plan, work will start in a couple of months, said an official.