An abandoned bungalow

Kaas lake: Derelict bungalow

The hills around Mumbai are full of abandoned bungalows. As I walked to the Kaas lake I saw the one in the featured photo. From the outside I guessed that this one was late colonial, perhaps built around the beginning of the 20th century or the end of the 19th. The guess was partly based on the style of the arched doors, and partly on the stone. The dressed stone was massive but well cut. The granite blocks were interspersed with weathered blocks of red laterite. It does not seem to have been abandoned for long, since the corrugated iron roof was rusted but intact. On the other hand, it was so definitely abandoned; the doors were left open.

Kaas lake: Derelict bungalow
Kaas lake: Derelict bungalow

Intrigued, I walked around to the back. A covered verandah looped around a set of rooms. I climbed the few stairs up to it. Clearly the place is used by locals. There were smashed bottles in corners, but the middle of the verandah was clean. I could walk into two of the rooms. They had fireplaces built back to back so that a single chimney could serve them both. Chimneys and fireplaces meant that the bungalow was at least a century old. Each of the rooms had a little bathroom attached. The room was not terribly badly decayed for an abandoned house. There was a false ceiling under the roof. This construction is certainly fairly recent, and must have been added on within the last twenty-five years or so. Again I had this sense of the place having been abandoned recently.

I wonder what the history of the place is. If it is over a hundred years old, it was probably built by a British person. Some time around 1947 it likely that it was sold to an Indian. The lake came into existence much later. So for much of its life, this bungalow would have stood fairly high above the now-dammed river. With the burgeoning tourism in Kaas plateau in the last decade, it would have been turned into a hotel, were its owner able to do so. Instead, it seems to have been abandoned at about that time. It should be possible to find out who the owner is, and why it has been abandoned, but that would require many more days of research in the Satara municipal corporation than I’m willing to spend.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

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