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Gilbert Hill: The structure which withstood 66 million years but can’t withstand Mumbaikars

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Only three locations in the entire world house the remnants of a large volcanic bubble that froze mid-air, turning into gigantic rock structures – The Devil’s Postpile in California, The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and Gilbert Hill in Andheri West, Mumbai. It is expected to be at least 66 million years old. 

Gilbert Hill was declared a National Park in 1952 by the Central Government under the Forest Act. In 2007, after years of lobbying by geologists, the hill was declared a Grade II heritage structure by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), and all quarrying and other activities around the monument were prohibited. 

Shot By: Ashwini Mishra (Maverick Works)

But, as you can see, a fully flourished society juxtaposing the might Gilbert Hill. How can the government gave permission for that? It is neither good for the Hill nor for the people due to its history of erosion.   

Atop the rock column, as you can see, two Hindu temples, the Gaodevi and Durgamata temples, set in a small garden, are accessed by a steep staircase carved into the rock. The hill offers a panoramic view of suburban Mumbai.

Why can’t we just let it be an undisturbed natural phenomenon? Why do we have to construct temples over the top? Don’t we know how environment friendly our devotees are? Our height of devotion certainly doesn’t superimpose with our eco-friendliness. 

Efforts are being made to convert Gilbert Hill into a tourist attraction and include it as a stop on a tour of Mumbai by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. This is a good move. A better move could be to just leave it as it is with restricting further human activities. Society near Gilbert Hill should be restricted and existing buildings should be checked legally. This could be the only way to save Gilbert Hill from further damage and erosion. 

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