Architecture,  Mumbai,  Mumbai for kids

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe – the giant Mumbai Shoe in Hanging Gardens

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

I discovered English nursery rhymes when searching for something rhythmical to read to my newborn daughter. I knew a lot of poems and lullabies in Russian and Ukrainian, but nothing in English. So, when I read “Humpty Dumpty”, “Jack and Jill”, “Ba-a, ba-a black sheep” and so on, not only they struck me as odd, but it was also extremely tongue twisting. I would have put them aside if I manged to find a better option, but I didn’t. So I practiced and practiced until these lines started sounding like a rhythmical poem indeed 🙂 And I was rewarded for my efforts – both Adriana and Alexandra know quite a lot of nursery rhymes and it sounds much more natural when they recite them than my poor initial attempts 🙂

Anyway, let’s get back to the old woman who lived in a shoe. I suppose this giant shoe in Hanging Gardens has something to do with the nursery rhyme:


To be honest, this is one of those  cases when I look at a structure and can’t help wondering why the hell is it mentioned in all the city guides as one of Mumbai landmarks? Well, it’s cute, I agree. A big yellow shoe with red shoelaces, roof and chimney is made of stone and has a spiral staircase inside – of course it’s bound to be loved by the smallest visitors of the garden. On the other side, there are hundreds of even more original attractions for kids, and they are not listed as outstanding landmarks of the city. Perhaps the Boot House of Mumbai comes with a nice story attached to it? That would explain its popularity. But no, I haven’t found anything like that while doing my research for this post. However, I’ve noticed that lots of Mumbai dwellers have a soft spot for this shoe in Hanging Gardens thanks to the nice childhood memories connected to this place. Perhaps 30-40 years ago the amusement scene for kids was not as diverse as it is today. In that case the structure deserves its fame 🙂

Here is my friend in the shoe – feeling excited like a child 🙂


And here are the two of us. And by the way, we were not the only adults who climbed upstairs and had fun 🙂


The Boot House is a popular photography object.



Kamala Nehru Park, (Hanging Garden) Babulnath, Simla Nagar, Malabar Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400006, India


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