The Ruins of Nargol

This is Part 2 of my trilogy on Nargol. In my first post,  I discussed the destruction that man caused to the beautiful beach of Nargol via the oil spill. In this post, I shall focus on Nargol again but discuss another kind of silent destruction that is taking place.

For those who do not know, Nargol is a sleepy coastal village in Gujarat. It is just north of the Maharashtra-Gujarat border. Some of the earliest Parsee’s settled down over here. The wikipedia page for Nargol is over here. The Parsees have long established themselves in Nargol and one can imagine that at one point in time, it must have had its aura along with a lot of activity. However what remains today are remnants of an era. I have not been a part of era, so I can only imagine. But a stroll around the village is enough for you to glance at the large villas, cottages, bungalows (whatever you wish to call them) and wonder what life must have been like in these houses.

What is more disturbing is the state of neglect that most of the houses, once owned by the Parsees are in. Several of them do not look like they have been visited since years. Broken windows, walls ruined by the elements of nature, creepers grown all over the walls and doors tell a sorry tale of neglect for the houses which at one point in time must have been the pride of their owners. I accept the fact that owning an independent house (most likely a second home) in these times and maintaining it is also not easy. It requires time, money and most of all, a sincere devotion to something that you deeply care for. I am also not blaming anyone but simply stating what the reality is today in this village. My regular visits to this place and walks in and around the narrow twisted lanes constantly reminds me of why nothing is being done about these houses which are getting ruined every passing day.

Should we be blaming the owners (who are either not there, dont care or do not have the means any more) or institutions  or the government or I do not know whom?

I leave you with the ruins of Nargol: [Click on the pictures to magnify them]

I do not want to paint a sorry picture of Nargol because the best part of it I have reserved for the last part of my trilogy. In the concluding part, I wish to highlight Nargol in a more positive way in terms of its natural beauty and of course the wonderful houses that are still well maintained. The positive aspects of Nargol still and I can confidently claim far outweigh some of the depressing photos that I have highlighted over here.

Hope to cover the final part of the trilogy soon…

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9 thoughts on “The Ruins of Nargol

  1. I find this very sad. I am Farhad, the son of Dr. Sam and Christobel Nargolwalla. I live in Toronto, but would like to come to Nargol. I understand from the Times that there will be a large festival for the Parsi’s in Nargol. Perhaps some attention should be paid to these houses as well, but of course these things happen with the houses are not lived in.

    Regards

    Farhad

  2. My cousins and I spent many of our childhood summers in Nargol, and it breaks my heart everytime I revisit it or see these sort of pictures. My happiest memories are of those times with my grandmother, Khorshedbanoo Kaikhushru Patel. We had no running water, electricity, sewers, gas, air conditioning, but we were carefree and happy. My mamaiji’s backyard had almost every possible fruit-bearing tree: limboo (which we climbed and I have pictures of), mango, papoya, banana, seketani sing, and others. We were a five minute walk to the beach, which was pristine in those days.
    Those were the days…..

  3. I too used to spend almost all my school vacations at my granny’s at Nargol. I still carry a lot of its fond memories till today although I havent visited the place for about 30 or so years. My heart weeps looking at these pictures of the sorry state of its ruined houses which once upon a time resonated with gossips of the elderly,the clutter of kids playing,the songs of joy and also having a typical smell of parsi food cooked in kingsized pots on log-fires in their palatial kitchens .The dimly lit verandahs at night with kerosene lamps were an added attraction for the vacationeers from cities . Its high time the Bombay Parsi Panchayat restore and formulate a plan whereby it would not only benefit poor parsis in need of a roof and the owners of these ruins but also recover the cost in a reasonable time. Hope this rot is stemmed before things go out of control and go to DOGS.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It has been several years since I wrote the above post and since I go there regularly, there has not been much of a change.

      Some of those houses that I clicked still remain as is and in a much greater state of disrepair, with weeds all over some of them. It’s almost as if the earth wants to swallow up these houses and it is not complaining.

      In the last 2-3 years, seen the development of I believe 3 residential projects in place of where some of these houses once stood.

      If you look at things at a more macro level, I find it distressing that if such is the situation of Parsi properties in Nargol, imagine the scene across the length and breadth of our country. Unimaginable amounts of property just left like that in times like these, some being taken over, some being broken down, some forcibly taken and others awaiting their fate.

      Just thinking of the way you have described the old days, these places have their best years behind them.

      1. Good – so people can come and have a common place to meet and connect and hold functions and share memories.

  4. The state of these homes and other old Parsi villages very much reflects the state of the Parsi community and their spirit today: decrepit and on the verge of death.

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