Shivaji Park is truly a historic Ground – it has not only hosted rallies during the fight for India’s Independence but also during the struggle for Samyukta Maharashtra and is even today the destination of choice for every Political Party, Socio-Religious Movement or Cultural Associations. Its attractiveness stems from its unique features such as its vastness, its central location and its easy accessibility.
More importantly, it is a vast arena for sporting activities on a day to day basis. It is truly the nursery of Cricket in India. On any given morning and evening there are literally hundreds of boys and young men playing Cricket in the Park. Then there are many others playing Football or practicing Athletics or Gymnastics in different parts of the Park. Simultaneously, there are scores of health-conscious people walking or Jogging around the Park every day.
History of Shivaji Park Gymkhana
History Shivaji Park Gymkhana was born as the “New Maharashtra Cricket Club” – established in 1909 by Shri P. G. Marathe and his two brothers along with Shri S. P. Athalye, Shri L. M. Vaishampayan, Shri N. T. Kane and others. Dr. M. C. Jawale, a Municipal Corporator then joined this group and within a period of 9 years they set up a Reserve Fund of Rs.3,500/- with the objective of establishing a Gymkhana in Dadar.
The Club originally had a pitch to the north of the Dadar Station, but the then G.I.P. Railway soon absorbed this plot and the Club migrated to a plot of the Improvement Trust to the east of the Station. Dadar. The possession of this plot was also shortlived. Shri Shamrao Moroba came to the rescue by granting permission to the Club to use his own Wadi as a pitch. From here the Club migrated to the South of the City to a plot of military ground. In 1923, the Improvement Trust allotted a plot to the Club off Vincent Road in Dadar. The name of the Club was then changed from “New Maharashtra Cricket Club” to “Dadar Hindu Gymkhana”. However, the Club had to vacate this plot also and for two long years it had no playing pitch of its own, thereby threatening the very existence of the Institution.
Then came the Shivaji Park Development Scheme. Shri R. K. Vaidya, then Corporator of Mumbai and an active member of this Club was connected with this Scheme and through his efforts, a small plot of land was allotted to the Club. In 1927, Mr. Clayton, the then Municipal Commissioner, opened the first Tennis Court of the Club. The possession of the plot at Shivaji Park brought a sense of stability to the Club and it went on expanding its own activities rapidly. The small plot of land was later exchanged for a 5000 sq. yds. plot on the present site. The Members then concentrated on the aim of having their own pavilion. It was very difficult to obtain permission to build a structure within the Shivaji Park area. The then President of the Gymkhana, Dr. M. C. Jawale, a Municipal Corporator for many years and a former Mayor of Mumbai, very tactfully obtained the permission. A number of members contributed handsomely and the work of construction of the pavilion was entrusted to Wagle Brothers. The opening ceremony of this building was held in November, 1931 at the hands of Shri Ranchhoddas Madhavdas. In 1942, the area in the possession of the Gymkhana was increased to its present dimensions of 19000 sq. yds. and it is this ground which has witnessed cricket of a very high order for so many years.