Corporate report

Mumbai juxtaposed

Mumbai juxtaposed

The Worli Koliwada Transformation Project

The Heritage Project (THP), an initiative of the RPG Foundation, has been a leading voice in promoting and preserving Indian culture. With a mission to facilitate 360° transformation of heritage sites through structural and community interventions, THP endeavours to create heritage consciousness, and enable people to relive and experience history in engaging ways.

After successful interventions at the Banganga Precinct, its flagship project, the team has now taken up yet another historical site in Mumbai – the Worli Koliwada.

Juxtaposed against skyscrapers on one hand and the iconic Bandra-Worli sea link on the other, Worli Koliwada is the city’s 800-year-old urban village. This locality is endowed with rich cultural and social significance and is home to the Koli community, who are among Mumbai’s earliest inhabitants.

Recognising the site’s significance, THP has initiated ‘The Worli Koliwada Transformation Project’, in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) G-South Ward to transform the area with the historic Worli Fort at its tip.


To enhance social well-being and quality of life for the community living in Worli Koliwada, THP has been driving several initiatives in the areas of skills training, sanitation for schools and communities, health camps that include RPG Foundation’s flagship eye care programme, Netranjali, and various other interventions focused on adolescent and community healthcare.

One of the key objectives for the THP team is to help empower the local community, especially the women of Worli Koliwada. Its community development initiatives include:

  • Sanitation: Facilitating cleanliness around the site, and improving waste management practices in the community
  • Entrepreneurship development: Scale-up and nurture women-run food and other enterprises to enhance livelihood
  • Employability: Skills training for women and youth, in healthcare and other sectors
  • Capacity-building interventions with healthcare workers and Anganwadi Sevikas

Last year, during the festive season of Diwali, RPG Foundation commissioned two Self Help Groups (SHGs) from the community to sell homemade sweets to employees at the RPG House headquarters in Mumbai.


As part of its efforts to transform the space, THP is viewing the site and its community development initiatives through various artistic lenses. As a result, Worli Koliwada is being developed as a cultural melting pot with beautiful murals that showcase its history and community.

For this, THP has enlisted the help of the Aravani Art Project – a public art collective in India driven by members of the LGBTQIA+ community – to beautify common spaces in Worli Koliwada. Staying true to the Foundation’s objective of ensuring inclusivity, these interventions are being undertaken with the involvement of local residents to develop a sense of ownership of the site and to ensure its sustainability and maintenance. The artworks and murals add to the beauty of the place along with the sea link, the city’s skyline and its mesmerising sunsets.

While the BMC is executing the structural restoration of the Worli Fort, THP is contributing to the heritage revival efforts by installing heritage-themed streetlights, site-appropriate benches, information and direction signages for visitors, and landscaping of community spaces. THP further plans to curate immersive experiential tours at Worli Koliwada that will help visitors to relive the history of this site while interacting with the community members living there.

Worli Koliwada and the adjoining fort are some of Mumbai’s many lesser-known heritage sites that need preservation and revival. RPG Foundation and THP aim for a holistic revival of both the tangible and the intangible aspects of its heritage, through structural revival, establishing the historical and cultural importance of the site, and building awareness among communities around the area as well as the larger public about the vital need for such conservation.


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