Friday, May 9, 2008


View:-Bandra Railway Station

Bandra is a suburb of Mumbai, popularly nick-named "Queen Of The Suburbs." It is home to a railway station on the Mumbai Suburban Railways, (Western line). It is 12th down railway station from Churchgate.
With a large Catholic population in Mumbai, Bandra is famous for its churches; Mount Mary's Basilica stands out in particular. Bandra also boasts one of Mumbai's most popular shopping destinations, and millions of people troop onto Linking Road every year. Over the years, Bandra has also gained the title of the "Restaurant Suburb of Mumbai". More restaurants open and close in Bandra every few months than any other location in Mumbai.

Bandra is a possible corrupt pronunciation of 'Vandre', a Marathi name or Bandar, the standard Persian word for Port.. There are other views on the origin of the name: that it is derived from a Portuguese princess for one and another more plausible one that it is a corruption of "Bandar-gah" in Persian (Bandar is a common word for Port in Iran), which means port. Maybe Vandre in Marathi and Bandar in Persian both mean port and come from the same Sanskrit root word. This area was under Silhara Dynasty in 12th century. It is referred to as "Bandora" as seen on gravestones in the cemetery of St. Andrew's Church and in the writings of Mountstuart Elphinstone of the English East India Company which describe the endeavours to acquire the island of Salsette.

In 1543, the Portuguese took possession of the island of Bombay by force. The Portuguese gave the Jesuit priests the sole ownership of Bandra, Parel, Wadala and Sion. In 1570 the Jesuits built a college and a church in Bandra which was called St Anne's College, or 'Santa Anna' Church. In the mid-18th century, the traveller John Fryer records that the Jesuit church, which stood near the sea shore, was still in use. The Portuguese built several churches in Bandra, including the famous St. Andrew's Church, which has the distinctive Portuguese-style facade. Bandra has the unique distinction of having the most Roman Catholic churches anywhere in the world: six churches with their own separate parishes(all within a four sq. km area), and also the world famous Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, affiliated to the parish of St. Andrew's, Bandra.
In 1733 when the Kunbi farmers migrated to this island from Bombay, because the fish manure they used was banned, they founded St. Andrew's church (which is still standing and in regular use), St. Stanislaus's Orphanage (now St. Stanislaus High School, among the best boy's school in Bombay) and a monastery of St. Anne. St. Anne's was blown up on the orders of the English to prevent it falling into Maratha hands in the year 1737, and regained in the same year when the Portuguese troops were aided by the English, a slaughterhouse was built on the same spot, and assigned to the Dakhni Muslims for operating it.

There was a section of Kokni(Konkani Muslims) in the present eastern part of Bandra, called Navpada. These kokni or Konkani Musims had migrated from inner parts of Thane district like Vasai, NallaSopara, Bhiwandi,Rabodi etc. Here nine prominent Kokni Muslims families were inhabitated, therefore it was named as "Nav" (meaning nine, in Marathi) and Pada (meaning "area"). They built the Kokni Masjid (Konkani Mosque, and a cemetery and lakes, which are having a history for more than 300 years. The inhabitants of this area were mailny milk business and running cotton hand looms and by the introduction of power looms in Bombay city, this industry died. (as per Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency). The area was then divided as Navpada East and Navpada West, by the indroduction of the Bombay Baroda Central Indian Railway (BBCIR). A major part of land this area was acquired by Railways, where Bandra Station, Bandra Terminus (Earlier Bandra marshalling yard) and Railway lines exists. The present lake called "Bandra Talao" and "Lotus Tank" was one of the properties of these kokni Muslims, which was later acquired by the Municipal Corporation for maintenance.

The chapel of Mount Mary was built around 1640. Local tradition has it that this was destroyed in 1738 during a Maratha raid. The statue of the virgin was recovered from the sea by fishermen and temporarily installed in St. Andrews, before being shifted to the rebuilt Mount Mary in 1761. To this day the statue is venerated and many miracles, minor and major, are attributed to the deity by all communities. In her honour, a fair is held for the duration of eight days, (starting on the Sunday following September 8th) during which pilgrims come from as far North as Vasai,Virar and as far East as Thane, to venerate at the Basilica of Mount Mary.

Bandra remained a village with plantations of rice and vegetables in the low-lying areas of the island until getting connected to Mahim by a causeway in 1845. Although many bungalows were built in the boom years of the 1860s and 70s, the fashionable Pali Hill area, now inhabited by members of the film community, saw the first constructions only in the 1880s.
R D National College was originally set up in 1922 in Hyderabad, Pakistan under the guidance of Annie Besant. After the partition of India, it was set up again, in 1949, in Bandra.
The west-side, called "Bandra (West)", had evolved into one of the more fashionable suburbs by the middle of the 20th century. However, the East soon followed its more popular sibling, & in the mid-to-late 90s emerged as a predominantly commercial zone, consisting of Bandra-Kurla Complex. Bandra West is also famous for Pali Hill and Carter Road areas which are home to many movie stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Dilip Kumar, Sanjay Dutt and many more.

Bandra (East) is the capital of the Bombay suburban district. However, it is completely overshadowed by its neighbouring city district with regards to government departments. The most prominent offices are the suburban collector's office, MHADA(Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority), Family Court, ONGC(Oil and Natural Gas Commission), MSEB(Maharashtra State Electicity Board) and DHFC(Diwan Housing Finance Corporation). Bandra (East) also has State Government Quarters.

Back to:-Mumbai Suburban Railways

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