Bandra-Kurla Complex, a prominent business district in Bandra
|• Total||9,17,391 |
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Mumbai North Central|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Vandre West (covers Bandra West) |
Vandre East (covers Bandra East)
Bandra also called Vandre is a coastal suburb located on Salsette Island in Maharashtra, India. The suburb is located to the immediate north of the Mithi River, which separates Bandra from Mumbai City. It is the third-largest commercial hub in Maharashtra, after Mumbai and Pune, primarily aided by the Bandra-Kurla Complex. Additionally, many personalities who are active in Bollywood, cricket, and politics reside in the suburb.
The name "Bandra" possibly originates from the Persian and Urdu word for port, or "bandar."  It is described by Duncan Forbes's A Dictionary, Hindustani and English'(1848) as "a city; an emporium; a port, harbor; a trading town to which numbers of foreign merchants resort". In Marathi, Bandra is known as Vandre, which also means 'port' and is possibly derived from the same Urdu/Persian word.
The area was under the rule of the Silhara dynasty in the 12th century. Bandra was a tiny fishing village inhabited by Kolis (fishermen) and farmers. It was under the Portuguese before it was acquired by the British East India Company.
This turmoil was the start of a long period of Christianization of Bandra. Father Manuel Gomes, a Catholic priest, was instrumental in increasing the Church's prominence in Bandra. In 1580, he baptized 2,000 fishermen. By the time he died 11 years later, Father Gomes' "invincible strength of soul", as one historian describes it, had helped convert close to 6,000 people in the area. Father Gomes also established St. Andrew's Church.
Bandra became a Portuguese possession when the Sultanate of Cambay ceded the region in the Treaty of St. Matthew, which was signed aboard the Portuguese brig Sao Mateus in Baçaim harbor in 1534 and aided by Governor-General Nuno da Cunha and Diego da Silveira. The Portuguese enfeoffed (gave) Bandra, Kurla, Mazgaon and four other villages in 1548 to António Pessoa as a reward for his military services. This was confirmed by the Royal Chancellery on 2 February 1550.
As these villages were given for a period of 'two lives', they reverted to the Crown after the death of Isabel Botelha, Pessoa's widow. The Jesuits, who had applied for acquisition of these villages in anticipation of Isabel's death, obtained them from the viceroy in 1568 and received royal confirmation in 1570.
In 1661, when King Charles married Catherine of Portugal, the island of Bombay was given to England as part of the dowry. However, Salsette Island, on which Bandra lay, was not part of this treaty and remained with the Portuguese.
The Portuguese built additional churches in Bandra, one of the earliest being St. Andrew's Church in 1575. Their Jesuit missionaries, who learned local languages and cultures, attracted many Indian converts to Catholicism among the villagers on the island. Their descendants continued to support the six Catholic parish churches—Mount Carmel, St. Peter's, St. Andrew's, St. Theresa's, St. Anne's and St. Francis d'Assisi—that lie within an area of four square kilometres.
Bandra became part of English territory with the signing of the Treaty of Surat in 1775, but was retroceded to the Marathas in 1779 during the First Anglo-Maratha War. In 1802, Bajirao II signed the Treaty of Bassein with the English, surrendering sovereignty and again ceding Bandra, and it remained under British control until 14 August 1947.
On 12 April 1867, the first railway service was inaugurated, with one train per day between Virar and Bombay. Six years later, it was increased to 24 each day. As of 2018, 940 trains stop daily at Bandra. As late as the 1930s, Bandra had only one bus service from Pali Naka, Hill Road to the Railway station. Other people just walked to the nearest railway station. After World War II, the building boom began to accommodate immigrants.
Bandra was raised to the status of a municipality in 1876 and then was expanded. In 1950, following independence, it was merged into the Bombay Municipal Corporation to form the Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay. Bandra consisted of many villages, among them Sherly, Malla, Rajan, Kantwady, Waroda, Ranwar, Boran, Pali, and Chuim. These have been lost to urban development of the island.
Mount Mary's Church
The Catholic chapel of Mount Mary was built around 1640 by the Portuguese. The chapel was destroyed in 1738 by the Marathas during their campaign to evict the Portuguese. The statue of the Virgin was recovered from the sea by fishermen and temporarily installed in St. Andrew's Church, before being shifted to the rebuilt Mount Mary's Church in 1761. 2018 marked the beginning of the "Feast of Our Lady of the Mount", also known as the "Monti Fest" or the "Bandra Feast". To this day, the statue is venerated and many miracles, minor and major, are attributed to the Lady of the Mount. The architect of Mount Mary's Church was Bombay architect Shahpoorjee Chandabhoy. The basilica was built in 1904 at a cost of INR 1 lakh. The original church was built to serve the garrison posted at the Castella de Aguada (Fortress of Aguada) at Land's End, Bandra. In 1879, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy constructed a flight of steps to Mount Mary's Church; these are known as the Degrados de Bomanjee ('Steps of Bomanjee').
People of all faiths and communities visit the church, giving the place a syncretic nature. The Bandra Fair is held during the eight days of the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lady, beginning 8 September, when pilgrims throng the church.
The first school founded in Bandra after Bombay passed on to the English was St Andrew's Parish School, started by Fr. Francisco de Melo in 1780 to teach catechism to the children of the parish. This later became St. Andrew's High School. The school is located in Bandra West.
St. Theresa's High School grew out of St. Andrew's Indian Christians' School, housed in a very dilapidated building situated in Old Khar. This school was founded in 1918. It was taken over by the Society of Divine Word (S.V.D). in 1952. It is counted among the best schools in Mumbai.
St. Stanislaus High School was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus. It started as a Native Boy's orphanage. It became a high school in 1923 and was the first English medium school in the suburbs. Later, it grew to be a full-fledged educational institution for day-scholars as well as boarders. What started out as a school for 40 orphans has grown to support 2,300 students. St. Stanislaus High School is located on Hill Road, in Bandra West. Cardinal Gracias High School is a convent school located in Bandra East. St. Joseph's Convent High School for girls is run by the nuns of the congregation of the Daughters of the Cross in Bandra West. It was built in 1865 (Bandra was then known as Bandora) and boasts a beautiful chapel. The school has produced illustrious alumni over the years. R.D. National College was originally set up in 1922 in Hyderabad, Pakistan under the guidance of Annie Besant. In the run-up to the Partition of India, it was relocated to its present site in 1949 in Bandra. The Thadomal Shahani Engineering College was established in 1983 by the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board. It was the first private engineering institute to be affiliated with the federal University of Mumbai to offer courses in Computer Engineering, Information Technology, Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology.
The Rizvi Education Complex, located off Carter Road, comprises the Rizvi College of Arts, Science and Commerce (established in 1985); Rizvi High School (established in 1985); Rizvi College of Engineering (established in 1998); Rizvi College of Architecture; Rizvi College of Hotel Management & Catering Technology; Rizvi Law College; Rizvi College of Education and the Rizvi College of Fashion Designing & Creative Arts All are managed by the Rizvi Education Society, and may have the status of Muslim religious minority institution.
Arya Vidya Mandir School is also situated opposite St. Andrews College.
The lake was later acquired by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. It was officially renamed Swami Vivekanand Sarovar. Paddle boating facilities and pisciculture (fish farming) activities were operational in this lake during the 1990s but have since stopped. This lake is now a heritage structure of "Heritage II" status. The Portuguese also pronounced Bandra As Bandora.
Development of Bandra as a Commercial Hub
As traffic in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region worsened, especially in South Mumbai, there was increased demand to construct a business district outside of Mumbai, in the suburbs. In the mid-2000s, the city of Bandra started an audacious task to reclaim lands on the Mithi River in the eastern portion of the city, near the Kurla border. The newly-formed Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) has attracted several equity and technology firms, such as Blackstone, Google, and Amazon, who chose Bandra instead of Mumbai City for its location, lower-cost of land, and new development.
As the last suburb before entering Mumbai City, Bandra has for a while been strained with traffic, particularly around the railway station and S.V. Road. The development of a business centre has only exacerbated the traffic problems, as unlike other commercial hubs, Bandra's BKC is located between Bandra and Kurla stations and requires approximately 10-15 minute vehicular commute from either of the stations. Nearly 300,000 office-goers alight daily at Bandra Railway Station and take a taxi or bus to BKC. This has made Bandra among the busiest stations in India, surpassing Andheri and Bombay Central, and the second-busiest station in Maharashtra's Western Railway after Churchgate railway station.
Bandra has a large collection of street art or graffiti. The paintings on walls are principally located in the vicinity of Chapel Road and Veronica Street, but prominent works are also visible near Bandstand and Mount Mary Church. They consist of various types of graffiti, including pieces, stencils, tags, etc. Globally renowned artists such as Gomez have created works on these walls. St+art Mumbai, Bollywood Art Project and Dharavi Art Room are some of the organizations that conduct various programs to encourage the artists. The programs have support from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Bandra is also home to the 120X150 foot portrait of Dadasaheb Phalke on the MTNL building at Bandra Reclamation. It was created by Ranjit Dahiya (from the Bollywood Art Project) and other artists including Yantr, Munir Bukhari and Nilesh Kharade as part of the St+art Mumbai festival in 2014. The mural was unveiled officially by Amitabh Bachan and Piyush Pandey. It is reportedly Asia's largest mural.
Bandra is split by the local railway-line into West Bandra (Postal Code 400050) and East Bandra (Postal Code 400051). The part of Bandra located on the western side of the railway line developed into a fashionable suburb by the middle of the 20th century. Film director Mehboob Khan established the Mehboob Studios here in 1954. Soon the area became a center for the Indian movie industry, Bollywood. A recording studio was set up in the 1970s.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, the eastern part emerged as a commercial and administrative hub. It houses the Family Court, Bandra-Kurla Commercial Complex, the office of the state housing development authority (MHADA) and the office of the District Collector. The residential quarters of the employees of the Maharashtra State Government are also located here.
Most roads and places in Bandra were given English names during British rule. They have been renamed over time but many are still popularly known by their old names.
- Neighbouring suburbs: Dharavi, Khar, Kurla, Mahim, Santacruz
- Arterial Roads: Swami Vivekanand Road (S.V Road), Linking Road, Turner Road (Guru Nanak Marg), Hill Road (renamed Ramdas Nayak Marg), Carter Road (renamed Naushad Ali Marg), Navpada Road (Balsamant), Western Express Highway. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link connects the western part of Bandra to Worli by the sea route, thus diverting a lot of road traffic.
Bandra railway station is connected with the Western Railway and the Harbour Line, which is an offshoot of the suburban Central Railway. It also has a newly built terminus called Bandra Terminus in Bandra (E) from where trains bound for northern and western India are scheduled regularly. The important trains include the Bandra-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Bandra-Indore Express, Bandra-Patna Express, Bandra-Jaipur Express, Bandra-Jodhpur Express and the Bandra-Amritsar Express
Public transport also includes BEST buses, auto rickshaws and taxis, which are abundant. Bandra is the last southern point from Mumbai where auto rickshaws ply. Beyond Bandra, entering Mahim, only taxis are allowed to ply.
Places of interest
- Jogger's Park: Jogger's Park is a small seaside jogging track. The park, next to the Otter's Club, was where Mumbai's first laughing club was launched.
- Bandra Reclamation
- Mount Mary's Basilica
- Bandstand Promenade
- Hill Road: A popular street shopping area with various restaurants, branded retails
- Linking Road: A popular place for shopping
- Bandra-Kurla complex
- Carter Road Promenade
- Bandra Fort: Also known as Castella de Aguada, which is Portuguese for Fort of the Waterpoint
- Colonial-era bungalows, Bandra's unique architectural heritage is being threatened by ongoing development.
- Former Member of Parliament Priya Dutt
- Shah Rukh Khan
- Aamir Khan
- Ashutosh Gowariker
- Aditya Roy Kapur
- Sidharth Malhotra
- Kangana Ranaut
- Katrina Kaif
- Salman Khan
- Heart surgeon Sharad Panday
- BJP Mumbai President Ashish Shelar
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray
- Shiv Sena MLA late Bala Sawant
- Mohammed Rafi, Bollywood playback singer
- Farhan Akhtar
- Baba Siddique INC Leader
- Saif Ali Khan
- Tiger Shroff
- Flt Lt Lawrence Frederic Pereira, VrC
- Lieutenant-General Francis Tiburtius Dias, PVSM, AVSM, VrC
- Varun Dhawan
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