Prabhadevi (Marathi: प्रभादेवी) is a small up-scale district neighbourhood of Mumbai city, situated between the Shivaji Park Residential Zone to the north and Worli to the south and the Arabian Sea to the west. A major landmark is the Siddhivinayak Temple (Marathi: श्री सिद्धिविनायक गणपती मंदिर) dedicated to Lord Ganesha which attracts hundreds of devotees everyday and is one of the richest temple trusts in India.
History and locationEdit
The oldest part of this locality houses a temple of Prabhavatidevi dedicated to Prabhadevi from which the region takes its name. However, the Prabhadevi temple has been overshadowed due to the presence of the Siddhivinayak Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Siddhivinayak Temple attracts hundreds of pilgrims from all over India, most notably the Bollywood actors. Since the British period in India, Prabhadevi has housed a number of mills, which have been sold to make way for upscale residential sky scrapers. Due to its proximity with the Arabian Sea and its exact central location in Mumbai and between the commercial South Bombay and the suburbs it houses the most expensive apartment rates in all of South Asia.
Siddhivinayak Temple was built on November 19, 1801, by Mr. Laxman Vithu and Mrs. Deubai Patil. It has since evolved and has been subjected to many modifications to what it now stands. Siddhivinayak is well known as “Navasacha Ganapati” or “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati” in Marathi (which means 'Ganapati bestows whenever humbly genuinely prayed a wish') among devotees.
The temple situated at the crossroads of Veer Savarkar Marg and Appsaheb Marathe Road was built in 1715 but the main idol of Shakambhari devi, dates to the 12th century. Shakambaridevi was the patron goddess of the Yadav king, Raja Bimba of Gujarat who ruled this area. According to the temple priest, when the Mughals invaded the area, the idols were shifted to safer location to escape vandalism. They first found refuge in Mahim Creek and then mysteriously in a well, located near the temple site. Shakambhari in the form of Prabhavatidevi appeared in a dream to Shyam Nayak (a Pathare Prabhu). The temple was built under his supervision. It has a wide protico with wooden beams and tiled walls.
Kalika and Chandika, two manifestations of Shakti are on the either side of the main idol of Shakambaridevi. Other deities namely Laxmi Narayan and Shiva are also present. Today, The temple is looked after by the Gajanan Kirtikar trust, run by the descendants of Shayam Nayak. Every year in the Pausha (January) month of the Hindu calendar, a ten day "Jatra" (Mela) is held, beginning on the full moon day, to celebrate the Prabhavatidevi. This festival is quite popular with hundreds of people attending it every year.
During colonial timesEdit
Evidence of its importance in earlier times is a milestone located opposite the temple. "VIII MILES FROM THE TOWN HALL" carved on it. This monolithic structure hails back to British Colonial India when important landmarks in the city (Prabhadevi Temple in this case) had their distance from the city centre i.e. Town Hall (which is better known as Asiatic Library today) inscribed on it.
This area was a major part of Girangaon which had several mills. Most of the mills still stand today but with the advent of the power loom are no longer profitable and hence are closed down.
In Mumbai, the very mention of Prabhadevi makes one conjure up an image of a posh residential area situated in the heart of the metro with very few problems. The roads are clean and well maintained and there is a clean beach on its western side. But a major factor that works out in Prabhadevi's favour is its proximity. Also, the area boasts of relatively unencroached (read hawker-free) footpaths unlike some of the suburbs where pavements have become a facility of the past. Recent years have seen a surge in property prices in Prabhadevi which has heralded a construction boom catering to high-end residential apartments and skyscrapers. Older residential areas co-exist with shimmering and towering skyscrapers and continue to lend an old-world charm to this area located along the sea-front which makes Prabhadevi a very desirable and liveable locality.
Twin Tower lane( commonly known as Bombay Dyeing ), Beach Tower, Lloyds Garden, Raheja Empress, Tanna Residency, El Dorado, Prathamesh Society, Vaibhav Apartments, Tata Peregrine, Chaitanya Towers are some of the well known apartments in Mumbai located in Prabhadevi towards the Arabian sea. These apartments house the most affluent and aristocratic families of Mumbai. Some of the more recent ultra luxurious and ultra expensive developments in Prabhadevi include Sheth Beaumonde Towers (3 Towers, 33 storeys each),DB Crown(upcoming),Sumer Trinity Towers, Lodha Grandeur and Raheja Legend, they will now define the skyline of the prominent area in South Central Mumbai. A construction of a 77-storeyed hotel is expected to transform the face of Prabhadevi.
Prabhadevi has been known for being one of the most liberal district in Mumbai, it is also considered as the cleanest part of Mumbai.
Services and TransportationEdit
The commercial and the business parts of Prabhadevi do not seem to be growing as fast as the residential areas. However it is slowly proving to be a very important financial and commercial hub in the city, with Google recently setting up its Mumbai office in Prabhadevi itself. In addition, many businesses and banks have also set up their corporate offices here in Prabhadevi. These include ICICI, Crompton Greaves, and Deloitte. There are many automobile showrooms in Prabhadevi which includeMercedes-Benz, Skoda, Tata Motors, Fiat, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Honda. The main centre of MTNL is also located in Prabhadevi.
Prabhadevi does not fall close to any of the major train stations in Mumbai. It however lies equidistant from Elphinstone Road and Dadar train station making it easily accessible to the two major railway lines in Mumbai. Most of the important BESTbus routes pass through Prabhadevi. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link is only a mile away from the Prabhadevi district.