Bandra is a suburb located in north west Mumbai, India. It has earned the sobriquet "Queen Of The Suburbs". The Bandra railway station is located on the Western line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. Bandra is a highly coveted location for restaurants, pubs, bars, and high-street stores.
The suburb is also famous for its coastline, with promenades along Carter Road,Bandstand and Reclamation. Many Bollywood actors live along the Bandstand Promenade, Carter Road and in the Pali Hill areas. The population and culture of Bandra is quite cosmopolitan in nature. It consists of a fair amount of Hindus, Christians (Catholics and others), Parsis (Zoroastrians), and Muslims.
Bandra is home to numerous churches, including Mount Mary's Basilica. The Parsi fire-temple, Tata Agiary is located on Hill Road. Other famous religious places include the Jama Masjid (mosque) located near Bandra West railway station and the temple of Goddess Jari-Mari, located on S.V Road. A municipal lake, Swami Vivekanand Talao, is located in Bandra. It was closed to the general public in the mid 1990s.
History of localities in Bandra
Godbunder Rd, which originally ran from Mahim causeway, then skirted Bazaar Rd, went past the Bandra talab (lake) and continued to Godbunder. The Road was later made straight by cutting through the talab. Bazaar Rd began at Godbunder Rd opposite the mosque and ran through the market keeping close to the coast which is now the reclamation. Bazaar Rd is only 2 km long but houses a Jain temple, Ram Mandir, Hanuman temple, Khoja mosque, Christian chapel and a Sikh gurduwara.
Bandra had 2 hills, Mount Mary hill and Pali hill. Hill Rd starting from the station went through middle of Bandra town, past St Andrews to terminate at the foot of the Mount near Mehboob studio. Pali Rd began at St Peters and cut through Pali village till it reached Danda; BJ Rd runs from St Andrews to Lands End, was built by Byramjee Jeejebhoy and opened to public in 1878.
Main roads in Bandra, Perry, Carter, Bullock, Kane, and Bates were named after British collectors and magistrates. Mr Carter was collector in 1924 and Mr Bullock was the Chief Magistrate.
The Portuguese built several churches in Bandra, one of the earliest being St. Andrew's Church in 1575. Six churches with separate parishes lie within an area of four square kilometers.
These churches are: Mount Carmel, St. Peter's Church, St. Andrew's Church, St. Theresa's Church, St. Anne's and St. Francis D'Assisi Church. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is affiliated to the parish of St. Andrew's Church, Bandra.
There are over 150 crosses at various places. Many crosses were built to ward off the plague epidemic (1896-1906). The oldest is the one relocated in St Andrew's church compound. Stands 17 ft high and made of a single stone. It was originally in the Jesuit seminary of St Anne built in 1610. The bldg was destroyed in 1739 and the cross was relocated to St Andrews church. The surface is carved all over with 39 emblems of the passion of Christ. The walls enclosing the compound of St Andrew's church were built by a Parsi, Manockjee Sorabjee Ashburner in 1862. This is recorded on a slab on the main gate of the enclosure.
Salsette was originally separated by a tidal creek which Portuguese called B
andora creek. English changed it to Mahim creek. Crossing the Mahim creek was by ferry to the industrial town of Bombay. After many boats capsized, a road was built by Lady Jamsetji in 1843 at a cost of Rs.1, 55,800. It was designed by Lt. Crawford and opened to public in 1845.
The Tata Agiary on Hill Rd was built by Tata in memory of his wife in 1884.
Like most places in Mumbai, Bandra is split by the local railway-line into Bandra West (PIN code 400050) and Bandra-East (PIN code 400051). The part of Bandra located on the western side of the railway line evolved into a fashionable suburb by the middle of the 20thcentury. Film director, Mehboob Khan, established Mehboob Studio here in 1954. Soon the area was abuzz with film-related activities. A recording studio was set up in the 1970s.
The east, in the mid-to-late 1990s 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), the office of the District Collector and so on. The residential quarters of the employees of the Maharashtra State Government are also located here.
Most roads and places in Bandra possess English names that were given to them 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, 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.
Main article: Bandra Talao
Bandra Lake, also called "Bandra Talao" or "Motha Reservoir" was constructed by a rich Konkani Muslim of Navpada (also spelt Naupada or Naopara), an adjoining village.
The lake was later acquired by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. It was officially r
enamed Swami Vivekanand Sarovar. Paddle boating facilities and pisciculture activities were operational in this lake during the 1990s. This lake is now a heritage structure of status "Heritage II".
Bandra railway station is connected via 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 - Indore Express, Bandra - Patna Express, Bandra - Jaipur Express, Bandra - Jodhpur Express and the Bandra -Amritsar Express
Public transport BEST buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are abundant. As you travel southwards, Bandra is the last point up to which auto rickshaws ply. Beyond Bandra, as you enter Mahi
Places of interest
- Bandra Reclamation
- Mount Mary's Basilica
- Castella de Aguada, a seventeenth century fort at Land's End, the southernmost point of Bandra
- Bandstand Promenade
- Bandra-Kurla complex
- Carter Road Promenade
- Jogger's Park
The first school founded in Bandra after Bombay passed on to the English was St. Andrew’s Parish School, started by the Vicar, Fr. Francisco de Mello in 1780, to teach Catechism to the children of the parish. This later became St. Andrew High School.
St. Stanislaus School was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus. It started as a 'Native Boy's orphanage', 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 now grown to support 2,300 students.
St.Theresa's High School grew out of St.Andrews Indian Christians School, housed in a very dilapated building situated in Old Khar. This school was founded on 1918 and was taken over by religious society called Society of Divine Word ( S.V.D). IN 1952.And now the school is counted among the best educated schools in Mumbai.
Mount Mary's Church
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 (starting on the Sunday following September 8) when pilgrims throng the church, coming from as far North as Vasai and Virar and as far East as Thane.The chapel of Mount Mary, was built around 1640. Lore has it that the chapel was destroyed in 1738 during a raid by Marathas. 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 Church in 1761, the year marking beginning of Bandra feast as it is celebrated today. 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 a Bombay architect Shahpoorjee Chandabhoy. The basilica was built in 1904 at a cost of 1 lakh. It was built to serve the garrison posted at Castella de Aguada- the fort at Land's End road. In 1879, Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy constructed a flight of steps from foot of Mt Mary hill to north side of church known as the "Degrados de Bomanjee" ('Steps of Bomanjee').
Despite commanding one of the highest property rates in Mumbai and being considered a most fashionable place to live in, Bandra has long suffered from problems of over-crowding, traffic congestions, haphazard construction of buildings and illegal hawking. Parking space availability is a major problem. Hill Road, one of Bandra's major roads continues to be heavily congested due to illegal hawkers setting up shops on the road itself. Also, the prices of commodities is higher compared to the other suburbs. Demolition of old bungalows along the narrow bylanes for new high rises has resulted in Bandra losing its charm and becoming a display of unplanned constructions leading to a multitude of problems.