Kurla is a suburb of Mumbai, India. It belongs to Zone 5, Ward 'L' of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and lies immediately north of Mumbai city limits. It's railway station is one the busiest on the Mumbai suburban railway on the central and harbour railway lines of Mumbai as is the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) for out-station passenger/express trains.
The name Kurla originated from "Kurli", the local name for crab, (as these were found in plenty in marshes in the vicinity) before it became a sub-urban locality.
Coorla, as it was spelt during the British Raj, was a major station on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway ten miles north-east of Bombay, and with six other villages, Mohili, Kolikalyan, Marol, Shahar, Asalphe, and Parjapur, was the property of Mr. Ardeshir Hormasji Wadia, a Parsi merchant of Bombay, who paid for them a yearly quit-rent of £358 (Rs. 3587). The villages were originally (in 1808) given to Mr. Hormasji Bamanji Wadia in exchange for a piece of land near the Apollo pier gate in Bombay. The difference between the value of the villages and of the ground in Bombay, £864 (Rs. 8640), was at first paid yearly to Government. It was redeemed and the estate conveyed in fee simple in 1840–41. Kurla had two cotton mills, one of them, the Dharamsi Punjabhai being the largest cotton spinning and weaving mill in the Presidency, with 92,094 spindles and 1280 looms. The other was the Kurla Spinning and Weaving Mill . The village had a population of 9715, about half of them mill-hands, the rest – chiefly fishermen, husbandmen and salt-makers. The Holy Cross Church at Kurla, built during the Portuguese rule and rebuilt in 1848, is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai.
The Mithibai Hormasji Wadia Dispensary was built by Mr. Bamanji Hormasji Wadia in 1855, and endowed by him with £1200 (Rs. 12,000). It was in charge of an assistant surgeon, and, in 1880–81, had an attendance of 7367 out-patients. The salt pans covered an area of about 66 acres (270,000 m2) and yielded a yearly revenue of £3418 (Rs. 34,180). There was also a considerable manufacture of shell lime. Kurla was connected with Sion on Bombay island by the Sion causeway, which bore the following inscription: ' This causeway was begun in May 1798 and was finished in January 1805, during the administration of the Honourable Jonathan Duncan Esquire. It cost £5037 (Rs. 50,374). It was doubled in width, and other improvements added, in 1826, under the government of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, at a further cost of £4000 (Rs. 40,000). The causeway was originally constructed under the superintendence of Captain William Brooks of the Engineers, and the additions and improvements made in 1826 under that of Captain William Tate of the same corps.'
The beginning of the twentieth century saw Kurla develop as an important centre of the mill industry. In 1910, there were reported to be several mills in Kurla, engaged in the manufacturing of cotton cloth and woollen cloth in steam factories. Kurla, however, was an old textile industrial core, an outlier to the main cotton mill zone. A relatively cheaper land value and nearness to water and power mains enabled rapid industrial expansion of the suburbs and the Kurla-Ghatkopar-Vikhroli-Bhandup belt soon developed into the largest industrial zone in the suburbs of Mumbai. The Kurla Railway Car-shed was constructed in 1925 when electrification of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) Harbour line was undertaken. The first electric train in Asia that ran between CST and Coorla on February 3, 1925 was maintained at this car shed. The Salsette-Trombay Railway, also known as the Central Salsette Tramway, opened in 1928. The 13 kilometre line, a project of the Bombay Improvement Trust run by the GIPR, ran from Trombay to Andheri via Kurla and lasted only a few years.
Kurla may be divided into two parts: Kurla (East) and Kurla (West), separated by the Central Railway line. Kurla East is bordered by the suburban neighbourhoods of Chunabhatti in the south, Chembur in the East and Ghatkopar in the North. Kurla West is surrounded by Ghatkopar and Saki Naka neighbourhood of Andheri East to its North, Kalina and the Bandra Kurla Complex to its West and the Sion - Dharavi area to its south across the Mahim Creek. The Mithi River enters into Kurla's north- west corner near Sakinaka, running south along the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport boundary wall and the Bail Bazar locality, past the CST road and Taximen colony areas and empties into the Mahim Creek at the southern end of Kurla.
The entire suburb falls under Zone 5, Ward 'L' of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Kurla (Vidhan Sabha constituency) (Number 174) is one of the 26 Vidhan Sabha constituencies located in Mumbai Suburban district .
Kurla displays an urban blend of residential colonies, big and small, industrial estates commercial enclaves and slums.
The earliest settlements in Kurla were in this area in the northern end of Kurla West. It consists of
- the East Indian village of Kurla, popularly known as 'Christian Village', with the adjoining predominantly Christian 'Hall Village'.
- Wadia Estate, built on the property of the A. H. Wadia charity trust, located on A.H.Wadia Marg adjoining the Mithi River and the airport.
- Bail Bazaar and Sindhi Camp (populated by mostly Sindhi's, Kanojia's and Malwanis)
- Sandesh Nagar, Sayog Nagar, Kranti Nagar slums on the banks of the mithi river.
- Jarimari, Kajupada, Safed Pool areas on the Andheri Kurla road.
- Asalfa village and Narayan Nagar slums on the LBS marg towards Ghatkopar.
The area has witnessed a construction boom in the 21st century with the redevelopment of large former industrial plots. Kohinoor city and Phoenix Marketcity projects have been developed on land previously occupied by the Premier Automobiles and Mukand Engineering respectively .
The southern end of Kurla began developing with the arrival of the Cotton mills and the railway line. some prominent localities and landmarks are:
- Jai Bhawani Chowk, Jai Shankar Chowk and Subhash Nagar on New Mill Road. 90% people in Jai shankar Chowk are from Kaikadi Samaj and work in the BMC and Air India.
- BMC colony near New Mill Road & H.P. Keluskar Road.
- LIG, MIG and HIG Colonies at Vinobha Bhave Nagar which also has a police station by that name. Bhartiya Nagar, Gaurishankar Nagar located near the Premier Nalla are in its vicinity. The Santa Cruz – Chembur link road alignment passes through this area.
- K. B. Bhabha Hospital with its neighbourhoods of Chhadva Nagar and Murli Milan Society.
- Kurla Bus Depot on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg (LBS Road) with the adjoining areas of Taximen's colony, Kapadia nagar and Kismat nagar on CST road. This area enjoys close proximity to the Bandra Kurla Complex.
- Kurla Railway Station area with the "Yadav Mandai" (Fish, Meat and Vegetable market )and the "L" ward municipal offices on Station Road and Brahminwadi on "Pipe Road" that runs along the water pipe line.
- Salafi Welfare Society near Halav pool, Gol Building and Masrani Lane.
- Indira Nagar, Parigh Khadi, and Kurla Garden are slum areas situated to the south of the Kurla Court
- Subash Nagar,located close to railway station on New Mill Road
areas in Kurla East include:
- Nehru Nagar: The Government Dairy is located here. It has Mumbai's second biggest MSRTC depot.
- Shriv Shrusti: A residential colony near the bus depot
- Railway Colony: A residential colony near Lokmanya Tilak Terminus
- Kamgar Nagar: A residential area with row houses (now developed as bungalows)
- Hilphi House (House of a Portuguese Builder)
Kurla is accessible from all parts of Mumbai by road and rail due to its central location.
The Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg (Formerly known as Old Agra Road) is the arterial road for Kurla West. The Road begins at the southern end of Salsette Island, passing through Kurla and continuing up north into Ghatkopar towards Thane. The Andheri – Kurla road links Kurla with Andheri via Saki Naka, while CST road leads to Santacruz. The Santa Cruz – Chembur link road which is under construction will bridge the east and west sides of Kurla. The Eastern Express Highway is the main thoroughfare for Kurla East. It runs from Sion Causeway in the south to Mulund in the North.
BEST buses ply from Kurla to all areas of Mumbai. The Kurla BEST Depot on the west suffered serious damage during the Mumbai floods of 2005 and has since been shut for redevelopment. Maharashtra State Transport buses ply from their depot at Nehru Nagar in the East to major towns in the State. Auto rickshaws and taxis are also available.
Kurla railway station is a junction of the Central Railway Suburban line and the Harbour Line.
Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, formerly known as Kurla Terminus situated in the East, handles several Central Railway Zone outstation trains everyday.