Etymology: Tradition has it that the suburb was originally known as ‘Vandra’ as it was home of several hundred monkeys who inhabited both Pali Hill and Mt. Mary Hill. Then it was “Bandor” or "Bandora" as the Portuguese called Bandra in 1505. It was also called Bandera, Bandura, Bandore, Pandara, Bandorah, Bandara and Vandre. But finally it was officially designated as “Bandra” when the railway station signboard was painted at the end of the last century and the Bandra station and platforms were built.
The Portugese acquired Bandra, a fishing and an agrarian village in the year 1534 and it remained with them till the year 1775 when it became part of the British Empire under the Treaty of Surat. In the year 1779 it was under the rule of Marathas till the year 1802 when the Bajirao II signed the Treaty of Bassein with the British and since then it remained with them till the year 1947. The area was under the rule of the Silhara dynasty in the 12th century.
In 1661, when King Charles married Catherina of Portugal, the island of Mumbai 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.
During the rule of Portugese, the villages of Bandora and Khar were leased to Antonio Pessoa in the year 1548 for 488 pardaos 2 3/4 tangas by the Viceroy D. Joao de Castro. At some point of time the four villages of Parel, Wadala, Sion and Worli were granted to one Manuel Serrao and after him were granted to the Jesuits. Later Jesuits exchanged the Village of Bandra and Khar with Antonio Pessoa for Worli and thats how Jesuits got possession of Bandra. This must have happened between 1560s to 70s and the church of the Jesuits at Bandora was built in 1570 while the church of St. Andrew was built in 16th century in the year 1575 by Jesuits
- 1 Bandra Railways:
- 2 Bandra Fort:
- 3 Connecting Bandra and Bombay:
- 4 Bandra Slaughter House:
- 5 The Salsette Co-operative Housing Society:
- 6 St. Sebastian Homes Co-operative Society:
- 7 Bandra Municipality:
- 8 Bandra Electrification:
- 9 Golf Course:
- 10 Bandra Lake:
- 11 Supari Tank:
- 12 Bandra Crosses:
- 13 Bandra Town Planning Schemes:
- 14 Bandra Pakhadis:
12th April 1867 the B.B & C.I railway commenced the first rail service of one train a day between Virar and Colaba (called Bombay Back Bay Station). This cheap, speedy and convenient transport service resulted in a greater influx into Bandra, so that hardly six years later, the service was increased to 24 trains each way, each day. On 12 April 1867 the first railway service was inaugurated with one train per day between Virar and Colaba in south Bombay. In the year 1947 a proposal to connect Bandra and Kurla was investigated by the Railways and later in 1952 when the Oil Refineries were proposed to be installed but was discarded as it was not economically viable.
In 1600,s the Portuguese built a church in Bandra on a hillock, which came to be known as the Mount Mary Church. The Portuguese also built a road from Mahim fort to the church to facilitate the devotees to attend the ceremonies at the church. As a result of the church, this area once isolated was converted into settlement for the catholic faithful. Soon small and large, cozy and traditional villas dotted the landscape.
Bandra consisted of villages called Sherly, Malla, Rajan, Kantwadi, Waroda, Ranwar, Boran and Pali. It also included Chuim, which is now part of Khar. Bandra had 2 hills, Mount Mary Hill and Pali Hill. Residents of Bandra were people mainly by East Indians (original residents of Bombay Salsette, Bassein and Thana), a few Goans and Manglorian immigrants, Parsis, Muslims, Mahars, Europeans and Hindu Kolis. Bandra developed in late 1800 and early 1900’s. Many Co-Operative Housing Societies based on community were created by obtaining land from Bombay Improvement Trust on leases of 999 years. There is two such societies in bandra namely the St. Sebastian Co-Operative Housing Society and Salsette Catholic Co-Operative Housing Society. Majority of the population in these area are Christians. These societies are well planned and have gridiron road network, regular plots and open spaces.
Bandra fort or Castella de Agauda was constructed by the Portuguese in the year 1640, at the mouth of the estuary at Bandra, to keep watch over the Arabian Sea and the island of Mumbai. It was subsequently surrendered to the British and later occupied by the Marathas, marking the end of Portuguese domination of Salsette Island.
Connecting Bandra and Bombay:
Until about the middle of the 18th century, a few small boats plied the creek between Bandra and Mahim. As the number of commuters to the island city increased, the British instituted a regular ferry service in 1775, to transport passengers, horses and stores to the commercial centres in Bombay. In 1845, after a number of ferry boats capsized a project was launched to construct a motorable road across the tidal creek. The causeway, which was financed by Lady Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy, commenced in 1843. It was designed by Lt. Crawford and constructed by Capt. Cruickshank of the Bombay Engineers. The causeway was opened to the public in 1845. Avibai Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy wife of Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy gave one and a half lakh rupees to fund the construction of the causeway and thats why its called Lade Jamsetjee Road. The total cost of its construction was Rs 2 lakhs.
Bandra Slaughter House:
The slaughter house in Bandra was contructed in the year 1867 and was spread across 18 acres, before that it was located at Bori Bunder but was moved from there as people opposed it. Arthur Crawford the first Municipal Commissioner of Bombay undertook the exercise fo shifting the same. At Bandra it functioned till 1973 when it was finally shifted to Deonar. At the time the slaughter house was shifted there was resistance from the butchers and the general public but inspite of that it was shifted. Slaughter sheep and goats were brought from Rajasthan and Gujarat and the cows and bullocks were imported from Poona, Sholapur, Baroda, Delhi, etc. The buffaloes come from Suburbs and Extended Suburbs. The meat from the Slaughter house was transported to the Town via a train, known as the meat train, the first train would leave from Bandra at 3.30am in the morning. The train was discontinued in January 1897 in favour of the bullock cart and road system. One of the reason for this was the opposition of hindus's religious sentiment of mutton being carried in the same train as beef. Although a weird arrangement of placing three passenger vans used to be placed between the mutton and beef vans, the protests continued.
R P Masani in his book The Evolution of Local Self Government in Bombay (1929) notes that “For the transport of meat a daily meat-train service was arranged-a measure long needed but strenuously opposed to the end by the whole guild of butchers”, since it was not only necessary because of the caste and religious beliefs that mutton and beef be slaughtered separately but it was to be transported also separately.
In the year 1920 the Bombay Municipal Corporation called for a report on possibility of shifting the slaughter house to Deonar. In the year 1953 a Committee headed by R P Masani, on the question of Slaughter houses in the State gave a report and recommended that the Bandra slaughter house should be demolished and be shifted to either Deonar or Thane. Again in the year 1957 there was a move to shift the slaughter house, that time the Central Government pushed it citing it as a threat to the flights from the nearby airport. According to the Civil Aviation ministry the slaughter house was attracting vultures and other birds that were causing a threat to the flights.
A Report of the Bombay Development Committee in the year 1914 opined that the slaughter house was a "hindrance in the development...as it prevent(ed) high caste hindus from taking up suburban residences on the west side of Salsette". May up this explains the socio-spatial configuration of Bandra, which till date is dominated by Christians and Muslims.
The Salsette Co-operative Housing Society:
Salsette Catholic Co-operative Housing Society was setup in the year 1918 by FAC Rebello who at that time was the Accountant General of Bombay. The Society finally got the land in the year 1930 and undertook that is known as Kantwadi Scheme spread across 59 acres containing 220 plots. The Society was formed with the objective of acquiring for its members plots of land in the vicinity of the railway stations in Salsette for residential quarters. F. A.C. Rebello came with the idea of getting Society members to become the owners of plots in the area, and, as these plots belonged almost entirely to the members of the East Indian Community, to parcel them out amongst the members of the Community principally. The area to be acquired was 69 acres, and the acquisition of these land by private negotiations, belonging as they did to a large number of owners, was a stupendous task. Mr. Rebello, and those who worked with him, soon found out that the only way of acquiring some of the lands was to induce the owners to bring their lands into the scheme on the condition that plots of 100 sq. yds. Equivalent in area to three-fourths of their lands would be given in exchange. It was understood that they would pay all betterment charges.
One of the largest owners was the Late Mr. P. C. Gonsalves and who agreed to the idea of pooling and he also influenced the other smaller land owners. The first road constructed as part of the Scheme was the Perry Road, named after the Collector, Mr. E. W. Perry and the road give access to the lands in the Danda Government Scheme.
St. Sebastian Homes Co-operative Society:
By D. E. Pereira A.C.R.A (taken from the Archives of the East Indian Association Silver Jubilee) The St. Sebastian’s homes Co-operative Society Ltd. Was established in 1918, being registers under the Co-operative Societies Act II of 1912. It was founded by the Late Mr. F. A. C. Rebello. It was primarily intended to provide cheap housing accommodation for poor Catholic students and families of the Goan Community by having a hostel for boys going to school with a work-room, garden and playground, and also to provide building plots for members desiring to build their own houses. For this purpose a tract of land admeasuring about 40,500 sq. yds. was purchased in the first instance, 33,600 square yards, from one J. D. Mistry and about 7,000 square yards from several other owners. Immediately after these purchases, the land market rose in price and it was not possible for the Society to extend its area except with the aid of Government under the Land Acquisition Act. In 1920, the Society applied to Government for acquisition of certain area for the Society, but simultaneously Government had mooted a scheme for the development of the chapel Road area known as the Chapel Road Scheme No. VIII. Mr. F.A.C. Rebello who had taken the initiative in this matter came to know that his application for acquisition would not be successful. His next move therefore was to ask the land owners of that locality, who were chiefly East Indians, to join his Society and to bring in their lands into the Society. The Society agreed in return to grant them building plots in proportion to the land brought in by each of the land owners. The East Indian landowners found themselves in a dilemma. They, however, preferred to join the Society, rather than allow their ancestral buildings to pass out of their hands altogether, which would have been the case, had Government acquired their lands as intended. This influx rejuvenated the Society which acquired about 25 new members with an additional area of about 12.5 acres of land (60,500 sq. yds.) which is the total area owned by the society in the Chapel Road Scheme. The additional area solidifies the Society’s rights as a substantial owner and the Development department were forced to return land to the Society after deducting a quarter of the area for roads. With fresh invasion of members together with their lands, the idea of having the hostel, etc. was abandoned.
The population of Bnadra in 1941 wasa about 70,000.
The Bandra Borough Municipality was established in 1876, 12 years before the Bombay Municipal Corporation was exteblished and the municipal district included the villages of: Naupada, Khar, Pali, Varoda, Chimbai, Katvadi, Mala, Sherli Rajan, Chui, and Danda. The income of the municipality mainly came from taxes on houses, boats, and roads. In the year 1926 Bandra Municipality took over the Santa Cruz Notified Area Committee. The Bandra Municipality was merged under the Bombay Municipal Corporation in April, 1950 when the limits of BMC were extended from Mahim uptill Jogeshwari. E C Turner was one of the presidents of the Municipality on whose name is the Turner Road named after. Population of Bandra in the year 1871 was 7,227 which increased to 25,000 by the year 1911 and 70,000 by the year 1941.
By 1920s, there were planned attempts for the suburbanisation of Bombay with the objective to relieve congestion from the Bombay City and moving of people to the norther areas of the Salsette. But in this regard one of the major hindrance was the non-availability of electricity. To address this a contract was given to Killick, Nixon and Company to carry out the electrification of the suburbs starting with Bandra in the year 1927. During the initial phase the target was to provide for electrification of the street lightning and then branch out to residential supply. The Company was buying electricity from the Andhra Valley Power Supply Company which had a receiving station at Dharavi and from there it conveyed to Bandra through an underground high tension cable.
Between the Pali Hill and the sea there used to be a 9 hole golf course called Danda Green with an English style Club House on the top of the hill, surrounded by trees. Membership was only for the British who lived at Pali Hill.
Bandra Lake, also called "Bandra Talao" or "Motha Reservoir" was constructed by a rich Konkani Muslim of Navapada an adjoining village. The lake was later acquired by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and was named Swami Vivekanand Sarovar.
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 17ft 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. Bazaar Rd is only 2 km long but houses a Jain temple, Ram Mandir, Hanuman temple, Khoja mosque, Christian chapel and a Sikh gurduwara.
TATA AGIARY The Tata Agiary on Hill Rd was built by Tata in memory of his wife in 1884 The Tata Agiary was built in 1884 by Seth Nusserwanjee Ruttonjee Tata for the Parsis.
The Bandra Jama Masjid was constructed in the late ‘20s by the Bakar Kasai Jamat (butcher community). 17 Bandra Town Planning Scheme An important development in the history of Bandra seems to have been the Town Planning Scheme of 1927, which put an end to plots of small farmers and made room for housing projects and commercial establishments in the suburb, extending into Khar.
Bandra Town Planning Schemes:
An important development in the history of Bandra seems to have been the Town Planning Schemes, the first one in the year 1927, which put an end to plots of small farmers and made room for housing projects and commercial establishments in the suburb, extending into Khar.
Bandra TPS I-1916 It provided for a 70 feet road from the Bandra Causeway to the first section for of the Bandra-Ghodbunder Road(present day S V Road) that was under construction at that time.
Bandra TPS III-1927 included areas around the Patwardhan Park
Bandra TPS IV-1938...
Bombay Suburban Scheme 7 referred to the Khar Model Suburb scheme also called the Garden City Scheme which was initiated in the year 1925. The area under scheme was divided into 4 sectors- A,B,C and D and after the opening of the Khar Station in the year 1924, the plots under scheme were quite in demand. But the members of the scheme had to deal with the issue of water supply for long and also had to pay a premium of Rs 150 per connection and Rs 1 for every 1000 gallons.
Bandra TPS IX-1938
Bandra TPS X-1938
Bandra was divided into 24 villages or pakhadis, separated from one another by vast tracts of cultivated land, mango groves, coconut and palm trees and inhabited by fisherfolk and farmers. 7 Apart from the Kunbis and Kolis, the other caste groups seem to have been Bhadaris, Bhois, Dhobis, Kumbhars and Pathare Prabhus. 8 Danda, Ranwar, Chimbai, Sherly, Rajan etc continue to survive and bear a similar name. Sherly, Malla, Sherly Rajan, was formed way back duing the 18th century and the inhabitants were mostly farmers and toddy tapers. Chimbai was a fishing village
Kantwadi, Waroda, Ranwar, Boran and Pali. It also included Chuim,
RANWAR was a rice producing village and in earlier days, the area was mostly given to rice cultivation and there were also extensive vegetable gardens. In addition there were coconut groves along the shore and mango orchards inland, all owned by the Jesuits. Ranwar was a tenant village of the Jesuits until 1739 when the Portuguese evacuated Bandra and the Marathas took possession of it. In December 1774, the Marathas were ejected by the British who allowed the farmers to become proprietors of the land they cultivated.
In 1915, the Western Trunk Route of Bombay was extended from Bandra to Jogeshwari
The lava flows, including the one at Bandra coast, are composed of black fine-grained rock, termed basalt, composed of dark coloured minerals ++++++++++++++++++++++
For Further Reading:
Shells from the Sands of Bombay, D E Wacha 1920