Mumbai's Monikers: Know about the city's journey, through its heterogeneous names!
The bustling city of Mumbai, with its towering skyscrapers, vibrant culture, and diverse population, has always been a city of many names. While 'Mumbai' is the official name today, the city's historical journey is marked by a series of evocative monikers that reflect its rich heritage and ever-evolving identity.
Mumbai isn't just a city, it's a journey and a home for millions of people who are shaping its future. Over the years, it has undergone several name changes, each reflecting its unique journey through time. Let's have a look at its various monikers.
The Portuguese and French imprints
Kakamuchee & Galajunkja - The oldest recorded names of Mumbai are Kakamuchee (pronounced: kah-muchee) and Galajunkja (pronounced: gala-junk-ja). The latter translates to 'land covered by water' and was popular among the Koli fisherfolk - the natives of the coastal area.
Mombayn - Portuguese colonists (1534–1665), came into Mumbai to settle. Consequently, the city was then called 'Mombayn' for a while. During this time, Mumbai started to develop into a major port and trade center.
Bombaim, Bon Bahia, and Bombaym - The French also made their mark on Mumbai in the 17th century. 'Bombaim' and 'Bon Bahia', which mean 'Good Bay', were interchangeably used for the city back then. These names are a reminder of Mumbai's status as a port city and its appeal as a coastal town.
The British Colonisation & the Maratha Resurgence
Mombaim, Mombaym and Bambayee - Linguistic changes over time gave rise to names like 'Mombaim', 'Mombaym', and 'Bambayee'. These names represent how the city changed, along with the cultural influences that made it what it is.
Bombaiim, Bombeye and Boonbay - The city was called ‘Bombaiim’ and ‘Bombeye’, following British colonisation, in the later phase of the 1600s. These names commemorate an important period in the history of the city, which was marked by the establishment of British East India Company. This led to a significant impact on the city’s development. Another variant of the name was ‘Boonbay’.
Kshatarpuri - The name 'Kshatarpuri' is an ancient term with roots in Hindu mythology and history. It is not associated with a specific year, as it predates recorded history. 'KshatarpurI' translates to 'City of Warriors' or 'City of the Brave'. This name is mentioned in ancient texts like the Matsya Purana and is symbolic of the city's historical significance. Shivaji Maharaj, the leader of the Marathas, called Mumbai 'Kshatarpuri', which is a reference to the resurgence of the Maratha people and how they helped shape the city's history.
Bombay - Under the British colonial rule, the city came to be widely known as 'Bombay'. This name persisted for several years until it was officially changed in 1995.
Mumbai - The name 'Mumbai' was officially adopted in 1995, as a reflection of the city’s Marathi culture and the local deity, 'Mumbadevi'. The name ‘Mumbai’ continues to serve as an emblem of unity, combining the various cultures of the city and its inhabitants’ strong sense of belonging.
From Kakamuchee to Mumbai- The city has come a long way!
Mumbai's various appellations provide an interesting insight into the city's past, present, and future. These appellations reflect the city's vibrant history and the influence of various cultures.
From its beginnings as a Kakamuchee village and a Galajunkja town to its current status as a metropolis, Mumbai has continually changed and adapted, accepting its past while pushing forward into the future. It continues to be a testament to the strength, diversity, and courage of the people who inhabit it.