Rewind to the Roots | Know the former names of THESE 7 Mumbai neighbourhoods!

Rewind to the Roots | Know the former names of THESE 7 Mumbai neighbourhoods!

Mumbai owes its identity largely to different migrant communities.

Mumbai has inspired countless songs, movies and books, and having lived here, it's not hard to see why. To the casual visitor, the city may look like a mass of untamed urban sprawl. However, Mumbai owes its identity, largely to different migrant communities that left when the British acquired the seven Bombay islands from the Portuguese. Explore this nostalgia, and let’s uncover the former names of these 7 Mumbai neighbourhoods.

Bandra was Vandre/Bandor/Bandar/Bandera

Bandra is often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’ in Mumbai. The lure of international influences and liberal attitudes has drawn droves of celebrities, models, musicians, hipsters, and expats to this multi-faceted neighborhood. One of the defining characteristics of Bandra is its pervasive Portuguese heritage and the name "Bandra" possibly originates from the Persian word for port—"bandar".

However, it is strongly suggested that "Vandre" is the original name of this former fishing village, populated by Kolis and salt farmers. It was converted to "Bandra" because the Britishers could not correctly pronounce "Vandre" - the original name.

Juhu was Juvem

Affluent beachside locality, Juhu is another of Mumbai's sought-after suburbs and is home to many Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan ('THE' Big B). Like many other parts of Mumbai, in the nineteenth century, Juhu was once an island and it was referred to as "Juvem" by the Portuguese.

Vile Parle was Vidlai Padla

Vile Parle is a residential suburb and also the name of a railway station in Mumbai. Currently, the area has a significantly strong base of Gujaratis and Marathis, however, earlier huge colonies of 'Padale' Christians thrived here. And hence, a village named "Padle" near Santacruz and "Irle" near Andheri, led to a station named — "Vidlai Padlai", which eventually culminated in Vile Parle.

Breach Candy was Burj Khadi

Breach Candy, a niche up-market residential and semi-commercial locality in South Bombay is famous for its hospital and swimming pool. But how did the place get its name? Breach Candy is believed to be a corrupt form of the Hindi-Arabic word 'Burj Khadi' (old name). Some theorists suggest that Candy is the Anglicised version of the local word Khind (narrow opening) - the one between Malabar Hill and Cumbala Hill.

Colaba was Kola-Bhat

A colourful and lively commercial street in South Mumbai, Colaba Causeway is every wanderer's dream. It is home to quirky cafes, and an array of interesting street shops that sell beautiful jewellery items, shoes, clothes, antiques and books. But, the street was earlier known as "Kola-Bhat", named by Kolis, who were the original residents of the area.

Chor Bazaar was Shor Bazaar

Chor Bazaar is a shopperholic’s lifeline in Mumbai. Translating to "thieve's market", the place got its name due to the mispronunciation of "Shor Bazaar" — The Noise Market, given it was a noisy neighbourhood. However, stolen items gradually started showing up here, making it live up to its new name. Today the market is filled with antiques, vintage lamps and instruments, old-fashioned devices and rusty belongings, adding to the beauty of the bazaar.

Chembur was Saimur/Chemula/Symulla/Sibor

Placed in central Mumbai, Chembur is an upmarket neighbourhood, home to stunning gardens, houses, the prestigious Presidential Golf Club of Mumbai and more. However, let's rewind a bit, before reclamation - when Chembur lay on the northern-western corner of Trombay Island.

It is believed that Chembur is the same place referred to as "Saimur" by Arab writers, "Sibor" in Cosmas Indicopleustes, "Chemula" in the Kanheri Cave inscription and "Symulla" by the author of Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. It is also said that the name "Chembur" is most likely derived from the word “Chimboree”, meaning "Large Crab" in Marathi.

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