Ee hai Bambai nagariya … A chota history of Bombay

Here are some interesting trivia about Amchi Bombay:

Bombay probably derives its name from Bambaim which in turn comes from Bam Bahaiya (Portugese term meaning litte bay or good bay). The name Mumbai comes from the Mumbadevi temple at Buleshwar. Some of the inscriptions on the walls of this temple are in old Kannada, by the way.

Churchgate gets its name from Church Gate street (now Veer Nariman Road). Up to the mid 19th century, Bombay was a walled city. The city walls had three gates, and Church Gate, named after St. Thomas Cathedral was one of the gates. The gate was located near the present day Flora Fountain.

The name Andheri comes from Udayanagari, a hill near Mahakali caves.

Pydhonie (Paai dhonie = foot wash) gets its name from a small creek or pond in the old Mazgaon area, in which people would wash their feet.

Breach Candy is named after the Great Breach, a creek that once separated the islands of Worli and Mumbai.

Dadar TT stands for Tram Terminus, now known as Khodadad Circle. In the old days, the trams would terminate here, turn around and head back, hence the circle you see there today.

BB VT stands for Boribunder. That’s because, before VT station came up there, that locality was a warehouse where boris (sacks of goods) were stored.

Matunga’s name comes from Matanga (Sanskrit for elephant). Raja Bhimdev, king of Mahim in the 13th century, kept his war elephants in that area, hence the name.

Sion, originally known as Sheev or boundary, in Marathi, is named after Mount Zion, in Jerusalem. In 1543, the Portuguese took possession of the islands of Bombay by force. The Portuguese gave a group of Jesuit priests the sole ownership of Sheev and the area around it. The Jesuits built a chapel on the Sheev hill (near the present-day railway station) and named it after Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

Parel gets its name from the Parali Mahadev temple.

The name Chembur is derived from the word “Chimboree” which means “Large Crab” in Marathi.  Chembur, believe it, has actually been known since antiquity. It was known as Saimur by the Arabs (915-1137), as Sibor by the Greeks (AD 535), as Symulla or Timulla by the Egyptians (Ptolemy, AD150), and perhaps as Perimula of Pliny (A.D. 77). Now it is known as the Gas Chamber of Mumbai.

Sandhurst Road station is named after Lord Sandhurst, former Governor of Bombay, but we all know how the local Bombaywallahs pronounce this station’s name!

And …  Vada pav was invented outside Dadar Station in 1971, by a snack vendor called Ashok Vaidya. The word ‘pav’ comes the Portugese ‘Pao’, meaning bread. You see, the technology to make Bombay’s typical pav was brought in by the Portugese in 1498.

Bombay – there’s no other city in the world like it, eh?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s