Bandra – The Queen of Suburbs – known for the home of the Rich and Famous. A place with some of the best restaurants the city has to boast and host to High Street Fashion labels, also has a traditional and a quiet side too filled with years of culture and serenity.
While mostly the glamsham of suburbs grabs your attention, this beautiful suburb also takes you on a ride through history through its many by lanes. Located in these by lanes during the early hours of the day I encountered 5 villages which have still held the architecture and memories of the years gone by. Gifted by the Portuguese to the British as a part of the seven Islands of Mumbai, this suburb has local inhabitants called the East Indians (mostly fisher folks or cultivators) and the early migrants from Mangalore and Goa who have come to call this place home.
The Villages in Bandra i visited are:
Ranwar: Located between Hill Road Bandra and Mount Carmel Road this small village boasts of houses from the Portuguese rule mostly depicting Goa. The architecture is typical of Colonial Style. You will witness wooden porches, external staircases and pointed roofs. In the modern times, Ranwar’s architecture is reshaped by street art popular with mainstream culture. Home to some of the famous Hockey players the city has produced, this village is a feast to the eyes from the concrete jungle.
Chimbai: Located off Hill Road to the right of St. Andrews Church, this quaint village is the home to the original sons of the soil (the fisherfolk of Bandra). This village has ground plus one structures with open entrances. You will come across the locals selling their fishes and home cooked snacks outside their houses. It has narrow roads shared by pedestrians, two wheeler’s and even domestic pets.
Located off the busy Pali Hill, this small village still depicts the vintage style houses with wooden doors, veranda and huge wooden windows. Formerly known for its farming community, the place is now better recognized for Pali village market and Pali village cafe.
Located at end of Ambedkar Road this village is a total contrast to the huge and luxurious homes of famous celebrities at the other end of the street. The village habitat has shrunken with many high rises taking it over. But Chuim still retains its old-world charm. You will find small time entrepreneurs operating from their houses. And their activities begin early morning.
This village is located off Carter road. The locality still houses few apartments & small bungalows. The place reflects distinct flavor of East Indian culture. You will witness green plantations around the facade as you explore. Chirping birds with chitter, chatter, chir, peep and tweet… your ride will get Tranquilized.
‘The New Will Conquer The Present With Promises Manifold,
But My Emotions Won’t Abandon The Rich Legacy Of The Old’.
Special thanks to Nicholas D’Souza, a resident of Ranwar village who agreed to co-write this blog.
Authors: Nicholas D’Souza and Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai