An island village neighbouring the erstwhile Mumbai Heptanesia, Bandra or Bandor as the Portuguese called it, was originally a collection of 24 villages inhabited by the Kolis or the fisherfollk community. In the 16th and 17th century many of these villages converted to Catholicism owing to the Portuguese rule. These converts were christened as East Indian by the British and form the backbone of Bandra’s cultural ethos. The years following independence, the paddy fields and vegetable plantations gave way to bungalows and apartments, of the rich and the famous which made Bandra the Beverly Hills of Mumbai. Despite the urbanisation, there still exists another Bandra made of villages which reminds of the Bandor of yesteryears.
Quite appropriately, our Bandra detour starts with the famous Mount Mary Church. Revered by people of all religions, the Mount Mary Church sees millions of faithful’s from eclectic religious and cultural backgrounds. Believed to grant wishes, people queue up outside the church daily, to pray and offer wax models that signify materialistic and non-materialistic wants of the devotee.
A little ahead, and you will reach the Castelle de Agauda, an Old Portuguese fort, now in ruins. Hidden in these ruins are stories of the Maratha Valour and the victory of the great Maratha Peshwas over the British and the Portuguese. Historical relevance aside, you will also be able to photograph the Bandra-Worli Sea link – A true insignia in modern design.
As we drive past the oldest Jesuit church – St. Andrews Church (The only church that survived cyclones and invasions), you will find yourself at Waroda Road and Pali Village which houses a handful of old Portuguese style homes. Complete with big porches, wooden staircases and ornate grills, these houses have something in it for architecture lovers too.
We end the tour by showing you the houses of famous Bollywood celebrities and the Bollywood walk of fame that is caressing a sea-facing promenade. You will get insights on Bollywood and what makes it the biggest religion in India.