An island village neighboring 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 fisherfolk community. In the 16th and 17th century many of these villages converted to Catholicism owing to Portuguese rule. These converts were christened as East Indians and formed 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, making Bandra, the Beverly Hills of Mumbai. Home to the who’s who of Bollywood and one of the trendiest parts of town, Bandra has an almost ironic, quaint side, that instantly takes you back in time to the Bandor of yesteryear.
Our Bandra detour starts with the famous Mount Mary Church. Revered by people of all religions, the Mount Mary Church sees millions of faithfuls from myriad religious and cultural backgrounds. Believed to grant wishes, people queue up outside the church daily, to pray and offer wax models that signify the materialistic and non-materialistic wants of the devotee.
A little ahead, and you will reach the Castelle de Aguada, an Old Portuguese fort, now in ruins. Hidden in these ruins lies Bollywoodesque stories of deceit, power and Maratha Valour that led to the victory of the Maratha Peshwas over the British and the Portuguese.
As we ride past the oldest Jesuit church – St. Andrews (The only church that survived cyclones and invasions), you will find yourself transported to old Portuguese villages that are complete with big porches, wooden staircases, and ornate grills, an architectural delight. As you ride past quaint homes, you will get a window-seat view into the unique customs and traditions of the East Indians (Including their fav bottle masalas)
Finally, we will end the tour at one of the oldest railway stations in Mumbai and by that account, India. We will pepper the entire tour with history, legends, folklores and tales that makes Bandra a unique cultural hotspot. So join us as we pedal through over 350 years of history and explore a gaothan / village like none other. We assure you, you will have a great time, men!