Bandra is an area that is young, wild and free. Yet, is seeped in a rich history that dates back to the 16th century. Colourful homes, quaint villages, magnificent churches and a juxtaposition between the old and the new. Bandra is truly the ‘Queen of the Burbs’
An island village neighbouring the erstwhile Mumbai Heptanesia, Bandra or Bandor as the Portuguese called it, was originally a collection of 25 villages or Pakhadis inhabited by the Kolis or the fisherfolk community. In the 16th and 17th centuries, many of these villages converted to Catholicism owing to the Portuguese rule. These converts were christened as East Indians and form the backbone of Bandra’s cultural ethos. In 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 biggest actors of Bollywood and despite the urbanization, there still exists another Bandra made of villages which reminds of the Bandor of yesteryears. It’s a walk-in time, if you may.
Our Bandra detour starts with the famous Mount Mary Church. Revered by people of all religions, the Mount Mary Church sees millions of faithful devotees 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 materialistic and non-materialistic wants of the devotee.
A little ahead, you will reach the Castelle de Aguada, 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. As we walk past the oldest surviving church in Bandra – 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. 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 favourite bottle masalas)
We will pepper the entire tour with history, legends, folklore, and tales that make Bandra a unique cultural hotspot. So join us as we walk through over 350 years of history and explore a gaothan like none other. We assure you, you will have a great time, men!