Friday, September 15, 2006

Mumbai Names 3

This one comes after a long gap after I wrote Mumbai Names 1 and Mumbai Names 2. The Bombay Gazette also mentions that many of the names of places in Bombay are very naturally of Koli origin. Kolis are nature and tree worshippers and thus names of so many areas are associated with trees and vegetables. This list is still incomplete and to be continued…

Cumballa Hill: This area near Kemps Corner is named because of the huge number of ‘kamals’, i.e. lotus groves that used to grow here. Today, Cumballa Hill does not have any lotuses growing but has many skyscrapers and some old buildings inhabited by Parsis.

Dharavi: Asia’s largest slum located between Sion and Mahim gets its name as it was at the site at the doors to the island. (dar - door in Marathi)

Bhuleshwar: This very old area of South Bombay which also houses the flower market gets it name from the God-Shiva in the form of “Bhola” and thus Bhuleshwar.

Byculla: This name is supposed to be of early Hindu origin. This area used to have a lot of ‘bhaya’-'cassia fistula’ shrubs and this word was combined with ‘khala’ or level ground. Byculla is a very important train station on the Central Railway between Chinchpokli and Sandhurst Road.

Tardeo: This area near Bombay Central station derived its name from the trees of 'tad’or palms that were flourishing below the Cumballa Hill. A deity('dev') was also named and installed here and thus the name tad-dev.

Babulnath: There used to be a huge plantation of ‘Babul’ or acacia arabica in this area, which is at the foothills of Malabar Hill. The deity of the temple built later (Shiva) also took this name and is a well-visited place of worship and is located very close to Chowpatty.

Chowpatty: The name became generic for all the beaches in Bombay- Girgaum, Juhu and Dadar but it was meant for the Girgaum ‘chaupatty’ because of the probable existence of four channels of inlets of sea near Girgaum.

Wadala: This area located near Dadar T.T./Kings Circle was so named because of the banyan tree rows it that used to exist in this area. The name is a corruption of Wadali. Wad, which is the Marathi name for Banyan and Ali, which means row.

Mahim: Mahim was a desert island washed by the waters of the western sea and sparsely populated by families of Koli fishermen. According to the Bombay Gazette, King Bimbadev (A.D. 1300) the mystery King and indisputable founder of Bombay, had built a city called Mahikavati from where the name Mahi or Mahim has been derived.

Naigaum: This area (Nyaygrama) near Dadar (Central) was so named as King Bimbadev used to have a palace here where he used to have a ‘court of justice’ and a ‘hall of audience’. Nyay means justice in Marathi.

10 comments:

Patrix said...

Interesting! I was particularly interested in the origins of Mahim because it mentioned Bimba Raja (King Bimbadev). My grandfather has traced the genealogy of our family. He found a reference to our ancestors having come along with Bimba Raja after a brief stopover in Gujarat.

Incidentally our surname until it was changed more recently was Worlikar although my mom's maiden name is still Dadarkar.

Abodh said...

That's amazing. There were a lot of references to King Bimbadev in the Bombay Gazette.

What a co-incidence that both your paternal and maternal surname orgins ( Worli and Dadar) were deferred to my next Mumbai Names listing.

So you are essentially an orginal Mumbaikar. What's your surname now ? Your profile mentions that you are from Navi Mumbai so is your surname now Navi Mumbaikar ?? heh heh

Patrix said...

Sadly my great-grandfather changed it to a very generic and misleading Mhatre after the British annexed the last parcels of land we owned in Bombay.

Looking forward to your next series. If you can, compile all the posts in a Wikipedia entry.

Raccoon said...

thanks!! this was very informative!

Anonymous said...

i love you posts about mumbai!
i think its 'nyay' and not 'nai' for justice in marathi.
thanks
miko

Abodh said...

Pat:Too bad the British annexed the land you owned else there could have been a nice old house on it. Will try to compile it into a Wikipedia entry but I am quite tech. challenged

Raccoon : Thanks, hmm didn't know you were a Raccoon

Miko: Thanks for pointing out.. actually I was going to mention Nyayagram but forgot .. will add it and change it.

traintraffic said...

mmmm chinchpokli from the tamarind groves that dotted the area then...

traintraffic said...

mmmm chinchpokli from the tamarind groves that dotted the area then...

One Talent Man said...

The Bhimdev story is apocryphal. There is a place called Mahim, a village close to Panvel, which may have been the Mahim that Bhimdev founded. It is unlikely that Mahim island was founded as Mahikavati. In any case, the name Mahim comes from the 17th century Muslim Saint Baba Makhdoomia Mahimi, whose dargah is on the coast. History of Mumbai is sketchy, since what can be said of Marshland. Any history is restricted to South Mumbai.

bmmann said...

HISTORY OF MUMBAI/BOMBAY IS NOT SKETCHY AS YOU SAY.ALSO RAJA BIMBA DEV WAS A REAL KING .MAHIM WAS NAMED MAHIKAVATI AND LATER THOSE WHO STAYED IN THAT PLACE TOOK THE MAHIMI AND MAHIMKAR ETC