Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Now Open - Finally ! The Bandra-Worli Sea Link

Update : July 1, 2009 : Happened to go on the Worli Bandra Sea Link in the morning at 9:00 am. Waited for two-three minutes to get onto it from the Worli side. Drove at 50 km/hr and managed to get a glimpse of Worli Fort from close quarters and the Mumbai skyline of Shivaji Park and Mahim. Nice smooth ride.... Reached the Bandra Reclamation side within ten minutes BUT as traffic was crawling and lined up on the other side, I decided against using the Sea Link back to Worli. Thus took the regular Mahim causeway/Dargah/Cadell Road route and it was a breeze. Reached Worli in ten minutes. I am sure all those who were using the Sea Link to go to Worli must have taken 40 minutes. All this without the toll collection. Hope these are teething problems else it world be better to use the normal route in peak hours and Sea Link in non-peak.

Picture courtesy - HCC

Years ago in 2002 when they built the Love Grove flyover which is parallel to the Atria Mall (which did not exist then), I wondered what purpose it was going to serve as it just went up and down towards Worli Naka above a very non-descript T-junction leading to Worli Sea face. After seven years of its construction, the construction of this bridge might seem justified due to the opening of the Worli-Bandra Sea Link today inaugurated at the hands of Sonia Gandhi.

After many years of delay and escalation of costs by hundred crores of rupees, I hope India's first Sea Link will ease Mumbai traffic woes. Touted as the third corridor from Worli to Bandra , an alternative to using Tulsi Pipe Road and Cadell/L.J.Road , it remains to be seen if it will not cause problems at the two ends of Worli and Bandra. See this report. The bridge will also consume 1000 kW of power on a daily basis.

The opening of the bridge will throw up many questions which only time will answer like … Will the regular traffic on Cadell Road and L J Road go down?, Will traffic through Bandra Reclamation and Bandra Junction go up?, Will the traffic on Pochkhanawala Road and the Worli Circle where the South Bound traffic to Worli will have to U-turn go up?, Will Haji Ali be clogged more than it already is?, Will the Sea Link be a blessing in disguise and all of the above won’t happen?

I am not an everyday commuter from South Mumbai to Bandra but at Rs 50 for a single trip and Rs 75 for a round trip , I wonder if car owners who travel to and fro everyday will prefer using this bridge. A monthly pass is available for Rs 2500 and multiple entries on the same day are allowed for Rs 125. A Bus/Truck will be charged Rs 100 and a mini-bus Rs 75. Bus tickets will be price one rupee more than the normal fare.

The distance will reduce from 8 kms to 5.6 kms and they say that instead of forty minutes you can travel the distance in ten minutes. If you calculate @ 50 kms per hour(speed limit), it should take you just 6.72 minutes on the bridge plus the extra time coming onto Worli Sea Face to Love Grove junction.

Last year when I was on Worli Sea Face, HCC had put up these boards marketing various aspects of the bridge including that the height of the cable–stay tower is equal to a forty storied building. You will be able to see the tower from any high rise. In fact I could see it from top of the Elephanta Caves hill. I also had a closer view of the bridge one Saturday this month when we were vaccinating dogs against rabies on a hilly slum between Mount Mary and Bandra Reclamation.

Here is an official blog that takes you through the long journey of the construction of the bridge. An You tube link here takes you through the technicalities of the engineering aspect of the bridge and a virtual tour which is posted much before the completion. Another one from Discovery Channel is here.

The bridge would definitely have everyone including me taking a ride, it being a tourist attraction of sorts. Unconfirmed reports say that it will be free for the first five days.(July 1 to 5) The BEST is also going to have an open-bus joy ride going up and down the bridge starting from Bandra-Kurla and going upto Worli. But after the tourist attraction wears off the 1634 crores had better translate into savings of time and fuel for this city.

Mumbai Names 4

Another long gap and I am continuing my series on Mumbai names. The history behind the origin of the names of various Mumbai localites. Check out my earlier posts on Mumbai Names 1 , Mumbai Names 2 and Mumbai Names 3.

Antop Hill

In S.T. Sheppard’s book on Bombay place and street names, Rao Bahadur P B Joshi, a city historian says that Antop Hill derived the name from the name of the Hindu or Portuguese owner or proprietor of this hill. It may have been Antoine or Antoba. Thus the hill was Antob’s hill and must have been corrupted to Antop Hill. The Hill was surrounded by salt pans and currently a locality with a lot of construction of building complexes.


This is a corruption of an old name of this locality in Girgaum. Umbar in Marathi is the name for the fig tree and Ali is a lane, so the original area was called Umbrali/Umbarali. It is said that as Ambra in the Sanskrit word for mango, the natives might have changed it to Ambrali or Ambroli. Today, the only relevance to this name is found in Ambroli Church at the corner of Wilson Street near C.P. Tank.


Bhoi’s were one of the recognized castes in Raja Bhimdev’s (A.D. 1300)kingdom. They were palanquin bearers and thus the legacy of their name has been left behind in the locality in which they made their home. Bhoiwada is located in Dadar (East), nearer to Parel.


A lane near my house, knowing what it means in Marathi, I always thought that this lane was named in recent times. But just like today even 100 years ago this lane used to be filled with ‘chikhal’ which is ‘mud’ in Marathi during any heavy rainfall. This was because the storm water drainage here was defective. Chikhalwadi is now called Tukaram Javji Marg and is the lane adjacent to Bhatia hospital and joins Sleater road near Grant Road railway station.

Chira Bazaar

I always wondered why this locality was called Chira Bazaar. S.T. Sheppard enlightened me. Chira in Marathi means flat stones or flagstones (Remember Wada Chirebandi). Thus this area was paved with flat slabs of these stones and was thus called Chira Bazaar. Chira Bazaar is located near Thakurdwar and is populated by jewellery stores.


Dongar in Marathi is hill. Unfortunately, the hill did not survive but the name did. Also mentioned as Dungaree or Dungrey in 17th century English writing, Dongri had a fort which was blown up in 1769 to make way for the new Fort St George. The hill too was leveled as it was considered a menace to the Fort of Bombay in the hands of the enemy. Dongri is located near Umarkhadi.

Kala Chowki

The name came about because of the Police Chowki which is situated at the east end of the road. As this Chowki (Police stations) was dammered (black tar put on it) from the outside, it looked black and thus was called Kala Chowki. This police station still stands in the same place. Kala Chowki is very near Cotton Green station on the harbour line.


This area was named after Madan or Madovo, a well known Mohammedan from Allahabad who settled here for two generations and owned land. Madan was of the ‘julhar’ or the weaver caste and was a weaver by profession. Madanpura is located near Agripada.


This is a generic name for the door of an idol or here a temple. Thakur – Dwar (door) The Thakurdwar temple here is dedicated to Rama and was built before 1836. Thakurdwar is located near Charni Road station.

Nikadwari Lane

This lane is called Nikadwari lane as in the olden days was lined with plants of Nirgundi or Nikadwari (botanical name: vitex negundo) These plants are used for fumigation. This lane is in Girgaum off Khadilkar Road.

Cheetah Camp

This was told to me by my friend CSM-Fanaa who found it out from James who lives in Cheetah Camp near Trombay. No, there were no cheetahs living here but this area are must have been named due to the many crematoriums that existed and still exist in this area. Chitah means pyre in Marathi. It used to be a marshy land before and the people who occupied Cheetah Camp were oustees from the BARC area which was cleared to accommodate BARC personnel.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mumbai World Environment Day Celebration

A mail received from WSD volunteer and friend Swati. Please be there in droves to show your support towards the environment if you don't want photos like this one to remain only on picture post cards.

June 5th is World Environment Day and the Indian Youth Climate Network and Sanctuary Asia are joining hands to organise a demonstration on Marine Drive on Friday, 5th June from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Our vision is to symbolise the effect climate change will have on various aspects of our life, from our food and water security to our health and our city through the use of art installations made from recycled materials. The purpose of the event is to spread awareness in a fun, lighthearted manner and also to pressurise our government to actively push for effective climate policies at the upcoming COP 15 (Conference of Parties) at Coppenhagen in December this year.
We will be meeting opposite Jazz by the Bay by 5:00 p.m.

Stand up for right to a secure future. Join us on the 5th to make this event a success and show our government that we want a clean, green and vibrant future.

Swati Hingorani

E: swatihingorani@gmail.com, swati.hingorani@iycn.in
M: 9820107204