Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In brief about Bandra and Ranwar

Bandra was the largest village in then the South Salsette District (as island bounded by Thane, Kurla, and Bhayander).  It became a tributaryto the Portuguese in 1532. Later Bandra came under the rule of various rulers starting from King Bhadur Shah of Gujarat, moving on to become a Portuguese possession, then to the Marathas untill it came under the British from 1775 till 1947.

Bandor, Bandera, Bandura, Pandara..etc.. to finally Bandra. It has undergone as many changes as its name, in its existence as a picnic/vacation hub during the British to the busy 'Queen of Suburbs' of Mumbai as it is known today. Bandra today is one of the busiest suburbs in Mumbai with the largest Catholic population in Mumbai. It is home to some of the best Roman Catholic Churches in the world in a radius of 4 KM square. Bollywood, style, fashion, pubs, restaurants is imbibed within the Bandra culture now, and it speaks of them very proudly as it is home to some of the best of these in Mumbai.

Ranwar is one of the original 24 Pakhadis that made up Bandra since the earliest documented history in early 1700s. And it has managed to retain its village character even as present-day ‘development’ has hemmed it in on all sides. Ranwar is a listed heritage precinct that comes under the Bandra Village Precinct, under the Heritage regulations in Mumbai. The typical character of the structures in Ranwar village display a strong Portuguese influence with architectural elements such as porches, tiled pitched roofs and ornamentation such as fascia boards, balustrades, wooden fretwork panels etc.

For example: Ranwar has had a very close and active community down the years. The many organisations that were and still are active in the area are witness to that. Around 1924, well before the Bandra Gymkhana started, the Rest Ranwar was founded by a group of Ranwarites. The club produced expert badminton, tennis, cricket football and hockey and other sportspeople down the years.
It has a small pavilion for indoor activities as well as outdoor playing grounds. The annual Christmas and New Year dances at the ‘Rest’ as it was popularly known, attracted crowds from all over Bombay. Today, after being dormant for many years, the Club is being revived once again. Ranwar was also home to a literary group, called The Varsity Circle, founded by a group of men from Bandra. They conducted debates and held talks on various topics of interest and also produced a magazine. This was handwritten in classic copperplate script, and which was in great demand even outside the circle of members.
Bandra (W), suburban railway station, nodes to enter the suburb - realities today!

some houses in Ranwar, you will see them quite often here now!

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