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Archive for the ‘Mumbai History’ Category

East Indians of West Coast of India

December 16, 2020 6 comments

East Indians of West Coast of India

Dongri, Pali, Uttan Gorai and other fishing villages of north Mumbai

East Indian Christians, or simply East Indians are an ethno-religious Indian Christian community. They trace their roots to those who converted to Christianity in the 16th century when Portugal took over Bombay. They are considered as the original inhabitants of the Mumbai, Thane and Raigad area.

Clockwise from top left: Fishing boats at Dongri, Chariots at Gorai, Fishing trawler at Pali, Dried fish at Pali, Sunrise at Dongri and cyclist at Gorai

Clockwise from top left: Fishing boats at Dongri, Chariots at Gorai, Fishing trawler at Pali, Dried fish at Pali, Sunrise at Dongri and cyclist at Gorai

On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King João IV of Portugal—made Mumbai (then Bombay) part of the British Empire, as part of marriage dowry.

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Elephanta Caves, rock cut caves and amazing sculptures

October 7, 2020 13 comments

Elephanta Caves

Rock cut caves and amazing sculptures

Also see: Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island

The Elephanta Caves, an UNESCO Heritage Site is located on the Elephanta Island about 11 km north-west of Apollo Bunder Jetty located next to Gateway of India.

Entrance of Cave 1 of Elephanta Cave

Entrance of Cave 1 of Elephanta Cave

The island has been referred as Gharapuri (literally meaning village of caves) in ancient literature. The island covers an area of 1050 hectors. The island consists of two hill separated by a narrow valley. The higher of the two hills rises to a height of 173 m above sea level.

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Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island, approaching is half the fun

September 30, 2020 Leave a comment

Ferry Ride to Elephanta Island

Approaching the Elephanta Caves is half the fun

Also see: Elephanta Caves

The Elephant Island houses the Elephanta Caves, a series of rock cut caves with amazing sculptures. The island is located about 11 km north west of Apollo Bunder Jetty located next to Gateway of India.

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

Panoramic view of Apollo Bunder, with Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Hotel, from Elephanta ferry

The Elephant Caves are an UNESCO Heritage Site and attracts large number of tourists. Regular ferry service connects Mumbai to the Elephant Island at frequent intervals.

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Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, the Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of Mumbai

Also see: Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue 1

Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue

The Iconic Blue Synagogue of MumbaiThe Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue is the grandest of Mumbai Synagogues. Located at the heart of Mumbai it stands just behind the Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) statue and is one of the six synagogues of down town Mumbai (Also see: Synagogues of Downtown Mumbai).

Located at the cultural hub of Mumbai the iconic blue synagogue is surrounded by art galleries, a museum, warmly-lit cafes and street art.

The synagogue with its blue exterior would always stand out against adjacent structures. It blue colour will make it merge with the sky above.

The synagogue is no longer blue today it is painted with a sparkling shade of white with bright indigo boarders. This was a result of a restoration process which lasted almost two years.

The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue recently restored. The restoration  process was carried out by the Jindal South West (JSW) Group under the patronage of Sangita and Sajjan Jindal with the assistance of Solomon Sopher (president of Baghdadi Jewish community in Mumbai), Kala Ghoda Association and World Monument Fund.

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St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Zero Point of Mumbai

St. Thomas’ Cathedral

Zero Point of Mumbai

Churchgate Station is one of the prime entry points to Mumbai (once Bombay) and the name refers to the St. Thomas’ Church. Once the southern portion of the island city of Bombay was surrounded by a high wall and was referred to as the Fort Area.

St Thomas Cathedral 2

St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Mumbai

The wall had three gates and the one near the present day location of the Flora Fountain. Because of its proximity to the St. Thomas’ Church it came to be known as the Churchgate.

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Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai

May 27, 2020 2 comments

Magen David Synagogue

Byculla, Mumbai

Also see: Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

The history of the Jews in India dates back to the ancient times. Judaism was the probably the first foreign religion to reach India. Jews always have been a extreme minority and they have lived in peace with the local population for centuries.

Magen David Synagogue 1

Magen David Synagogue, Byculla, Mumbai

The first group of Jews arrived in the Cochin region of Kerala long before the birth of Christ and came to be known as the Cochin Jews.

Next came the Bene Israel (literally meaning the Children of Israel) Jews, who were considered as descended of the lost tribes of Israel. They arrived  more than three centuries ago and settled along the west cost of India.

At the end of the 19th century came the Baghdadi Jews, as the name suggests, are of Iraqi origin. They were a flourishing business community and settled in business centres like Calcutta (Also see: Kolkata Jews) and Bombay.

In Bombay they flourished under the leadership of David Sassoon, a prominent Baghdadi Jew, who settled in Bomaby in 1832.

The Baghdadi Jews, while retaining their Iraqi Jewish culture, also went on to establish themselves as wealthy businessmen and philanthropists in Mumbai.

Soon their business flourished and the Bagdadi Jews of Mumbai started settling in the posh Byculla area of south Mumbai.

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Gateway of India, Icon of Mumbai

May 6, 2020 4 comments

Gateway of India

Icon of Mumbai

Gateway of India is Mumbai‘s most iconic landmark. It is located at the tip of the Apollo Bunder, the gateway overlooks the Mumbai harbour, bordered by the Arabian Sea in the Colaba district.

Gateway of India 4

Gateway of India, Icon of Mumbai

The arched gateway was erected to commemorate the landing of King – Emperor George V and Queen – Empress Mary in December 1911. This was the first ever India visit by the British Monarch.

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Round the Oval, heritage building around Oval Maidan, Mumbai

April 8, 2020 3 comments

Round the Oval

Heritage building around Oval Maidan, Mumbai

Oval Maidan is a large urban open space in the heart of Mumbai. It covers an area of 22 acres (8.9 ha) and is oval in shape and hence the name Oval Maidan. It is a a recreational ground with cricket and football being the most popular sports. The ground is also used by joggers, morning and evening walkers.

Oval F

Map of Oval Maidan, Mumbai

The Oval along with Cooperage Maidan, Cross Maidan and Azad Maidan once from the Esplanade, an open area that lay beyond the ramparts of the fort. After the demolition of the fort, several streets were constructed across the Esplanade, fragmenting it into several separate patches of green.

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Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

April 1, 2020 6 comments

Synagogues of downtown Mumbai

Keneseth Eliyahoo, Shaar Harahamim, Shaare Rason, Megan David, Magen Hassidim and Tiphearth Isreal

The history of the Jews in India dates back to the ancient times. Judaism was the probably the first foreign religion to reach India. Jews always have been a extreme minority and they have lived in peace with the local population for centuries.

Collage 2

Synagogues of Mumbai. 1st Left: Magen David, 2nd Left: Keneseth Eliyahoo, 3rd Left Top: Tiphearth Israel, 3rd Left Bottom: Magen Hassidim, Right Top: Shaare Rason and Right Bottom: Shaar Harahamim

Mumbai (formerly Bombay) always had the large Jewish population and during the 1940s it reached its peak with a figure of almost 30,000. Today the Mumbai Jews number about 3,500 and the houses a total of 9 synagogues. Out of the nine, six are in the down town Mumbai area while the remaining three are in the outskirts of the city.

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