Let’s take a step back in time to the days of yorn when what we know now as the grand city of Mumbai, was originally a set of 7 islands; each with its own unique tales.
Amongst these islands, the island of Salsette was by far the most nondescript. Inhabited by the indigenous Koli fishing communities, Salsette was a far cry from the present-day cultural melting pot Bandra. Though what continues to intrigue both natives and non-natives is the continued community endeavor to maintain the delicate cultural balance which exists in the suburb today . Many put this down to the perpetual Western influence from the Portuguese Jesuit priests given sole ownership of Bandra, Sion, and Wadala in the 16th century. For the duration of the walk, we will take you on a mission to discover the hidden heritage treasures which the Western and native forefathers left behind.
In 1534, the island of Salsette of which Bandra was a part, came under the Portuguese rule. Brother Manual Gomes, a Portuguese missionary, also known as the apostle of Salsette, arrived soon after. In subsequent years, he managed to convert several locals, also laying the foundation of about 8 churches in the area.
Bandra Walk is often referred to as the “Queen of the Suburbs” in Mumbai. The lure of international influences and liberal attitudes has drawn droves of celebrities, models, musicians, hipsters, and ex-pats to this multi-faceted neighborhood. In turn, a steady stream of stylish new restaurants, bars, and boutiques has opened to cater to their cosmopolitan lifestyle. Bandra West incorporates both the neighborhood’s history and current trends. An ideal walking tour for those who want to Explore Bandra’s Portuguese past – from forts and churches to Indo-Portuguese Catholic villages – along with glimpses of history from other periods as well.
- St.Andrews Church – St. Andrew’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai. It was originally built by Portuguese Jesuits in 1575. It stands on the seashore of the Bandra suburb of Mumbai and was the only church there till the first quarter of the 17th century.
- The Historic Villages – The Bandra of yesteryear was a tiny fishing village inhabited by Kolis (fishermen) and farmers. It was acquired by the British East India Company while the rest of Bombay belonged to the Portuguese.
- Ranwar Village – Ranwar is the original of the 24 pakhadis, or villages, that made up Bandra. When the Britishers took Bombay away from the Portuguese in 1661, they did not obtain control immediately.
- Chimbai – Unlike its fortunate brother Ranwar, this village is a far cry from the development or the artsy scene Bandra is famous for. Although it is in the vicinity of Bandstand with its posh bungalows and high-rise buildings, this village is unkempt and uncared for. The few original inhabitants of Bandra or Mumbai in general, the Koli community (Chimbaikars) can be still found here.
- Trace Bandra’s Heritage – One of the defining characteristics of Bandra West is its pervasive Portuguese heritage. Bandra was settled by the Portuguese in 1534 when it was a simple fishing village, and it remained part of their territory even after the Bombay Islands were transferred to the British in 1661. During their occupation of the area, the Portuguese built many churches and converted thousands of locals to Catholicism.
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount – The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, Mumbai The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary
- Visit Bandra Fort and Bandstand – Tucked away on the tip of Bandra West are the remains of a 17th-century fort that was built by the Portuguese as a watchtower. It was strategically located to look out over Mahim Bay but now provides an excellent vantage point for viewing the landmark Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge.
- Tour cost for INR 1000/- Per Person with a Guide who is born up and rises up in Bandra. you will definitely enjoy this experience.
- Meeting point: We will meet at St.Andrews Church and end the tour at Land’s End.
- Batches: morning 9:00am & Afternoon 4:00 pm
- Duration: 2.5 Hours Walking
- group size: up to 6 ppl