#MumbaiList: How Areas And Train Stations In Mumbai Got Their Name – Part 1

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Girgaum Chowpatty - View From Malabar Hill

Ever wondered why Dadar is called Dadar and how did an area come to be called Ghatkopar or Bhandup? Why is Napean Sea Road still called that and where are these Cumballa and Malabar Hills? Well, if these questions have been popping in your head, rest easy. Today’s Mumbai List will help answer some of these questions. This is a LIVE list and we will keep sharing updates with more area names soon.

Bhuleshwar Temple, Mumbai
Bhuleshwar Temple, Mumbai

Bhuleshwar: Sitting smugly in the Top 100 on Lonely Planet’s list of things to do in Mumbai, is Bhuleshwar, a popular market in Mumbai for both flowers and off late for fabrics, clothing materials and laces. Though, some people believe you can buy everything from a pin to an elephant in this thickly populated bazaar. This very old area of South Bombay got its name from Lord Shiva who is also known as “Bhola”.

Babulnath: This area close to Girgaum Chowpatty is well known for the Babulnath temple. There also used to be a massive plantation of ‘Babul’ or ‘acacia arabica’ in this area, which is at the foothills of Malabar Hill and the Lord Shiva of the temple built in the area later also came to be known as Babulnath. And that’s how the area is still called by that name.

Byculla: Byculla is an important train station on Mumbai Central Railway between Chinchpokli and Sandhurst Road and connects many areas in Mumbai. There are two stories related to how the area got its name. It is believed that a Portuguese King whose name was King Byculla was the owner of this land and hence the name Byculla. Another story states that this name is supposed to be of early Hindu origin. This area used to have a lot of ‘bhaya’ or ‘cassia fistula’ shrubs and this word was combined with the word ‘khala’ which means ‘level ground’, and hence it came to be called as Byculla.

Girgaum Chowpatty - View From Malabar Hill
Girgaum Chowpatty - View From Malabar Hill

Cumballa Hill: This area near Kemps Corner is named so because of the huge number of lotus flowers or ‘kamals’, that used to grow here. Today, Cumballa Hill does not have any more lotuses growing around, but a famous hospital and lots of sky scrapers.

Chowpatty: To most Mumbaites, Chowpatty usually means any beach in Mumbai, whether it’s Juhu, Dadar or Girgaum. But the word Chawpatty, which means four “pattys” or lanes, was originally coined for the Girgaum beach because of the likelihood of four water inlets of sea near Girgaum.

Dharavi: Thanks to films made around slum dogs from Dharavi, this slum in Mumbai is no strange name. Sandwiched between Mahim in the West ad Sion in the East, Dharavi used to be Mumbai’s largest slum, but as f 2011, there are 4 other slums in Mumbai which have become larger than Dharavi. It still remains one of the largest slums in Asia and got the name Dharavi because it is located at the site of the doors to the island of Mumbai (Daar – door in Marathi).

IMAX Adlabs at Wadala, Mumbai
IMAX Adlabs at Wadala, Mumbai

Tardeo: This area near Bombay Central station is a popular residential and commercial area in Mumbai. It gained popularity in 1999 when Mumbai’s first major shopping mall Crossroads opened here. Tardeo derived its name from the trees of ‘tad’or palm trees that used to grow below Cumballa Hill. A ‘dev’ was also installed here and thus the name tad-dev or Tardeo came to stay.

Wadala: The up and coming area of Wadala is well known for its IMAX dome theatre and now the mono rail project. But there was a time when this area was well known for the Banyan trees that grew here. It is believed that the area was actually called ‘Wadali’ because of the rows or ‘alis’ or Banyan or ‘Wad’ trees that grew here. Over time Wadali changed to Wadala as we know it today.

Find all other #MumbaiLists here.

That’s not all. We will share a more stories about how other areas in Mumbai got their name soon. Have heard another story about these areas got their names? Share it with us and we would love to hear it! You can write to us in the comments below or at [email protected].

All Images Courtesy: Wikipedia

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  • joylitas

    If there are 4 other slums larger than Dharavi in Mumbai, how does Dharavi still remain the largest slum in Asia?

    • GB

      It says ‘still remains one of the largest’ in Asia not ‘the’ largest in Asia

  • There is still no answer to “why Dadar is called Dadar” which is the first sentence of the article!