Thursday, December 31, 2015

Opera House to reopen in 2016, will return to performing arts

Image result for Opera House bombay

Royal Opera House, Mumbai
Opera house in Mumbai, India
Royal Opera House, also known as Opera House in Mumbai, is India's only surviving opera house. Situated on Charni Road, near Girgaum Chowpatti beach, the name ‘Royal’ got prefixed to ‘opera house’ as its ... Wikipedia
Opened: 1912
Function: Opera house
Architectural styles: Baroque architecture, Architecture of India
Map of royal opera house mumbai


Opera House to reopen in 2016, will return to performing arts

Mohua Das | TNN | Dec 30, 2015, 11.04 PM IST
MUMBAI: Abandoned over 20 years ago, curtains will go up on the century-old Royal Opera House in the new year. But instead of screening films that had become its mainstay with the advent of cinema, the Opera House will come alive with the performing arts as in the days of yore.
Standing like a colossus on Charni Road, its ornate facade with stone-bracketed balconies and a sculpted frieze across the pediment is already gleaming. The Maharaja of Gondal bought the Opera House in 1952. His son Jyotendra Sinhji, who currently owns it, commissioned its restoration in 2009, which is now nearing completion.
Built in 1911, it comes with a glorious history stretching all the way back to the heydays of Parsi theatre, when Jehangir Framji Karaka, a coal baron and theatre enthusiast along with Maurice Bandman, an entertainer from Kolkata, built the theatre for a sum of Rs 7.5 lakh. Conducted on the lines of its famous prototype in London, the Opera House hosted operas and live performances of the likes of Bal Gandharva, Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar. It was converted into a cinema in 1935, but theatre retained its toehold on Sunday mornings till 1991, when cash registers stopped ringing and the Opera House shut down. It was one of the biggest cultural casualties the city suffered.
"Right from the start, we were aiming for it to be a performance theatre and not a cinema hall. Today, between the two ends of the city—NCPA and Prithvi Theatre—there are really no active performance venues," said conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah, appointed to resurrect the structure. "If all goes well" its magical interiors—Minton tiles, marble statues, crystal chandeliers, gold ceiling and famous side boxes—will again draw people, said Lambah.
In a city with largely Gothic-styled structures, the Opera House is the only architectural piece with a Baroque interior, which made it a project close to Lambah's heart. "There were severe structural threats to this building. There were peepal trees growing out of it and no structural engineer wanted to take on the project. Eventually Satish Dhupelia did," said Lambah. "The steel had corroded to the extent of becoming like lace. The jack arches had to be supported, balconies tied back, side verandahs reconstructed and roof repaired," she recalled.
The Opera House was on the 2012 World Monuments Watchlist of at-risk sites but "is now safe", Lambah said. The second phase of restoration is on since 2014.
R L Divakar, manager of the Opera House since the 90s who later became its caretaker even as it fell upon bad times and started to crumble, was emotional when TOI spoke to him. "The final phase of restoration has begun. I'm eagerly waiting to see the curtains go up again. It'll be good for me, good for the city and generations to come."
Along the old proscenium stage, 500-seater auditorium and a dome embellished with paintings of a former age, the Opera House in its new avatar will include modern technology in acoustics, stagecraft, lighting and air-conditioning.
With its sights on October 16, 2016, the Opera House will raise its curtains like it had exactly 105 years ago. "But if the city wants to keep a cultural landmark alive, they will have to give it patronage," she adds. If the past is an indicator, Opera House's next bright spell may not be a distant reality.

GONDAL - Royal Family Of IndiaRoyal Family Of India
Maharajah Shri JYOTENDRASINHJI VIKRAMSINHJI Sahib, 16th Maharaja of Gondal (1969/-) (Naulakha Palace, Gondal, Gujarat, India)born 1939, educated at ...

 GONDAL - Royal Family Of IndiaRoyal Family Of India
Maharajah Shri JYOTENDRASINHJI VIKRAMSINHJI Sahib, 16th Maharaja of Gondal

Monday, December 28, 2015

several 400-year-old churches in Mumbai(Bombay)-oldest at kurla-1572

Oldest churches take pride in history at Christmastime


MUMBAI: With barely a week to go for Christmas, the oldest churches in the city and its outskirts are planning to welcome the birth of the Lord Jesus with an additional touch of pride. Some of them have a history dating back 400 years, and although the structures may have been rebuilt and renovated over time, their parishioners remain proud of their centuries-old lineage.

Prof Fleur D'Souza, head of department of history at St Xavier's College, "timelined" the churches of the archdiocese of Bombay for an exhibit at the heritage museum at St Pius Seminary in Goregaon. Her students Tanya Noronha and Divya P helped with research. Prof D'Souza said, "The dilemma then was to fix the dates for church structures, which very often were difficult to come by.

Sometimes the dates available referred to the laying of the foundation, at other times the blessing or inauguration of the church. Some of the oldest Christian communities in Goregaon, Amboli and Marol have had their churches renovated."
The earliest churches were built by missionaries 400 years ago, then during the Portuguese era and then during British rule across Mumbai, Thane and Vasai.

Over time, St John the Evangelist Marol was shifted from a location near Seepz while Amboli's St Blaise also existed 400 years ago but was renovated.

 St Andrew's Bandra has a new facade while the facade of St John the Baptist Thane has been changed more than once. Old documents show a church exists under the waters of Vehar Lake. Legend goes that its spires are visible "in times of drought".

At Christmastime, several 400-year-old churches like St Andrew's, St John the Baptist, Our Lady of Bethlehem Dongri (Bhayander) and Holy Cross Kurla, are drafting celebrations

 around the Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis. St Andrew's built in 1616Story image for St Andrew's bandra from Hindustan Times has chosen the tagline 'From Woes to Wows'. Parish priest Fr Caesar D'Mello said, "Our crib will be in the shape of a huge triangle, 30 ft in height with the family of Nazareth. On December 28, little boys and girls dressed in white will lead parishioners around community cribs."

Over in Dongri, Uttan, Our Lady of Bethlehem maintains records of all parish priests since 1613.Image

Parish priest Peter D'Cunha says they celebrated their fourth centenary in 2013. Advocate James Fernandes, an active parishioner, says, "Despite having just a couple of thousand parishioners we have given the community 16 priests and around 12 nuns who are doing God's work around the world."

St John the Baptist, the oldest church in Thane Imagewas recently restored to its former glory. Parish priest Allwyn D'Silva recalls the grand opening ceremony where clergy and laity participated in large numbers.

 Holy Cross Church, Kurla,Image result for Holy Cross Church, Kurla, was built a few years after Kurla and Bandra passed into Jesuit hands by a royal decree in January 1572.

portuguese church dadar  -NEW FASHION

t was originally built in 1596 by the Portuguese Franciscans who called it Nossa Senhora da Salvação. Wikipedia1950 photo shows original dadar church

Bombay Photo Images[ Mumbai]


Correa Church mumbai The present church is ultra-modern compared to the old Portuguese one.

Dadar, Mumbai’s first planned suburb, is in popular imagination a place where culture and politics meet. When the Salvacao Portuguese Church, also called Our Lady of Salvation Church, was renovated in 1977, it was the first-of-its-kind makeover the city had seen. Gone were the steeples, the choir loft, the ascending roof and ornate facade, to be replaced by conical domes connecting the sanctuary (altar), the nave (central aisle), the baptistery (baptismal font), and the oratory (shrine). Charles Correa, by then, was already a Padma Vibhushan awardee, and had held the position of chief architect for Navi Mumbai.

The church was originally built by Portuguese Franciscans in the late 1500s and went through three renovations as it expanded. Correa was commissioned the revamp in 1974. In an essay in his book A Place in the Shade, Correa writes of how architecture unites us, despite differences in religious beliefs. How the axis mundi (the column of the universe connecting the earth to the sky) is fundamental to the architectonic symbolism in universal places of worship. This “open to sky” motif appears in almost every Correa project. In this church, he attempts that with the conical flues, while the interconnected walkways and central courtyard become as much a congregational space as the interiors.

Correa’s other tradition-defying act was to invite MF Husain to do a fresco on glass for the central dome. It was his idea of externalising the “social aspect of religion”. Husain divided the glass into several segments for a stained-glass effect and painted the story of the five loaves and two fish, and the death and resurrection of Christ. On sunny days, it’s ethereal to see the light stream through the painting.

Correa Church mumbai, MF Husain God’s grace: The fresco on glass painted by MF Husain.

“I experienced what a space is for the first time with this building,” says Smita Dalvi, a professor at the Pillai College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai, as she recalls her days as a student architect. “A church is traditionally about the architecture of the interior spaces, and here Correa moves from the inward space to the outward form.”



There are many old churches in Mumbai (Bombay) and its suburb as it happened to be an old British Presidency. The Church of Our Lady of Salvation, popularly referred to as Portuguese Churth is in Dadar.  Called  Nossa Senhora da Salvação, this historically important church got a face-lift under the guidance of the well-known architect between 1974 and 1977.  The church was originally built in 1596 by the Portuguese Franciscans, who  landed in India to spread the gospel of Christ.

 First built in 1596, the church was rebuilt later in 1651 and 1914. When the church came up for the first time in Dadar, which was then known as lower Mahim  in the sixteenth century. The present structure  is the fourth on the original site.

Portuguese Church, Dadar. Mumbai.Nestopia

The Portuguese Franciscans carried on their work   until 1720  and later they left Mahim and Mumbai. It was in 1935, restoration and additions in the porch, etc were made to meet needs of the parish. With funds becoming available, in 1940 the presbytery was built and provision made for a new church building. Catholics accounted for  two-fifths of the parish population. As the Christian community grew in size, much larger church was built designed by Mr. Charles Correia incorporating, the  liturgical specification supplied by Bishop Simon Pimenta. The large baptistery, sacristy and the oratory are inter connected so  the covered seating and standing capacity of the church during congregation will be more than one thousand.
An important heritage feature of historical value is the cross that was built in the in the 19th century, in the late Baroque Portuguese style.  A Portuguese inscription at its base reads, Fabricada por Jacinta Barretto de Vadalla, A. D. 1885. It was installed inside the church compound,and now it is  outside the walls of the Church because a part of the church was given to the municipality for road expansion work. The graveyard is on the northwest corner of the site.
Portuguese curch, Dadar, Mumbai, India.


portuguese church-GirgaumImage result for portuguese church girgaum

St Theresa's Church (Girgaon Portuguese Church) - Mumbai
St Theresa's Church (Girgaon Portuguese Church) is a church located at OPERA HOUSE in Mumbai. St Theresa's Church (Girgaon Portuguese Church)

Girgaon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the village in Talasari taluka, see Girgaon, Palghar. ... St. Theresa's Church in Girgaon. ... One of these- Khotachi wadi is very famous for its Portuguese style wooden architecture. ... will complete its 121 years of celebration, also there is Jitekarwadi Famous for there idols made using unusual materials like soil and fiber, ...
Image result for Mahim: St. Michael
St. Michael's Church, Mumbai 
Building in Mumbai, India
St. Michael's Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Mumbai. The church is situated in Mahim, located at the intersection of L.J. Road and Mahim Causeway. Due to its location, it is also informally known as Mahim Church. Wikipedia

Bombay Photo Images[ Mumbai]: ,LIFE IN FORT AND BLOGS ON BOMBAY

MAHIM CHURCH AND MITHI RIVER (before people converted the river into a sewer)
 144-year-old church ended up with a 340-year-old bell.

Should old church bells be forgot on Christmas? - The ... › City
Dec 24, 2014 - When church bells ring across the city on Christmas Day, the past chimes in. ... Some, like the one currently installed at Girgaum's St Francis Xavier Church ... hand it over as a gift to the Portuguese Church at Dabul," explained Munshi. ... A 293-year-old bell, hung at the Naro Shankar temple in Nashik, once ...
The Portuguese were actively involved in the foundation and growth of their Roman Catholic religious orders in Bombay. They called the islands by various names, which finally took the written form Bombaim. The islands were leased to several Portuguese officers during their regime. The Portuguese Franciscans and Jesuits built several churches in the city, prominent being the St. Michael's Church at Mahim, St. John the Baptist Church at Andheri, St. Andrew's Church at Bandra, and Gloria Church at Byculla. The Portuguese also built several fortifications around the city like the Bombay Castle, Castella de Aguada (Castelo da Aguada or Bandra Fort), and Madh Fort. The British were in constant struggle with the Portuguese vying for hegemony over Bombay, as they recognized its strategic natural harbour and its natural isolation from land-attacks.
By the middle of the 17th century the growing power of the Dutch Empire forced the British to acquire a station in western India. On 11 May 1661, the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal, placed Bombay in possession of the British Empire, as part of dowry of Catherine to Charles. Even after the treaty, some villages in Bombay remained under Portuguese possession, but many were later acquired by the British.

History of Bombay under Portuguese rule (1534–1661 ...
Ruins of St. John the Baptist Church in Andheri, built by the Portuguese Jesuits in 1579. Mumbai also known as Bombay, Bombaim in Portuguese, is the financial and ... St. John the Baptist Church at Andheri, St. Andrew's Church at Bandra, and ..... Baptista, Elsie Wilhelmina (1967), The East Indians: Catholic Community of ...

 Ruins of St. John the Baptist Church in Andheri, built by the Portuguese in 1579 
St. John's Baptist Church | Haunted Stories | Andheri - YouTube
St. John's Baptist Church | Haunted ...

Mumbai: Feast of St. John the Baptist celebrated at the ruins of 500 years old church

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By Rons Bantwal
Bellevision Media Network

Mumbai, 11 May 2015: People Celebrated the Feast of St. John the Baptist in the 500 Year old ruins of Seepz Church at Seepz MIDC, Andheri East on 10 May 2015. This ancient Church has an interesting history.







Nearly 500 years ago, in the 16th century, the foremost Portuguese Missionaries are known to have arrived in the region. In the year 1579, they had created here a large church dedicated to St. John the Baptist that was opened to the public worship the same year.


However, after the village was struck by famine the big church was abandoned in 1840 and the then vicar of Kondivita transferred the church, including its baptismal font, pillars and altars to a new church at the nearby Marol village. Nature was quick to set in as dense vegetation began to cover up the church, enhancing the beauty of the structure. Christians from all over Mumbai visit the church  every year.


St. John's Baptist Church in Andheri East: Delving into the ... › Mumbai › Other
May 13, 2019 — Delving into the history of Mumbai's 440-year-old 'haunted' church ... the city, flock to the abandoned ruins to celebrate, learn and explore. ... In the year 1579, Fr. Manuel Gomes, a Jesuit, called 'the Apostle of Salsette' built the Portuguese Church at hilly ... The church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
May 11, 2015 — It was the feast of the church's patron saint St John the Baptist, and a Mass was held at the ruins of the 436-year-old Portuguese church at SEEPZ. ... Opened to the public only once a year, this church in Andheri is the only roofless ... original church at Condita was built by Jesuit priest Manuel Gomes in 1579 ...
Sep 25, 2011 — St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church ... It was built by the Portuguese in 1579 and opened to public worship in the ... After abandonment, the church fell into decay and vegetation started to take over the ruins. ... The oldest settlements in and around Andheri were those of the East ...
Mar 11, 2016 — Ruins Of St. John The Baptist Church Built By The Portuguese In ... ruined church presently located within the SEEPZ Industrial Area, in Andheri ... in 1579 and opened to public worship in the feast of John the Baptist that year.
Apr 20, 2016 — Ruins Of St. John The Baptist Church Built By The Portuguese ... The Church was built by the Portuguese Jesuits in 1579 and opened to public ... Address: St. John Baptist Church, Seepz Rd D, Seepz, Andheri East, Mumbai, ...
Built by Portuguese Jesuits in 1579 and opened to public worship on the feast ... Ruins of St. John the Baptist Church in Andheri, built by the Portuguese in 1579 ...
Ruins of St. John the Baptist Church in Andheri, built by the Portuguese in 1579. St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church presently ...
St. John the Baptist Church is an abandoned and ruined church presently located within. ... It was built by the Portuguese in 1579 and opened to public worship in the feast of ... After abandonment, the church fell into decay and vegetation started to take over the ruins. ... 1 Bandra Worli Sea Link; 2 Haji Ali Dargah; 3 Andheri.
Haunted Places in Mumbai St. John the Baptist Church is an ... It was built by the Portuguese Jesuits in ...
Jun 23, 2018 · Uploaded by Rupen Patil


Should old church bells be forgot on Christmas?

MUMBAI: When church bells ring across the city on Christmas Day, the past chimes in. In 1793, a new bell was installed at St Andrew Church in Bandra. At the time, paddy fields and `pakhadis' populated with Fonsecas and Pereiras dotted the suburb. Today , hipsters weave their way through coffee shops and car jams, and East Indian gaothans have all but vanished. But the St Andrew's bell is still plodding on. It's pealed for weddings and tolled for funerals, called the faithful to pray and marked the appointment of new vicars - like Rev J.O. Pereira in 1888 - for over 200 years.

While the world spins at a dizzying speed, this bell gently oscillates. But not all chimes are so somnolent. Some, like the one currently installed at Girgaum's St Francis Xavier ChurchImage And that's how a 144-year-old church ended up with a 340-year-old bell.

has hitch-hiked from Bassein to Fort before lodging in a sleepy Portuguese lane in Dabul, Thakurdwar. A 1918 TOI article explains that the huge bell hanging in the belfry once belonged to the church of St Joseph at Bassein, built around 1516. "The only information gleaned from the inscription is that the bell was cast in AD 1674 by one Hiram Tavarres Bocarro," explains researcher Rustomji Nusserwanji Munshi in the 1918 article. (The current bell hanging at the Dabul church has the same inscription.)

It remained at Bassein until the city was besieged by the Marathas in 1739 AD. It was then strung up at St Thomas Cathedral Image result for St Thomas Cathedralin Fort
Opened: 1718
after being sold to the British by the cash-strapped Portuguese. For 130 years, the bell marked happy occasions and sad ones -- on the order of the governor, it even tolled in 1810 for the funeral procession of a Parsi merchant.

In 1869, it was handed over to the Bombay Arsenal where it bided its time before the Portuguese Vicar-General of the North requested that it be returned. "The Governor was pleased to hand it over as a gift to the Portuguese Church at Dabul," explained Munshi.
And that's how a 144-year-old church ended up with a 340-year-old bell.

Not all bells are returned at the end of their odysseys. A 293-year-old bell, hung at the Naro Shankar temple in Nashik, once graced the belfry of Immaculate Conception Church in Borivli.ImageErected1547, again in 1912 Researcher Munshi again traces its disappearance to the Bassein siege in 1739 AD during a meeting at the Asiatic Society. "He placed before the meeting a photograph of the bell and measurements," says a 1913 TOI article. "From all he had gathered, he concluded that the huge bell, which is 2.5-ft high and 10.25ft in circumference was carried away by Naru Shankar." According to local lore, when a woman talks at a high pitch, she is called a "Naroshankarachi ghanta".

Today, the cost of a bell fluctuates from Rs 52,000 to Rs 20 lakh depending on its weight, which varies from 30kg to 1,000kg. The heavier the bell, the further its sound travels. The mix of metals (one bell maker uses 80% copper and 20% lead) also affects the price.

The high cost has many churches opting for electronic recordings. Venancio Mascarenhas, the priest in charge of maintenance at St Francis Xavier Church, had to forego a real bell when he set up a new church in Borivli. "Some churches that still have old bells can't ring them because the wooden support beams have been eaten away by white ants," he added.

Since bells have always been expensive, most are donated. The set of eight in Navy Nagar's Afghan Church were donated by a Colaba resident at a cost of Rs 8,000. But the gift may not have been totally altruistic. According to unconfirmed reports, they shortly rang at his own nuptials. Paulina, a bell that's displayed outside Colaba's Holy Name Cathedral has a more eminent donor and namesake. She was gifted to the cathedral by Pope Paul VI during the 38th International Eucharist Congress held in Mumbai in 1964.

List of parishes of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay comprises eleven Deaneries consisting of 121 member parishes spread over the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.


South Mumbai Deanery

Holy Name Cathedral

North Mumbai Deanery

Our Lady of Dolours Church, Wadala

Bandra Deanery

  • Bandra East: St.Joseph the Worker
  • Bandra West: Mount Carmel
  • Bandra West: St. Andrew
  • Bandra West: St.Anne
  • Bandra West: St.Francis of Assisi
  • Bandra West: St.Peter
  • Bandra West: St.Theresa
  • Khar: St.Vincent de Paul

Central Suburbs Deanery

Kurla Deanery

Holy Cross Church, Kurla

Andheri Deanery

  • Andheri East: Holy Family
  • Andheri East: Sacred Heart
  • Andheri West: Good Shepherd
  • Andheri West: St.Blaise
  • Jogeshwari East: Infant Jesus
  • Jogeshwari West: Christ the King
  • Marol: St.John the Evangelist
  • Marol: St.Vincent Pallotti
  • Sahar: Our Lady of Health
  • Versova: Our Lady of Health

Borivali Deanery

Altar of I.C. Church, Borivali
  • Borivli East: Christ the King
  • Borivli West: Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
  • Borivli West: St.John Bosco
  • Dahisar: St.Louis
  • Goregaon East: St.Joseph
  • Goregaon East: St.Thomas
  • Goregaon West: Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Kandivli East: Nativity of Our Lord
  • Kandivli West: Our Lady of the Assumption
  • Madh: Our Lady of the Sea
  • Malad East: St.Jude
  • Malad West: Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Malwani: St.Anthony
  • Malwani Colony: Our Lady of the Forsaken
  • Poinsur: Our Lady of Remedy

Bhayandar Deanery

  • Bhayandar East: Divine Mercy
  • Bhayandar West: Our Lady of Nazareth
  • Chowk: St.Andrew
  • Dongri: Our Lady of Bethlehem
  • Gorai: Holy Magi
  • Kashimira: St.Jerome
  • Manori: Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
  • Mira Road: St.Joseph
  • Uttan: Our Lady of the Sea
  • Uttan-Pali: Our Lady of Lourdes

Thane Deanery

Navi Mumbai Deanery

Raigad Deanery

  • Alibag: Mary of Nazareth
  • Karjat: Our Lady of Fatima
  • Khopoli: Holy Redeemer
  • Korlai: Our Lady of Mt.Carmel
  • Mahad: St.Francis Xavier
  • Roha: Sacred Heart

Bassein Fort was at the centre of Portuguese operations in the 16th and 17th centuries

Map of Bassein (c. 1539), drawn by Nuno da Cunha, Governor of Portuguese India (1528-38)


History of Vasai
After the Portuguese were defeated by the Maratha forces in 1739, all the churches and almost all the buildings from fortress were destroyed and looted by the Marathas. The bells from the

Lost at sea, burnt on Good Friday, Mumbai’s church statues tell curious tales

MUMBAI: In the run-up to Christmas, TOI explores the many myths around the city's church statues. Woven around invasions, the destruction of shrines and the city's history of religious mutability, these stories - whether true or not - give us a rare insight into Mumbai's chequered past. Water and fire dominate these tales. While two were allegedly fished out of the sea, the third one graced the altar of a church now submerged below Vihar Lake. The fourth went up in flames on Good Friday and lay neglected for many years, only to be resurrected as a prized historical artefact

The tale of two Marys:

For almost a 100 years, city historians have been struggling to untangle a knotty web of legends surrounding two Mother Mary statues in Bandra—Our Lady of the Mount and Our Lady of the Navigators. While the former graces the central altar of Mount Mary Church with a pensive expression, the latter, crafted in the 16th century's Flamboyant Gothic style, stares stoically into the distance at St Andrew. Sadly both remain tight-lipped about their past.

What we do know, however, is that a 1669 Jesuit Letter refers to a story about Kolis casting a net and fishing out Our Lady of the Navigators from the sea. "Once upon a time..." begins the tale, "the Kolis fished not a fish but a statue of the true Mother of Pearl, within which the pearl Jesus was found." Our Lady of the Navigators cradles a baby Jesus in her arms.

Our Lady of the Navigators at St Andrew

Mysteriously, similar legends are associated with Our Lady of the Mount. One tale goes that during the 1739 Maratha invasion of Salsette (island adjoining the seven islands that merged into Bombay), the chapel was destroyed and the statue thrown into the sea. Fishermen found it and ferried it to St Michael in Mahim for safekeeping. In 1761, it was returned—with much fanfare —to Mount Mary. A receipt, made out to the driver, who moved the statue back to Mount Mary, proves that it was kept at Mahim.

Skeptical of two such miraculous catches by fishermen, Bombay's 20th century Church historians spent considerable time trying to decipher which statue was originally believed to be fished out of the sea. And most agreed it was Our Lady of the Navigators in St Andrew. In his book 'Behold All Generations', Prof FH Gracias' hypothesizes that the Kolis saw Our Lady of the Mount being transported across the Mahim Creek to St Michael and their "inflammable imagination" led them to assume it was found in the water.

Gracias also explains how a story connected with one idol was transferred to another. Before Our lady of the Mount was returned from Mahim in 1761, there was no statue on the hill, he explains, "but the cult of N. S. do Monte (Our Lady of the Mount) continued, and it continued at St Andrew's, the only Christian Church which was left standing after the Maratha Invasion". This devotion, which drew large crowds of different faiths, was practiced before Our Lady of the Navigators, which soon began to be called Our Lady of the Mount. In the resulting confusion, the legend got switched.

Our Lady of the Mount at Mount Mary

A number of other interesting tales are associated with Our Lady of the Mount. In one, a swarm of bees attacked a pirate army of Muscat Arabs, who invaded Bandra around 1700 and ransacked the shrine hoping to find treasure. "Disappointed in their expectations, they intended to set fire to the church, when a huge army of angry bees attacked them so cruelly that they were forced to abandon their evil intentions," reads an extract from the Santuario Mariano by Friar Agostinho.

In another, the Christian Mother Mary is 'Matha Devi' belonging to the Hindu pantheon with blood ties to other famous city goddesses. "According to this legend," writes Gracias, "she is one of seven sisters and before her feast (on September 8 every year), she takes a boat and goes visiting her sisters, Sitladevi, Prabhadevi, Mahalaxmi, Shanthadevi, Mumbadevi and Lilavati inviting them to her feast."

Submerged history:

There's a legend that when Vihar Lake's water level drops, a church's steeple cuts through the surface. Like all myths, there's a droplet of truth behind this odd tale.

In the 1500s, the Jesuits set up a Christian community in the valley now covered by the waters of the Powai-Vihar lakes. They also established a church, which once housed a four-foot-high statue of Mother Mary with baby Jesus.

Our Lady of Amparo at St John the Evangelist Church in Marol

In the mid-1800s, according to an extract from 'The Catholic Directory of the Archdiocese of Bombay 1982', the Bombay Municipality acquired the Vihar Valley with the church in it from the vicar of Marol for a compensation of Rs. 1,944. Today, the remains of Our Lady of Amparo (Help) Church are believed to lie below the artificially-created lake—thus explaining the legend of the steeple emerging from its watery depths.

And the centuries-old statue — named Our Lady of Amparo after the submerged church—was first moved to Marol's Condita Church, and now adorns St. John the Evangelist Church. Cherubs, carrying a golden crown, hover over Our Lady of Amparo, who currently sits in a gilded altar, sporting a neon-blue sari.

Freaky Friday:

Many years ago, a fire broke out at Our Lady of Bethlehem Church in Dongri. A candle stand tipped over and within minutes, a wooden statue of Christ, hanging over the altar, was engulfed in flames. In a horrific twist, the incident took place on Good Friday, the day that Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus.

The parishioners were so traumatized by this incident that they moved the burned statue out of sight into the attic. There it would have remained if not for Fr Warner D'Souza, who decided to rummage through the loft on one of his visits to the church. He was hoping to find an artefact worthy of displaying in a Museum of Christian Art, which would soon open at Goregaon's St Pius Catholic Seminary.

Christ statue from Museum of Christian Art at St Pius in Goregaon

"It was caked in mud," recalls Fr D'Souza, "I remember dusting it off and seeing that face. It was exquisitely beautiful."

The statue, which was in three parts, was moved to the museum and painstakingly restored. Experts estimated that the striking sculpture, an example of the Indo-Portuguese style, was at least 400 years old.

"The artist wanted to create the impression that Christ had just died so his eyes are not completely closed," says Fr D'Souza about the face, which is displayed near the entrance. "Through Christ's expression, the artist was able to capture that moment of perfect peace and serenity," he adds.

When the Museum opened, this burnt exhibit became the face of the collection.  
Erangal has 4 imp. things. One is the Our Lady of the Sea Church, second is the St. Bonaventure Church, third is the peaceful village itself, fourth is the very peaceful beach. 
A walk through the village of Erangal leads to the St.Bonaventure Church, further on to the beach. The village is not a typical fertile land village which we usually associate with. Obviously here the primary work is on the sea - fishing. So no green lands and paddy kinda village. It was filled with concrete buildings and had primarily Christian population, with several Crosses everywhere. Reminded me of the Goan villages I've seen on tv & movies. It was so very typical like that with Koli fisherfolk everywhere!

The St. Bonaventure Catholic  Church was originally built in 1575 by the Portuguese.
 See some similarity between this structure and of Vasai Fort? I do! Till the Marathas invaded this place in 1739, this church was in daily worship. However after that, the church was not in daily use , and was only used for the annual festival of Baravi.
 Later on in 1976, the Parish Priest of Madh Church got this church renovated which was by the time in ruins. Soon after that the church was once again in everyday worship.

Ringed by hills & paddy fields, this quaint beach is known for its sunset views & annual festival. - Google BUILDING

 Best Beaches in Mumbai - 2020 (UPDATED List) › India › Maharashtra › Mumbai
Beaches in Mumbai - Here is the list of best beaches near Mumbai curated with ... Mary Church of Bandra and the Jain temple—besides Juhu beach itself, of course. ... A ferry-ride from Borivali or Malad will lead you into one of the most peaceful beaches. ... Uran is primarily a fishing village flanked by the sea on three sides.
Suggested reads: 55 Must Visit Places in Mumbai

Vile Parle Church

In the early 1500’s Ville Parle, locally went by the name of Velhe Padle, and known by the Portuguese as Parley. It was washed on its western shores by the Arabian sea with Jewe now Juhu sitting on a ridge between Parlem and the Arabian sea. The marshy bay touched the present S.V. Road, formerly Godhbunder road and at high tide lashed the shores just 200 meters from the villages of Bhandarwar, Sutarwar, Pond and Irla. Parlem then formed the western periphery of the plains of Salsette. Juhu at high tide was completely isolated by this large body of water right up to Versova in the north and Koliwadato the south. Just sixty to seventy years ago (I myself have seen this), it was dangerous to step out after nightfall as snakes and foxes came out. The foxes came to the village in search of hens and ducks, which were reared by practically household. There was no electricity, and the streets were feebly lit by kerosene lamps. Every evening the lamp lighter came to trim and light the lamps and every morning he put them off. So also every Saturday evening at around 4:30 pm the Dhe-vundee peet-tau-na-ra or news announcer came to the village and stationed himself at the village cross sounding loudly his brass thali to assemble the people, he then read out in Marathi all the important news and the new orders or Laws made by
It was around the latter part of the 16th century that most of the villages were converted to Christianity, those who did not convert left the village and settled in other places of Vile Parle especially towards the north east. The people whose main occupation was agriculture made Vile Parle famous for its vegetables and the farmers from all over north Salsette ans Bassein came here every year to procure vegetable seeds. During the British Days, Vile Parle was known as the Vegetable Queen of the Suburbs. In 1929, the B.B. & E.I. Railways Company started the Bazar Special train which was run every morning from Virar to Grant Road having extra time special halts at Neela (Nala Sopara), Bassein, Bhaynder, Borivili and Vile Parle to pick up vegetables for the city. The train terminated at Grant Road and the whole citywas supplied with vegetables and fruits. Prior to the introduction of the railways, good were transported to the city by bullock carts and ferry boats.
The famous vegetables grown at Vile Parle were the Cucumber, Snake Gourd, Gousalee, White Pumpkin, Brinjals or Egg plants, Bendas or Lady fingers, Drumsticks and the special Mash Melon which is rarely see today. There were also two types of Rice grown here viz: 1) Rice Coarse (Patni) mainly used for making hand breads and 2) Rice fine (Coloum)
Parlem comprised of four ancient villages viz.: Pakady, Sutarwar, Bhandarwar and Pond. In 1560, Fr. Paulo-da-Trindade, vicar of Amboli, records that these villages as mentioned above, all comprised of the Parish of Ambivili and by 1589 there were in this parish 1637 adults and 400 children.

Villages of Vile Parle:
Sutarwar & Bhandarwar

Our Lady of Health
Yari Road, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai 400 061

Fr Abel Fernandez (Parish Priest)
Fr Neil Cerejo
Deacon Elwyn Desouza



022 26301566

022 26361249


. Holy Cross Church – An Old Church

Holy Cross Church

Image Source

Holy Cross Church is an old and ancient church located near Juhu Beach. It is a small church made with beautiful and decent structures inside it, which is operated by Pillar society. Apart from marriages and name ceremonies, it serves regular services and indoor games started by HCC Sports Academy. This church is worth visiting for those looking for tourist places around Juhu Beach.


OUR LADY OF HEALTH CHURCH, VERSOVA - Proposed Grade IIB Heritage Structure – Versova came under the Portuguese rule in the medieval period. The Portuguese constructed the Our Lady of Health Church in Versova in the mid- seventeenth century, and a number of Kolis converted to Christianity during this period. A Portuguese writer in 1728 has written about Versova as- “Versova is a small village and port on the west coast of Salsette, twelve miles north of Bombay. The Christian population of 378 souls has a church dedicated to Our Lady of Health. It was built by Portuguese and its roof is somewhat ruined. It measures 120 Ft long by 26 broad and 28 high. The vicar who has a vicarage attached to the church receives Rs.15 a month from the British Government."

Image result for CHURCH IN MARVE

House of Charity in Mumbai provides family to those with disabilities

Alfred Palan, a young volunteer, helps a girl in the kitchen of the Marian House of Charity at Versova, a suburb of Mumbai, western India. (Lissy Maruthanakuzhy)

Mumbai, India — It is late evening. Noises inside the Marian House of Charity have subsided. Sr. Valencia Possa and her companions are tucking their children into bed, three in each room, after the evening meal.

"Each of them needs special attention," Possa says as she unbuckles a child from his chair to put him on the bed. When the children — all with mental and physical disabilities — are in bed, the sisters and their volunteers get ready to retire for the night, each going to separate rooms where the children sleep.

"Our children need our constant help, night and day. So we do not have separate rooms for sisters," Possa, a diminutive nun in a gray habit and white veil, told Global Sisters Report.

"We call all of them children although they are between 12 and 60. They have not grown mentally," the nun explained, sitting on a chair as three residents in their 20s crawl past her on the floor.

She is a member of the Minor Carmelites of Charity, an Italian order that manages the Marian House of Charity, hidden away among trees at the dead end of Versova, a remote suburb of Mumbai, India's commercial capital. The house has 29 residents with mental and physical disabilities, including 14 who are in wheelchairs and unable to do anything by themselves.

"We take only mentally challenged and handicapped children. Our children are abandoned by relatives who found it difficult to take care of them. We give them a home and treat them as part of our family," Possa explained.

She says many such children come to them, "but we take only limited numbers so that we can look after them well."

The sisters and volunteers never leave the residents alone, she says.

Sr. Annmaria Capiluppi, the delegate superior who also works in the house, says that their place is difficult to reach. "There is a parish nearby, but there is no proper road to come here. Visitors hire a vehicle to come, and walk miles to the bus stand when they go back."

However, people come looking for the house when they are in need. "Even if we do not take them, we give them food and other materials," Capiluppi explained.

The superior says they started the house in India in 1980 to look after those rejected by society in a quiet place. The congregation has 14 members working in India, operating two houses in Mumbai and two in Kerala, southern India. Seven of them work in the Versova house. Four postulants and two girls also stay in the house.

Capiluppi said their congregation began in Italy during World War II. Telling about their origin, the superior said the war had destroyed everything. Men were taken for war from the villages, leaving behind only women and children.

A parish priest, Fr. Mario Prandi (1910-86), was touched by the sight of starving children on the roadside in Italy and opened a house with his parishioners' help. "He realized the children also needed a mother's concrete presence," Capiluppi said.

The convent of Marian House of Charity (Lissy Maruthanakuzhy)

Young women parishioners, who helped in the house, came together to form a community of religious. Prandi guided them.

The priest and pioneer members came to India in 1980 to open the house on the campus of Our Lady of Health Church, Versova.

The parishioners of Versova volunteer to help the nuns manage the house.

"It is fun to be with them. I know exactly what they want," said Veera D'Souza, a volunteer who was introduced to the House of Charity when she was 10.

As a child, D'Souza used to come to a park near the nuns' place and made friends with a 3-year-old girl from House of Charity. Since then she has regularly visited there. "I do whatever work I can in the house, like cooking and bathing children. I am free to move about the house," the 20-year-old woman told GSR.

D'Souza spends nights in the nuns' house when her parents are away. "The children are very excited when we are in the room. Most sleep quietly within 15 minutes in bed," she added.

"The house makes the children part of a family. This is what differentiates the house from other charitable and religious institutions," the young volunteer said.

She said they serve dinner at 6 p.m. for an hour, then recite the rosary with the children.

"The rosary is led by a boy who recites the prayers from memory," D'Souza said.

The chapel at the Marian House of Charity at Versova, a suburb of Mumbai, western India (Lissy Maruthanakuzhy)

She said they first put to bed the two residents who cannot move on their own. Others move around until night prayers at 9.

She also clarified that no nun sleeps in the rooms for boys. "There is a boy with them at night. But the sisters go around checking," D'Souza explained.

Alfred Palan, another parish volunteer, finds the House of Charity "a living example of God's universal love" that provides parishioners an opportunity to practice works of mercy.

He began helping the nuns when he was 12 after receiving the sacrament of confirmation. "I just came to help and it has continued up to now," he told GSR.

He does all kinds of jobs. "I do anything here, help clean vegetables or cook. Today, I came at 6 a.m. and gave baths to all the boys," he said, wiping the face of a girl fastened to a chair.

Palan also invites his friends, including Muslims and Hindus, to the Marian house. "I tell them, 'Spend time here instead of roaming around aimlessly.' And they all come."

He recalled that he was afraid of the residents initially. "They do not speak or walk. We could not communicate. I found two tied to the windows to prevent them from roaming around."

He said the sisters taught them how to deal with the people in their care and talk to them. "Now we have become friends. We can understand their language," he added with a smile.

Palan comes around 8 a.m. and spends the entire day at the house. "I go home only in the evening. Once I get a job, I will come on weekends," he said.

The Our Lady of Health Church at Versova, a suburb of Mumbai, the parish of Marian House of Charity (Lissy Maruthanakuzhy)

Princy Fernandes, a teenage volunteer, said she comes to help after her college hours. "The parish announces if the house needs any help," she said while spoon-feeding a child in a wheelchair.

"I enjoy being with them. My parents are also happy that I come here to help," she added.

The nuns send children who can walk and do activities to Prem Nidhi ("love treasure") Special School, which is managed by the sisters on the convent campus.

Principal Femina D'Sa admits that taking care of the children with disabilities "day in and day out" is tough. "I am here to do a mission, not for fame," D'Sa, who joined the school in 2009, told GSR. "Here I am very happy. It is a learning experience as I work here."

At the school, the children are taught various skills, such as making greeting cards for feasts and other occasions, tablemats, gift bags and decorative animals. "Sometimes teachers have to give the finishing touch," D'Sa said.

The principal said the teachers have to be innovative and sensitive to the children to build up their self-esteem. "The sisters also teach them to say 'sorry' or how to greet others."

Possa said one of their children now goes to college. "She is physically challenged and was abandoned by her relatives."

Pointing to another boy fastened to a chair, the nun said, "His parents brought him here, as both were sick. They died two months later. His sister is married and comes to visit him. She is not able to look after him."

A big challenge for the nuns and their helpers is to understand the residents' needs. "Most do not speak. We know what they want from their actions," Possa explains.

"Sister, Sister," a boy calls her to his side, takes her right hand and places it on his neck.

"Yes, you have a fever." She smiles as she pretends to check his temperature. The boy is happy and calls another nun to him. "He just wants attention," Possa says as she smiles and pats his shoulder.

"Our children give joy to all those who come here. That is their gift to them," she says.

[Lissy Maruthanakuzhy is a member of the worldwide Congregation of the Daughters of St. Paul in India and a correspondent for Matters India, a news portal that focuses on religious and social issues.]

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church in Manori is Mumbai's oldest church, dating back to 1559.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church in Manori is Mumbai’s oldest church, dating back to 1559.

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour of Manori - HPIP › heritage › details
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. Manori, Mumbai Metropolitan Area (Bombay), India. Religious Architecture. According to Meersman, the Franciscans ...

Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church

Catholic church in Mumbai, Maharashtra
Address: Marve Road, Mallad West, Manori, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400095

Manori Church Altar

For Your Information:
Manori Church was built by the portuguese in 1559. This was destroyed in the Maratha Invasion and repaired in the year 1815. From 1912 Fr. Paolo Khaitan Telis of Goa used to reside here.


Madh Island gives up its prettiest secrets

“What are you doing on Sunday?”
“I’m cycling to Madh.”
“You’re going to Aksa beach?”
“No. Beyond Aksa.”
“Is there anything beyond Aksa?”
My conversation with a friend just about sums up how much we really know about Madh. Think Madh ‘island’ and all roads lead to the (in)famous Aksa beach.
I had been curious about Madh and always wondered whether it had something more than just a beach to offer. Usually accustomed to discovering and unearthing new places and roads on my motorcycle, this time I decided I needed something slower, something that would let me soak in everything, one pedal at a time.
This is what the cycling around Madh did for me. You really couldn’t imagine that something so beautiful exists within the confines of Mumbai.
MadhI decided to swap the motorbike for a bicycle on this trip.
It’s like entering a time warp -- one moment you’re in the frantic city traffic; take a turn from Malad, and the next moment you’re entered a different zone.
I slowly cycled my way up the familiar road to Aksa.
Within no time I had crossed the road that leads to Aksa and now I was on virgin territory. It’s so much fun when you’re on a bicycle. Life seems to unfold a few notches below the regular pace and you can experience everything around you on a more intimate level. You notice the trees, the birds, the animals, the people, the sights and the sounds.
The morning unfolded in sync with my pace on the bike, gradual and leisurely.
A little ahead was a gravel-filled turn to the right. I stopped, wondering whether or not I should take the turn. Then again, I was on explore mode, right? So off I went into the unknown, only to be rewarded by the lovely blue hues of the wide open sea.
I sat there, breathing in the crisp morning air and just listening to the sound of the sea.
A little ahead, the road ends at the Dana-Pani beach. Lesser known than Aksa and less crowded too. Here, tanned local boys and some outsiders were enjoying what most people enjoy on Sundays in India -- a game of cricket.
MadhSeaside cricket on Dana-Pani beach.
After watching an impromptu seaside match, it was time to turn back and join the main road.
I stopped at a wayside joint for a cup of tea, drawing some curious glances from the local folk. A few of them struck up a conversation and one of them mentioned this "really old church."
Curious, I wandered along till I reached the quant little Erangal village with a signboard that read, "15th century church of St. Bonaventure."
A 500-year-old church!
I pedalled my way into the village amidst local houses, the waves of hands, the smiles and the curious kids.
MadhOne of the many unknown beaches of Madh.
And there it was, literally on a secluded beach, resplendent and still standing proud after all these years. Although it had clearly seen better times, the old structure was impressive nonetheless.
Built way back in 1575, the church saw regular Catholic activity till 1739 when it fell under the Maratha invasion, after which it went from being a church to a cluster of abandoned ruins. It wasn’t until 1976 when the parish priest of Madh Church got the dilapidated building restored and regular church activity started all over again.
Madh500 years old, Church of St. Bonaventure.
I took in the sights and sounds, just walking about, looking at the church, at the sea and back at the church again, wondering what it must have been like to be standing here in 1575.
I snapped out of my daydream when the sun began bearing down upon me. Off I went, again, thinking I had seen all there is to see. Boy, was I wrong.
Click through for more on Gaurang's Madh adventure.
MadhDusty roads leading to the sea.
The road through Madh is really nice to cycle on. It winds, twists, turns and even climbs in parts, all amongst a coastal sprawl where the old exists with the new. Where the Kolis co-exist with the East Indian Roman Catholics.
Another chai break and I came to know of a centuries old fort. Here? In Madh? Really? This just keeps getting better and better.
The way to the fort is almost at the end of the road, near Madh jetty. A road branches off to the right, passing through a pretty, wooded area.
As I slowly cycled I got my first striking view of the fort.
Unfortunately in my excitement I hadn’t noticed the gates and the guards stationed there.
Apparently, the fort stands on naval land and to get inside, you need permission from the navy base at Marve.
I wasn’t complaining. I hadn’t expected much, leave aside a 500-year-old church and a centuries-old Portuguese fort.
MadhCenturies old Portuguese fort that was captured by the Marathas, in 1739.
I just sat there in the shade, under the watchful eyes of the guards, feeling a sense of satisfaction at my impulsive decision to cycle around Madh.
Just then one of the guards suggested I should pay a visit to the tiny 200-year-old temple just a little off the road.
MadhSmall temple in the big fields near Erangal.
Additional info: The entire stretch mentioned above is approximately 10 kilometers and can be done in around four hours depending on the number of stops.
It’s best to try and get to Marve and start biking before 7 a.m.
If you want to come in from the Andheri side there are regular ferries to Madh from Versova.
From Malad you need to get on to the Malad-Marve road and follow the road till Madh.
For breaks and refreshments: Try The Retreat (5 Star) and Erangal beach
Colaba to Marve: 41 kilometers
Dahisar to Marve: 12 kilometers
About the author: A national bronze medal in table tennis, a call center employee, a creative director, budding photographer, history buff and wanderer -- Gaurang Menon is currently wondering which part of India to explore next, on his motorcycle. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Catholic Community Church of Holy Magi ; Gorai ; Salsette built in 1810 ;  Bombay Mumbai ;..., Stock Photo, Picture And Rights Managed Image. Pic.  DPA-JSA-152698 | agefotostock


Community Church of Holy Magi ...

Holy Magi Church in Gorai, Mumbai

Portuguese history

Gorai has a large East Indian population. East Indians are Roman Catholics who were baptized by the Portuguese when they arrived here in the 16th century. Gorai has three churches. The oldest one, Reis Magos or the Three Magi, on the banks of the Vairalla Tank located on the north border of Gorai, was built by the Franciscan missionaries between 1595 & 1602.[6] The newer parish church, also named after the Three Magi, was built in 1810,[7] and is located about three-quarters of a mile to the south of the ruined, original parish church. The third is the Infant Jesus Chapel built near the ruins of the old church.
Our Lady Of the Sea Church,Uttan. - Uttan


Our Lady Of the Sea Church,Uttan.

Related image


Bombay East Indian Books

A long time ago, I had written about two books very pertinent to the East Indian community of Mumbai – Trace and the Salsette Vasai East Indian Cook Book I. Due to public demand, these books ran out of print very quickly.
This year, September saw the republication of the second part to the Late Dorothy Rodrigues’ cook book as well as Trace by the Late Teddie Rodrigues. More information on purchasing both these books can be found on the website I created under the moniker Bombay East Indian Books with help from Teddie and Dorothy’s daughter, Cassia who is married to my cousin brother.
Do visit the website to know more about this remarkable East Indian couple from Vile Parle and their contribution to documenting the East Indian way of life and cuisine.

Who are these East Indians you speak of?

General confusion over our origins is something every East Indian is intimately familiar with.
For a community with roots planted firmly in Bombay, it is difficult explaining people that we are not – as the name points out – from the East of India. We are not (well, most of us at least aren’t) descendants of the employees of the East India Company – British or otherwise.

Two ladies from Uttan wearing lugdas
The East Indians of Mumbai are essentially the native residents of Bombay (of course, it wasn’t known as Bombay back then) converted to Christianity many years ago – back when St. Bartholomew himself visited the Western coast of India (2nd Century AD).

Our Lady of the Sea Church, Uttan
It is to the Portuguese however, who came much later, that we owe much of our traditions, architectural styles, cuisine and various dialects. It was the Portuguese after all, who gathered the Christians already thriving in the area and were responsible for ensuring the continued existence of parishes and churches.
Had the British not been such a dominating influence on Indian politics and society, the East Indians would have probably continued using the moniker Portuguese Christians.

A selection of the traditional 9-yard East Indian sarees called lugda
Over the years, the East Indians have kept alive the traditions that were carried out before Roman Catholicism and Latin took over our religion and language. Coastal Konkan foods like sanna (soft rice flatbread), bombil (Bombay Duck) fry and rural Maharashtrian foods like dried mango fish curry and cucumber cake, to name a few, find their way on to our tables.
The caste system exists in our community and while it no longer holds as much power over modern East Indian society, it does help differentiate the various dialects, cultural traditions, customs and even the kind of masalas and pickles we make!

East Indian pork Indyaal (vindaloo) cooking over a slow wood fire
Marathi however, is considered the mother tongue of our people and for written communication we use the Shudh (pure) Marathi prevalent in the state of Maharashtra. The dialects however, differ from region-to-region and caste-to-caste.

Making foogyas – deep-fried balls of flour fermented with palm toddy
For instance, in Vasai (Bassein) alone, there are the Valkar, Vaadval, Kaado, Koli, Paanmaali, Maankar, etc. – each with their own dialect and with subtle but definite differences in wedding customs, cuisine and jewellery among other things.
I shall use my own people (Valkar) and my husband’s (Vaadval) as an illustration of this difference.
Differences of dialect: 
English – Where have you been?
Valkar – Kaila gelti/gelta?
Vaadval – Katey geli/gela?
{The East Indian Kolis, to mention another group, have a more lilting way of speaking and the sibilant sounds are more stressed.}
The Valkar gold jewellery is more reminiscent of delicate floral and geometric patterns, while Vaadval gold jewellery is chunkier and heavier in design and pattern.

Aanjelanchi Kaadi – a traditional headpiece made from gold foil, pearls and coral
It is taboo these days to get into details about the caste divisions, and rightly so. But just to illustrate a point, back in the days of the British, the Valkars tended to pursue clerical/office jobs while the Vaadvals were landowners and farmers – these occupational details further shaping the dialects and certain customs.

Wearing the traditional poth (long chain) made of gold and coral over a shawl and a lugda
Our homes were all built the same way though – cow dung-floors, tiled roofs, wooden beams supporting the roof, a proper hearth in the kitchen, a verandah with enough space for a wooden swing and a pit or two in the floor to pound spices. These homes are rare now and are uninhabitable, except for ones in the deepest gaothans (villages).
Today, the East Indians are just one of the many minorities living in their home state and largely forgotten by the rest of Mumbai.

The traditional morlis are still in use for slicing onion, grating coconuts and cleaning fish among other things.
But we are present in Vasai, Uttan, Gorai, Mazagaon, Mahim, Vakola, Kalina, Marol, Chakala, Bandra, Parel, Parla, in every ‘Galyan saakli sonyaachi‘ sung, in the beats of the ghumat at weddings, in piping hot, soft foogyas, in spicy pork indyaal (vindaloo) made using the East Indian Indyaal Masala, in the famous Bottle Masala, in the weave of vivid, bright lugdas and in a lot of Fernandes’, Pereiras, Mirandas, Almeidas, Sequeiras, Rebellos, Lopes’, Furtados, D’mellos, Gonsalves’ and D’souzas.
These last names may be shared by a lot of Goans and Mangaloreans as well, but look closer and you just may be able to tell an East Indian from the other Christian Indian ethnicities.
Note: While I am no scholar on East Indian lore, I have tried my best to present a legitimate summary of my community from everything I’ve learned growing up as a girl in Vasai. If there are any points you feel must be included or corrected, I invite you to email me at almeidareena at gmail dot com. I would appreciate your inputs towards presenting a more accurate picture of the East Indian community of Bombay.

EI Alert: East Indian Exhibition

Terencia Kinny, a student of architecture has been working for a while now on her Design and Research thesis on East Indians. An East Indian herself, she contacted me a couple of months back inquiring about Teddy Rodrigues book on East Indian history and culture – Trace.
The reason she was seeking the book caught my attention and I couldn’t be happier to speak about it here.
Mark out Saturday, 16 April 2011 as a day to soak in some of the best East Indian culture has to offer. The Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP) is organising the East Indian Exhibition – the first of its kind to be held in Mumbai – with the theme, ‘Amhi Mobaikar‘.
The exhibition commemorates a community regarded as one of the original occupants of the city and promises artifacts, photographs, articles, cuisine and information on the rich culture and tradition of the East Indian people.
A must-visit event for East Indians in the city curious about their roots and traditions, I strongly recommend other communities have a look-see about a culture steeped in Old Bombay and the group of islands once known as just Salsette-Bassein.
Don’t forget to bring your cameras and questions!

My grandma (second from left) with her sister and friends
East Indian Exhibition
Saturday, 16th April 2011
2:00pm to 8:00pm
Veneration Hall, Opposite Irla Church
Mobai Gaothan Panchayat
For more information, contact
Alphi D’souza, CEO and Spokesperson for MGP +91-982-008-7771
Prem Moraes, MGP Exhibition Spokesperson +91-986-736-8669
Terencia Kinny +91-992-099-7944
* The exhibition aims at creating awarenesss about East Indian culture and traditions *
* Various artefacts used by East Indians will be on display *
* Pictures will be used with descriptions on their specialty *
* Families who donate East Indian artefacts will have their family name tagged on them. These articles will then be permanently displayed at the special East Indian Exhibition space at Mobai Bhavan, Manori *

A Handy Little Wedding Cake Guide

When you book a venue for your wedding in Bombay, it tends to be a parcel of most essential wedding requirements – the decorator, caterer, sound and light, wedding car, etc. As well as for the economically worried, this service by the venue providers is excellent for those who don’t want to spend much time fretting over the nitty-gritty. There are of course options for different budgets – usually ranging from platinum to silver packages.
The caterers who are included in this contract system also provide the bridal couple with the wedding cake, and it is usually complimentary. The cake you end up with is in direct relation to the catering package you select. If you aren’t pleased with what you see, you can always opt to buy (or make) your own wedding cake.
Sample these cakes – most of them taken from the wedding albums of East Indian couples I know.

Concept - Silel, Cake artist - Lindsey (~9820293430~)

Concept - mine (flowers from Crawford Market & topper by Shawn Lewis), Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Trudy, Bombay (~+912226770649, +919833417776~)

Concept and cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept & artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai

Concept - Ashley & Aster, Cake artist - Aunty Glenny, Vasai
Aren’t they beautiful! Do send me pictures of your wedding cakes, I would love to put them up out here.
One of the limitations most cake bakers I know face when crafting a wedding cake in Bombay is the lack of decent food colouring. You get the standard red, blue, green and yellow and any daring colours can only be attempted via the mix-and-match method. Even then, the colour you end up with is a watered down shade of the one you need.
For instance, for my own wedding cake, I had an entirely different style of cake in mind and plum purple was my choice of colour for the layer of icing as it would have totally swinged our theme. I had to reverse the combination though and make do with (artificial) plum purple flowers that I plucked out of a bouquet I purchased at Crawford Market. Regardless, I was told people had a good time sticking them all in the cake while decorating it, so it turned out fun in the end *grin*
For my sister’s wedding we are better prepared and I am going to do my darndest to arm Aunty Glenny with bold food colouring like the ones I saw on Baking Pleasures.
If you would like to go the cupcake way (like the second cake from Project Wedding), there are many cupcake bakers cropping up in good old Bombay these days. A very hunger-inducing glance through some Brown Paper Bag archives led me to these lovely folks:
~ SOS Cupcakes – for whimsy cupcakes
~ Dolce – for Luxe cupcakes
~ Recipe Mobile – for cupcakes and cheesecakes
~ Cake it Away – for creative cupcakes
And then again, there are professional bakers who specialize in wedding cakes like:
~ Joyce Fernandes – +912226423613 / +912226436805 / +919820139370
~ Desireé Cake Studio – +912226454962 / +912226458998
~ Tart Cakes – they are not as dodgy as they sound (not unless you want them to) and they even make cupcakes
And if you happen to be a groom or bride who wants to go that extra mile for the aisle, try out something as novel as a cake baking class that allows you to take home the fruit of your labour. Reema Prasanna’s Bake You! not only provides you with an expert one-on-one baking session, but you also get to use her kitchen and equipment. For a couple that would like to make their wedding extra memorable (and have some time on their hands), I can’t think of a better way to do so than indulge in an activity like this!
So there you have it, my handy little guide to the best websites, spots and people to hit for a wedding cake in Mumbai and even in Vasai. Let me know if you know of any interesting ones. You could shoot me a mail at haellii at or simply comment on this post.