How Mumbai Railway Stations Got Their Names

These stations have some very interesting pasts

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Ever wondered why the local stations are named the way they are?

Having to use the Mumbai locals is a ceremonial displeasure for many. It’s almost an inevitable part of the daily life of a commuter. To travel to one’s work place, college or any place for that matter of fact, the Mumbai locals is the solution, except for those who choose other modes of transportation off course!(No judgments made). Those journeys can sometimes be long, monotonous and stuffy, vexing the traveler. But here are some facts to think about that’ll keep the commuters interested the next time they’ll be using the locals.

So here’s a list of few of the stations with interesting pasts:

1. Churchgate: Digging into a little bit of history reveals that Churchgate, named after St. Thomas Cathedral was one of the three gates of the city wall, which were torn down in the mid 19th century. Thus the station gets its name from the Churchgate Street, now known as Veer Nariman Point. It is considered as one the busiest stations of the present day.

2. Marine Lines: Now here’s an interesting one. The Marine Lines station was named after the Marine Battalion Lines, a military establishment built by the British. The air force residence quarters, which the battalion was later converted into, lies south of Metro Adlabs, not far from the current location of the Marine Lines station.

3. Byculla: Connecting many areas in Mumbai, Byculla is considered an important train station. It lies between Chinchpokli and Sandhurst Road. There are two versions to how this station earned its name. First story: A Portuguese king named King Byculla was the owner of the land and therefore the area was named Byculla. The second story relates that the area used to have a lot of ‘bhaya’ or cassia fistula shrubs and this word combined with the word khala which means ‘level ground’ formed the station name Byculla.

4. Charni Road: One account of the story states that the name was derived from a locality near Thane railways station called Chendni, whose residents migrated to and settled near Girgaum, thus the area being known as Chendni Road, later being known as Charni Road. A second account traces the roots to ‘Charon”, the grazing of cattle. When the British introduced grazing fee, some of the cattle owners could not afford to feed their cattle, so Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy spent Rs. 20,000 of his own money and purchased grasslands. When the railway station was constructed on the BB&CI railway there, it was called Charni Road.

5. Andheri: “Andhera” means dark in Hindi, Andheri is supposedly and ironically, derived from the name of Udaygiri hills (Bright Mountains) that houses the Mahakali Caves Complex.

6. Chinchpokli: It is commonly believed that the name is derived from two different words; chinch means tamarind and pokali means betel nut. Many trees of these tamarind and betel nuts must have grown in the area and hence it is so named.

7. Masjid: The area around this station is known as Masjid Bunder, aka Masjid station and Port. The Masjid does not mean mosque as it is commonly believed but a synagogue dating from the times of Tipu Sultan, which was known as the Juni Mashid. Thus, the name derived for the station came to be known as Masjid.

8. Mazgaon: The name was derived from Maza gaon – which means my village in Marathi and Maccha Grama, which means a fishing village. Mazgaon was one of the original seven islands that Mumbai comprised of initially.

9. Wadala: It was believed to be a deserted island. The Wadala village lay on one of the seven islands of Bombay, that were joined together to form the modern day Mumbai. The island used to be called by different names Vis Parel Matunga Dharavi etc

10. Ghatkopar: In Marathi it literally means “corner of a ghat” This busy suburb of Mumbai is located on the central lines between Vidyavihar and Vikhroli stations. If geographically studied it actually does seem like it is in the corner of a ghat or small mountains.

11. Vile Parle: The name is derived from the names of small villages that include Idlai – Padlai. The original name of the village was Veleh Padle, possible originating from a combination of the Portuguese word “Velha” and the Marathi word “Pada”, a cluster of villages. There are subtle suggestions that the biscuit factory Parle was named after this station.

12. Bandra: Originally derived from the word “Bandar” which means port in Hindi and Marathi. Bandra today has been designated as the “Queen of the suburbs”. It is an important railways station on the western line between Mahim and Khar, and has much to offer in terms of sightseeing, shopping, and gourmet dining.

13. Thane: The name Thane is said to be derived from Sthan or Sthanaka the capital of the Shilaharakings of Konkan. Thane (Thana) literally means station in Marathi the local language it was the only railways station besides Victoria Terminus.

14. Matunga: Matanga is a Sanskrit translation for elephants. It is believed that the 13th century King Bhimdeo of Mahikavati stationed his elephants here, thus earning Matunga station its name.

Honorary Mention:

15. Worli: Worli according to history was derived from the word Varli, which in Marathi means upper, concerning the northern location of the Varli Islands with regard to Bombay.

Mumbai shehar never fails to surprise its residents with its diversity in history. Every nook and corner of this magnificent, almost magical city has a story to tell, if you are looking for it hard enough. The city like a wizened storyteller keeps you entranced, filling you with wonders with each new turn. Look around and be inspired by everything this city has to offer and teach.