Mention the word Bhayandar to someone in Mumbai and you’ll get all sorts of reactions. They range from ‘WTF is Bhayandar!’ to “Dude, that is a gaon. Why are we talking about it?” Now, I live in Bhayandar and I understand why the reactions are so varied and usually negative. Not a lot of people know about this suburb on the outskirts of Mumbai city.
I decided to get people acquainted with Bhayandar and the history of this place. I visited Koli Nagar, Navghar Gaon and Ghodbundar Village and interacted with the locals in these places.
Here are some interesting facts I learned:
I visited an old local Patil family that’s been living here since hundreds of years.
According to them, Navghar village is approximately 250 years old.
The name Navghar was derived because only nine homes were present in this spot at that time.
It is interesting to know that despite being such a small village Bhayandar contributed around 48 freedom fighters for the Indian Independence struggle.
The locally famous Datta Mandir in Navghar is 97 years old
Near Navghar, there is another village called Goddev.
The name Goddev was derived because horses used to come to drink water from the nearby sweet water lake.
In 1962, the first tap water facility was started.
The Koli civilization began in Bhayandar in the last years of the 16th century.
Their main occupation is fishing.
Jacob and Mallya (no, not the Vijay kind from Bangalore) are the dominant surnames here.
Christianity is the dominant religion here.
I met the Principal of Shivaji Maharaj High School, Chandrakant Tare, and he was kind enough to provide me with all of the following information:
It’s called Ghodbunder because the Portuguese used to trade horses (ghode) with the Arabs here. Bunder means Port. Ghodbunder literally means port of horses.
The Portuguese started building the fort in 1550 and finished it around 1730.
In Thane Gazette, it is mentioned that in 1673 (approx) Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj attacked the fort.
The Tehalni Buruz has proved by its structure that it was a place to store arms and ammunitions.
The local population that time was scarce i.e around 601.
The localites are mainly Koli and Aagri.