Lower Parel

Parel is central part of Mumbai. It is also the name of a railway station on the Mumbai suburban railway. Most of the mills in Mumbai used to be in this area till some years ago. Now, most of these mills have shut down.

History

Parel was one of the original seven islands that formed Mumbai. It belonged to the 13th century kingdom of Raja Bhimdev. The name has come from the Parali Vaijanath Mahadev temple, dedicated to Shiva.

When the Portuguese conquered Bombay, they gave the authority of this area to the Jesuit priests, who replaced the Parali Mahadev temple with a church and a convent. They remained with the Jesuits until they were confiscated by the British, when the priests sided with the Sidis during their battle with the British in 1689 and spelt the area the area as Parell. In the 1770s, William Hornby, the Governor, shifted his official residence to Parel. This area then became one of the poshest areas of the city. In 1867, tanners and dealers in dry fish were relocated in this area. By the 1870s, several cotton mills had been established in the reclaimed lands in Parel (West). Gradually, Paral became very polluted. In 1883, the Governor’s wife died of cholera in the Government House. Two years later the Governor’s Bungalow was moved to Malabar Point. During the plague epidemics of the 1890s, the old Government House was leased to the newly founded Haffkine Institute. After the plague epidemics, mills proliferated in this area. In 1915, the Parel Bridge was built with linked the Western and Central Railway stations. It became an industrial area and in addition provided space for mill workers. With the gradual decline of the mills in the late twentieth century, this space is being recycled.

Recently Parel has seen an influx of huge enterprises in the compounds of the long gone cotton mills.

Lower Parel
Next station south:
Mahalaxmi
Mumbai suburban railway : Western Railway Next station north:
Elphinstone Road
Stop Number:7 KM from starting:7.67

Mahalaxmi (railway station)

Mahalaxmi Station is a part of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. Trains starting from the Churchgate Station pass through Mahalaxmi.

The Three major landmarks in the area are the Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Ali Dargah and the racecourse.

Mahalaxmi
Next station south:
Mumbai Central
Mumbai suburban railway : Western Railway Next station north:
Lower Parel
Stop Number:6 KM from starting:5.95

Mumbai Central

Mumbai Central, previously Bombay Central is a station on the Western Railway (India) Mumbai suburban and outstation lines. It serves as the southernmost terminus in Mumbai for Western Railway outstation trains. Trains depart from here to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi. India’s premier Rajdhani trains also depart from here to Delhi. Other famous trains include the Karnavati Express and Gujarat Mail to Ahmedabad and the Golden Temple Mail to Amritsar.

Mumbai Central
Next station south:
Grant Road
Mumbai suburban railway : Western Railway Next station north:
Mahalaxmi (railway station)
Stop Number:5 KM from starting:4.48

Kamathipura

Kamathipura (also spelled Kamthipura) is Mumbai’s oldest and Asia’s largest red-light district. The area was set up by the British for their troops, which acted as their official “comfort zone”. This small region boasted the most exotic consorts. When the British left India, the Indian sex workers took over.

Excerpt from the website accompanying Andrew Levine’s documentary, ‘The day my God died’:

“I was in the middle of Kamthipura, the largest red light district in the world, and I didn’t even know it. With camera in hand, my girlfriend (who is now my wife) at my side, I was assaulted by smells and snapping away. Later I learned that every vile desire a man could dream of was for sale and child virgins were the region’s most noted delicacies.”

Today, it is said that there are so many brothels in the area, that there is no space for the sex workers to sit in. They hang around in the streets, solicit customers and then rent a free bed.

The deceased Mr. Linganna Puttal Pujari (1915-1999), who migrated to Bombay from Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh in the year 1928), a prominent social worker and city and state legislator, was largely responsible for most of the civic amenities available to the residents of Kamathipura today.