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The history of the names of the Mumbai local train stops!

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

                                                                                                                - St. Augustine

Western Line

Dahisar - In some local Maharashtrian dialects, Dahi means ten, and it is quite likely that the place got its name from the fact that this place was once made up of ten tiny hamlets of immigrants to Mumbai. There is also a seasonal river by the same name which flows this area.

Borivali - The present name Borivali is derived from the name "Berewlee" that the Britishers used to address this place as. 

Kandivali - (from Wikipedia) - This place was originally known as Khandolee. The station probably derived its name from the Marathi word "Khaan" meaning mine. The area around Western Express between Malad and Kandivali had numerous stone quarries and was once famous for Malad Stone. Many heritage buildings in Mumbai were constructed with Malad stone between 1860 and 1930, notable among them are David Sasson Library, Bombay House, Western Railway building at Churchgate.

Malad - The station surely gets its name from the numerous mines of Malad stone, which dotted this place in the 19th century. The Malad stone was built to construct many landmark buildings in the city like David Sasson Library, Bombay House, etc.

Jogeshwari - The name Jogeshwari comes from the historically important Jogeshwari caves which are located in the eastern part of Jogeshwari. The caves are dedicated to the Goddess Jogeshwari.



Vile Parle - This place, also referred to by the locals as Parla or (less commonly as) Parle got its name from the name of the small villages that made up this area long ago, which included Irlai (now a small locality called Irla on the western side of the railway station) and Parlai.

Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz is a Portuguese word meaning "Holy Cross". This is the name they had given to a church which the Portuguese had built on the western side of the railway station. The locality got its name from the church, though the church itself has long been destroyed by the Maratha warriors when they took control of the region from the Portuguese.

Khar Road - The station got its name from the village Khar-Danda which is on the western side of the railway station, near the sea.

Bandra - This name is commonly believed, and rightly so, to have derived from the Gujarati word of "bandar" - meaning port. Even the Hindi word of "bandargah" means port, and it is quite likely that the name, over a period of years, got its current form.


Elphinstone Road - The station is named after Lord Elphinstone, who was the governor of Mumbai from 1853 to 1860.

Lower Parel - The area got the name of Parel from the Parali Mahadev temple situated here before the Portuguese invaded the city and  destroyed the temple.

Mahalaxmi - This suburban train station gets its name from the very popular Goddess Mahalaxmi's temple located nearby.

Mumbai Central - Mumbai Central was is what most people referred to when they referred to "the Mumbai" until the train lines southwards of the station were developed. The first local train service was started from this station to Thane. Also, even today, all outstation trains to Mumbai  terminate at Mumbai Central, and journey further south, if required, has to be carried by local train or by road.

Grant Road - The station is named after Sir Robert Grant, who was the Governor of Bombay between 1835 and 1839.

Charni Road - The station derives its name from the fact that grazing lands for cattle and horses were located in the nearby areas in earlier days ("Charna" in Hindi is a verb meaning grazing!)

Marine Lines - The station Marine Lines is named after the Marine Battalion Lines, a military establishment built by the British. The battalion was later converted to an air force residence quarters, and now lies just south of Metro Adlabs, not far from the current Marine Lines station.

Churchgate - The station gets its name from Church Gate street (now Veer Nariman Road) which lines on the immediate south of the station. During the eighteenth and up to the mid 19th century, Mumbai (then Bombay) was a walled city. The city walls had three gates, and Church Gate, named after St. Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai was one of the gates. The gate was situated near the present day location of Flora Fountain. In the mid nineteenth century, the city walls were torn down to aid in the expansion program.

Central and Harbour Lines

Sion - The old Portuguese name of this suburb is Siao. The Portuguese forcefully took possession of this island in 1953 and gave the Jesuit priests the ownership of the same. The Jesuits built a Chapel on the hill near the present day railway station and named it after Mount Zion in Jerusalem, from where the suburb station gets its present day name.

Dombivali - The name Dombivali comes from its inhabitants - the Dombs - the ones who perform Hindu cremation rites at the pyre. In spite of the spooky etymology of its name, the suburb currently has majority of farmers, and the Chitpavan Brahmin community among Maharashtrians (this brings in the culture of classical music and theatre to this suburb). Being an unplanned suburb, the buildings are dangerously close to each other and many of the residents actually live in dormitories. The dormitory community actually inspired a movie called Dombivali Fast that enjoys a cult status in Marathi cinema.




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