Darryl D'Monte writes about his observations on Bandra.

Darryl D'Monte writes about his observations on Bandra.

The post was reblogged from https://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-keep-the-coast-clear-2008932 Picture credit DNA

Bandra is one of the most-prized areas of Mumbai as it is flanked by the sea and is the first suburb on the western front once you’re out of the island city. Its geography has melded with its history, which gives it a unique identity as an east-Indian Christian enclave. Bandra’s St. Andrew’s Church dates back to the 16th century, lined with the footprint of the Portuguese, who also built the iconic fort, guarding the entrance to the Mahim Bay.

Ever-vigilant citizens have succeeded in wrestling for public use of the fort precinct, which harbours a wonderful amphitheatre that can seat more than 1,200 people, as it does with the Celebrate Bandra festival, due to become an annual event starting this November. The Bandstand and Carter promenades are maintained by residents too, a unique case of public intervention in safeguarding an asset bestowed by nature.
It used to be said in the good old days, that if you throw a stone, you’ll hit a pig, a priest or a Pereira. The pigs have long gone to their heavenly abode and if you now throw a stone, you’re more than likely to hit a Khan, a Kapoor or a Khemlani.

257431-coastIt is impossible to keep track of the food joints that spring up—and close down—at the drop of a hat. From the ritzy Olive to the mundane Stomach, Bandra offers the widest range of eateries. Foodies believe that it’s become the bread basket of the metropolis, with The Baker’s Dozen, the latest oven-hot arrival.

Pali Hill once housed many, if not most, of Bollywood’s biggest stars, prompting some to rename it “Pollywood”, but soaring real estate prices have forced newer entrants of the industry to migrate elsewhere in Bandra. Still, the three Khans dominate the landscape.

The biggest threat to Bandra and its promenades comes from the state government’s bid to extend the Bandra-Versova stretch by a coastal road. This will extend about 200m off the coast and will completely destroy the vista that residents and visitors from near and far presently enjoy.

There is a plan to create an entry and access point soon after the fishing village of Chimbai is bridged, near the Jogger’s Park, which will sound the death knell for Bandra. As everyone knows, the road adjoining this park sees bumper-to-bumper traffic in the evenings and on weekends. If this link is built, the cramped roads of the suburb will be totally jammed. Mumbai’s envied precinct shouldn’t be destroyed for a minority of motorists.

As told to Tavasya Agarwal