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Malabar Hill
Malabar Hill
Location of Malabar Hill
in Mumbai and India
Coordinates 18°57′00″N 72°47′42″E / 18.95°N 72.795°E / 18.95; 72.795
Country  India
State Maharashtra
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Priyadarshini Park in Mumbai
For other uses of Malabar, see Malabar (disambiguation).

Malabar Hill , a small hillock in southern Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India is an extremely upmarket residential area, most known for the Walkeshwar Temple which houses the Banganga Tank. Situated at a height of 50 metres (approx. 165  feet), it is the highest point in South Mumbai.

Contents

Origin of the Name

The well known and prominent Keyi family of North Malabar in Kerala was founded by Chovvakkaran Moosa in the early 18th Century. He was a strong force in trade and commerce during that time having powerful links with rulers, kings and countries. He started off his business with the Portugese, the French, the British and so on. He owned a large part of Mumbai including the area currently known as Malabar Hill and many parts in Chowpatti Beach area. Even today the family has some old shops and buildings in that area. When British East India Company started creating problems for their business, they had to call truce with them in order to survive. The Keyis tried everything from funding Tipu Sultan and Pazhassi Raja (the movie just released in India even mentions that the king actually owed money to Chovvakkaran Moosa by the lead actor Mammootty in the movie) in their war with the British at the time. When everything failed they donated the entire area now known as Malabar Hill to the East India Company to maintain their trading rights in North Malabar area. Hence the name Malabar Hills for this Western India prime property. Had he known that this area would have become one of the most expensive land mass in the world, he would never have given it away!

History

Malabar Hill, Mumbai. 1850s

Malabar Hill is the location of the Walkeshwar Temple, founded by the Silhara kings. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese, but rebuilt again in 1715 by Rama Kamath, and by 1860, 10 to 20 other temples were built in the region [1].

Mountstuart Elphinstone, built the first Bungalow in Malabar Hill, while he remained the Governor of Bombay, 1819 to 1827, and following him, the place soon became a posh locality, which it remain till date [1].

Overview

Malabar Point, Bombay, 1865

The Banganga Tank, attached to the Walkeshwar Temple, is the oldest standing structure in Mumbai. Hindu mythology has it that Lord Rama, on his way to Sri Lanka to rescue his kidnapped wife, Sita, felt thirsty and stopped at the location of the Banganga Tank and shot an arrow into the ground. A water fountain erupted and Rama quenched his thirst. It is believed that the very same hole in the ground still fills the Banganga tank till today. A Jain temple dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara, and the Parsi Tower of Silence are two other religious structures in this district. Malabar Hill is the location of the parks: the Hanging Gardens of Mumbai, Kamala Nehru Park, and Priyadarshini Park, which is adjacent to the Arabian Sea.

The Malabar Hill district is arguably the most exclusive residential area in Mumbai, and is home to several business tycoons and film personalities. Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor and the bungalow "Varsha", which is the official residence of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra are located here. Houses here are amongst the most expensive in the world. An unhindered view of Back Bay, with the Girgaum Chowpatti beach in the foreground, and the Nariman Point skyline in the background is one of the reasons for the sky-real-estate prices in this district (Rs. 60,000+, or US$ 1200+ per square foot). It is also home to famous Bollywood actors.

Buses only started serving this area during WWII.

Also of note in the Malabar Hill district, there is a cremation ground that sits near the sea which is home to the samadhi shrines of several famous Indian saints. Notably among them is the samadhi shrine of the guru of Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who was Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj, as well as the samadhi shrine of his devoted disciple Shri Ranjit Maharaj. [2]

References

  1. ^ a b British Library
  2. ^ Shri Ranjit Maharaj

Coordinates: 18°57′N 72°47′E / 18.95°N 72.783°E / 18.95; 72.783

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