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The lanes of Girgaum

Girgaum, at the foot of Malabar Hill, takes its name from the Sanskrit words giri (mountain) and grama (village). One of Mumbai's oldest parts, the area is replete with urban villages — narrow streets sprinkled with temples, fire temples, churches and bazaars. What strikes one almost immediately are the curiously named by lanes along Jagannath Shakarseth Road (formerly called Girgaum Road).

Sample a few: Mangalwadi, Gaiwadi, Kandewadi and Ambewadi. The produce of the area resulted in their naming along this stretch. A wadi stands for a garden, orchard or a plantation, and several plantation estates in the early city were known for the produce generated by them such as Phanaswadi, Bhorbhat Lane, Mugbhat Lane, Jambulwadi, Kelawadi, Karelwadi, Ambewadi, Kandewadi and Nicadwadi, (named after various fruits, vegetables, pulses etc).

Gaiwadi is an exception, probably named after cowsheds that were situated in this lane. At the entrance of Gaiwadi, look out for the busts of two bulls, now aged with time and neglect. The demography of this road is interesting too. Migrants from Konkan, Kutch, Kathiawar and Gujarat have settled in Thakurdwar and along Prarthana Samaj.

The Maharashtrian Brahmins and Pathare Prabhus lived up to St Teresa’s Church. The Parsis resided near the Hormusji Wadia Agiary and near Albless Baug while the Christians lived either near Dhobi Talao or in Khotachiwadi.

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