Mumbai – Ancient yet modern, fabulously rich yet achingly poor.
The Culture and population of Mumbai is diverse. At present the population of Mumbai is around 1.19 crore and the density of population in the city is around 48,000 persons per square kilometers which means Mumbai is world’s densest city. A survey conducted of Mumbai’s population suggests that more than 50% of the city’s total population is of non Maharashtra identity . throughout India nowhere one can see such varied and diverse population . Among the major groups that has made Mumbai their home away from home, are the Gujratis,the south Indians, the Parsis and Sindhis and large number of people from the states of UttarPradesh and Bihar that are scattered all over the city it is also worthy to note that almost half of the total population dwells in the slums. However per capita—New income is Rs.65,328/- against national Avg. of Rs.29,328/- Mumbai is called “Financial Capital” of India
Culture : Mumbai is regarded as one of the most liberal and cosmopolitan cities of India. The residents of Mumbai are called as Mumbaikars.Life in Mumbai is very fast paced. The city embraces many concepts that are a taboo in many other prominent India cities. Undoubtedly the city can be stated as a ‘Melting Pot ’of numerous cultures from different parts of India as people migrated to this mega city brought their own culture and we see this in the larger contest in the form of temples Churches,Mosques, Gurudwaras. Fire Temples,Festivals, Music and Dance act. Among them is the local ‘Vaishnavites Culture’ which is standing since 1927 in the form of Sri Balaji Temple at Fanaswadi in the suburb called Girgaum in South Mumbai.
It will be very interesting to know the brief History of Mumbai which has been so many Historic happenings and carry some important landmarks also, of which many peoples still do not know. The city of Bombay originally consisted of seven islands, namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Women’s Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion . This group of islands, which have since been joined together by a series of reclamations, formed part of the kingdom of Ashoka, the famous Emperor of India. After his death, these islands passed into the hands of various Hindu rulers until 1343. In that year, the Mohammedans of Gujrat took possession and the kings of that province of India ruled for the next two centuries. The only vestige (mark) of their dominion over these islands that remains today is the mosque at Mahim. In 1534 the Portuguese, who already possessed many important trading centers on the western coast, such as panjim, Daman, and Diu, took Mumbai by force of arms from the Mohammedans. This led to the establishment of numerous churches which were constructed in areas where the majority of people were Roman Catholics. There used to be two areas in Mumbai called “Portuguese Church”. However, only one church with Portuguese-style facade still remains” it is the St.Andrew’s church at Bandra. The Portuguese’s also fortified their possession by building forts at sion, Mahim, Bandra and Bassien which , although is disrepair , can still be seen. They named their new possession as “Bom Baia” which in Portuguese means “Good Bay” 128 years later the islands were given to the English King Charles 2 in dowry on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In the year 1668 the islands were acquired by the English East India Company on lease from the crown for an annual sum of 10 pounds in gold; so little did the British value these islands at that time. The Company, which was operating from surat, was in search for another deeper water port so that larger vessels could dock, and found the islands of Mumbai suitable for development. The shifting of the East India Company’s headquarters here in 1687 led to the eclipse of surat as a principal trading center . The British corrupted the Portuguese name “Bom Baia”to “Bombay” which is now — Mumbai. The Kolis used to call the islands “Mumbai” after Mumba devi , the Hindu deity to whom a temple is dedicated at Babulnath near Chowpantt sandy beaches.
In 1838, Worlds largest presently read English language news paper – The Times of India, Started its printing here by Bennett , Coleman and Company Limited at its landmark building – Times of India Building, near Victoria Terminus, now called Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, which stands as Heritage building. This news paper is so popular among all the age groups that all the readers in Mumbai and of course other parts in India also, first look for the front page pocket cartoon – You said it of the Common man, being sketched by international Cartoonist Shri R.K.Laxman.
On Saturday 16th of April, 1853 a 21 – mile long railway line, the first in India, between Bombay’s Victoria Terminus and Thana was opened. The Great India Peninsular (GIP) and the Bombay Baroda and Central India(BB&CI) Railway were started in 1860 and a regular service of steamers on the west coast was commenced in 1869.
The historic session of the all India Congress Committee began on t he 7th of August 1942. Its venue was the Gowalia Tank Maidan, where the congress was born in 1885. It was at this session that the “Quit India” call was given by Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian National Congress leaders. The Indian leaders were arrested by the British soon afterwards but the Momentum could not be stopped and lead to the final withdrawal of the British troops on Indian soil left for England through the archway of the ‘Gateway of India’ on that day. They bade farewell from where they had entered 282 years before. The people of Mumbai, in a gesture of generosity wished them bon voyage, forgetting the bitter memories of the fight for Independence . Today the ground from where the call to ‘Quit India” was given is called the ‘August Kranti Maidan”. After Independence the Congress party led by Jawaharlal Nehru at the Center was swept to power in most of the Indian States, which were constituted on the basis of language spoken by the majority of its people. The Bombay state included the city as its seat of government. In 1960 the state of Bombay was split into Maharashtra and Gujarat states again on linguistic basis, the former retaining Bombay city as it capital. In course of time Bombay was named as Mumbai in 1995.
ABOUT THE TEMPLE AND IT’S FOUNDER:
It is singular fortune of the Mumbaikars that they too have in their midst a Venkateswara Shrine at Fanaswadi in the heart of Mumbai. The Deity here is the “replica” observes all religious programs according to the same tradition. The Nitya panchkal pujas, all the Festivals of Temple, Parayans ect. are strictly held according to the special benefit and is transported to Mumbai for the Special benefit and convenience of its citizens, especially those to whom SRI BALAJI is their ‘family god’. But how Sri Balaji or Sri Venkateswara come to Tirupati is also equal interesting to know. There is mythological store which is given below.
Bhrigu Rishi Temple: It is situated in Bharuch in Gujarat State, is the sacred temple wich gave Bharuch, its name and the name is “Bhrigukachba”. A visit to Bhrigu Rishi Temple, offers information that the seer or Maharishi Bhrigu is one of the prominent Rishi out of the group of seven seers or the group of sapta Rishi Mandal, placed in the Indian mythology. Then, Maharishi Bhrigu is an ideal balance between wisdom and activity, though wisdom being the consummation of this higher tenet of wisdom, as exemplified in the life of Bhrigu Rishi.
After the above happening, Goddess Laxmi went to earth in anger and stayed in kolhapur Maharashtra. Lord Vishnu come to earth in search of her and stayed at Tirumala Hills. He met there Goddess Padmavati and marred to her by fulfilling the wished of Goddess Sita (earlier Form) who was abundant by Lord Rama after their 14 years exile and Baktla also as mother in the form of Yashoda.Since I follow “EK Patni Vrat” , I will marry you in the form of Lord Venkateswara in the 28th kaliyuga. Another story attached to this is Bahtla who was earlier Yashoda also missed Lord Krishna as went to Mathura to stay with Nanda. Therefore Lord Venkateswara fulfilled her wishes also.
The Temple at Fanaswadi, Mumbai dedicated to the Lord of the Seven Hills Sri Venkateswara ( Sri Balaji) was consecreated on 10th June 1927. The temple is Known for its elegance and beauty with regard to its images, art and architecture, to mention but a few. It is only apt that the beautiful temple was the outcome of the dedicated effort of a great personage. ‘His Holiness the Jagadguru Prathivadi Bhayankar Srimad Ananthachary Swamiji Maharaj of Kanchi’. His Holiness is a descendent from an unbroken and long ancestry, of Mudamainambi, a contemporary of sri Ramanjua, who was one of the 74 gurus appointed by Sri Ramanuja to continue the work of propagating the tenets of Vaishnava saints. The illustrious person was the composer of the Venkatesha Suprabatham, Mangalasasanam and Venkatesa Prapatti which resounds every nook and corner, in the early hours of the Lord of Sapthagiri. The late Swamiji had his traditional study at the feet of his illustrious maternal uncle Sri Tirupati Srirangacharyaswami and gained mastery in various branches of Sanskrit, Nyaya, Vyakarana, Mimasa and vedanta. At the age of 23, he left his native Kanchi and undertook a country-wide Yatra to be more useful to the world and to continue the mission of sri Ramanuja. His itinerary were no parades of rich paraphernalia but a keen sense of personal duty to spread the message of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ in general and the philosophy of Ramanuja.
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GENESIS OF THE TEMPLE AT FANASWADI ( Mumbai)
It was in the year 1885 that His Holiness came to Mumbai on his Yatra when some local Sri Vaishnavites first expressed their desire for a Devasthanam on the lines of sri Ramanuja Sampradaya in the 1910, when His Holiness visited Mumbai for the second time the idea of construction of the temple took a more concrete shape. This time a good beginning was made by establishing a branch at the Prathivadi Bhayankara mutt in Mumbai in a rented building at Fanaswadi.In 1914, His Holiness purchased the building and the adjoining area ad measuring about 2000sq. Yards for Rs.1,15,000/-. After some six years the construction of the personal supervision facing to East, from his own earnings and out of donations made by his philanthropic disciple.
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