Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple

Bikaner, Rajasthan

The Seth Bhandasar Jain Temple is situated in Bikaner, Rajasthan, within the older part of the walled city. It resides amidst one of the busiest areas of the city, Bada Bazaar, adjacent to another famous temple of Bikaner, the Lakshmi Nath Temple. Bhandasar Temple is dedicated to the fifth tirthankara (spiritual teacher), Sumatinath, and is affiliated to the Shvetambara Jain tradition.

Echoes of Faith: Religious Monuments of Mazagaon

By the mid-19th century CE, Mazagaon and its surrounding areas, such as Byculla and Parel, saw the rise of multiple textile mills. This contributed to the industrial growth of Mumbai and attracted migrants from diverse ethnicities and geographies, both within India and abroad. Mazagaon’s numerous dargahs, temples, churches, and agiaries (fire temples) are a result of the complex interplay of colonial-era policies and patterns of human migration over many centuries.

Reverence and Reflection: Observance of Good Friday at Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra

Good Friday, observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday, attracts numerous devotees to Mount Mary Basilica, both from the local community and visitors. Good Friday is marked by mourning, reflection, and devotion as Catholics remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ for humanity’s salvation. The day is considered ‘good’ because it is believed to be the day when Jesus Christ, through his sacrificial death on the cross, redeemed humanity from sin and opened the way to salvation and eternal life. The term ‘good’ in this context likely originates from an older meaning of the word, which meant ‘holy’ or ‘pious’.

Baroli Group of Temples

Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

The village of Baroli, also known as Badoli near Rawatbhata, is home to nine ancient temples built around the 10th to 11th centuries CE. The Baroli group of temples, designated a monument of national significance under the Jodhpur Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), encompasses eight of these nine temples, standing as a testament to the exquisite artistry and architectural prowess of the Pratihara style. The temples are dedicated to various deities; Shiva who is represented in three temples, Vishnu in his reclining Sheshashayi and Vamana form, Mahishasuramardini who is deified in two temples, one of which is outside the complex walls, and Ganesha.

Taste of the Sea: Versova Koli Seafood Festival

Versova is among Mumbai’s oldest Koliwadas (fishing villages), strategically located at the confluence of Malad Creek and the Arabian Sea. As with other Koliwadas, the culture of Versova is deeply intertwined with maritime history. The Kolis are among the earliest inhabitants of the islands of Mumbai. They are expert seamen and rely on fishing as their main source of income. The Versova Koli Seafood Festival is organized in Versova village annually. It takes place over three days in January, which is a low season for fishing operations, making it the ideal time to organize community events. Encouraged by the festival's success, similar Koli seafood festivals also take place in Juhu, Worli, Mahim, and Sasoon Dock, among other places in Mumbai.

Bisaldeo Temple

Tonk, Rajasthan

The Bisaldeo Temple in the Tonk district of Rajasthan is a 12th-century CE temple that is popularly revered as the Gokarneshwara (Gokarnesvara) Mahadev in and around the region. Located near the Bisalpur dam on the Banas river, 150 km from Jaipur, the courtyard of the temple is partly submerged in the river water most of time around the year.

Stitch in Time: Fish Net Repair by Kolis

Kolis fish in the creeks and mangroves along Mumbai’s coastline. In shallow intertidal zones, they rely on fixed gillnets, cast nets, and hand-held nets to trap fish that get caught during high tide. Koli men devote their spare time to repairing their fishing nets. Fishing nets require regular maintenance and repair to keep them in good condition. It is a task of utmost importance to ensure broken nets are ready as quickly as possible.

Sustainable Traditions: Dried Fish Industry in Khar Danda

Despite the urbanization of much of the surrounding area, Khar Danda has retained its identity as a fishing village. The quaint village is home to the Koli community, who rely on fishing and related activities for their livelihood. From Danda dhakka (dock), hundreds of fishing boats venture out to sea at dawn. After a few hours, the boats return and offload the catch. Packed in ice, the catch is transported to wholesale markets, where it is sorted and distributed to fish vendors. The damaged and unsold fish are bought by Koli women to make dried fish, which is a valuable source of income for many Koli families. Though the supply is highly variable and seasonal, it is estimated that 10–20 percent of the total catch is dried.

Neelkanth Mahadev Group of Temples

Alwar, Rajasthan

The Sariska Tiger Reserve in the Alwar district of Rajasthan is home to several temples that are more than 1000 years old. A magnificent collection of architectural designs spread over two kilometres, these temples are known as the Neelkanth Mahadev group of temples, named after one of its better-preserved temples from the complex. This module focuses on the architectural remains of the Neelkanth Mahadev group of temples with special reference to the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple. A triple-shrine temple probably dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi, the temple is an excellent example of temple architecture prevalent during the 10th century CE.

Worli Koliwada

Situated at the tip of a plush locality of Worli in Mumbai is a gaothan or an urban village, known as the Worli Koliwada, which is home to the Indigenous fishing community of Mumbai, the Kolis and the East Indians. The Worli Koliwada is rich with cultural, historical, and social significance.

Mahim Koliwada

The completion of the Mahim Causeway in 1846 brought about significant changes in the local demographic setup for the Mahim Kolis. Despite its current appearance at a similar level to the surrounding neighbourhood of Mahim, the causeway was actually built at a slight elevation from the adjoining area, with a slope on the sea-facing side. The Kolis of Mahim adopted the term ‘sulup’ from their vocabulary to describe this slope, and the settlement that emerged between the sea and the causeway became known and is still referred to as Sulup. Two other areas where the Mahim Kolis were and still are concentrated are the Mori Road and the Kapad Bazaar area, the latter being the main marketplace of the Mahim Koliwada.

The Temple Doorway

Context and Manifestations: A select case study from North India

The Hindu temple is one of the most significant tangible expressions of the highly evolved architectural knowledge system and can be seen throughout the nation. From the 5th to the mid-13th century CE, temple-building activities were carried out on a massive scale and in various styles, each rooted in its regional traditions but maintaining the essence of form and meaning. The temple building embodies the entire cosmos in its structure and is the abode of God. All three realms of the universe are symbolically represented through the plethora of imagery on the temple walls and doorways.

Mumbai’s Biodiversity and the Kolis

Humans depend on nature for their survival. As a result, cultures, value systems, and behaviours are often a result of the environment and habitat one resides in. All over the world, indigenous communities have adapted to their natural environments over time. Indigenous populations residing in these spaces revere them and conserve the ecosystem through sustainable practices, as seen in farming and fishing.

Madh Koliwada

The Madh Koliwada of Madh is situated on the south side of the present-day peninsula that was once an island off the west coast of Sashti. The British-era map of Mumbai refers to it as Mhar. It is strategically located, with the open sea to its west and the creek to its east, which gave the local Kolis plenty of area to fish in. It is a considerably large Koliwada divided into numerous padas or gaons and gallis; like Dongar Pada, Vatar Galli, Madhla Pada, Bhotkar Galli, Darya Galli, Vandre Galli, Nava Nagar, Navpada, Lochar Gaon, Paat Wadi, Dhondi Pada, Oscar Wadi, Christian Galli, Marathi Aali, etc.

Charchoma Shiva Temple

Kota, Rajasthan

Protected under the Jaipur Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Shiva Temple at Charchoma Maliya is one of the oldest surviving temples in Rajasthan. It has gone several modifications over the period of time up till 19th century CE. The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum with a flat roofed antarala (vestibule) belong to the late Gupta period (about 7th century CE) are the oldest surviving architectural features of the temple

Malvani Gaon

Malvani Gaon (or Malvani Village) is located in Malad and also finds mention in the Mahikavatichi Bakhar by the name of Malvan, whose Sanskritised name must have been Mallavana, or forest of malla trees. The malla tree (Bauhinia racemosa), is also known as apta in Marathi, and the region of Malvani must have been wooded with these trees, possibly giving the place its name. Malvani is comprised of Hindu and Christian Kolis, also known as East Indians, and Bhandaris. The village was and is still ensconced between Rathodi village to its west, Charkop village to its north, Marve to its east, and Dharavali village to its south. It was one of the most important villages in this part of Mumbai, and the villages of Kharodi and Rathodi are still considered part of Malvani division in terms of administration.

Versova Koliwada

Situated in the Andheri suburb of Mumbai, Versova Koliwada is one of the city’s prominent Koliwadas. The earliest reference to Versova dates back to the 12th century chronicle named Mahikavatichi Bakhar, which mentions a village named Yesav[1] (येसाव) on the west coast of Salsette island. The term ‘Versova’ appears to be derived from the Prakrit and later Marathi word Visava which means respite. Locals still refer to their Koliwada as Vesave (वेसावे), with the surname ‘Vesavkar’ being common in the area. Mumbai has long been renowned for its deep natural harbour, and this holds true for the many villages that dot its coast, which boast deep waters safe for heavy cargo boats. Strategically positioned at the mouth of the Versova Creek, a deep inlet of the sea into the mainland, Versova served as a resting and restocking station for merchant ships traversing the west coast of India for centuries.

Harshnath Temple

Sikar, Rajasthan

Located 14km from the district headquarters and perched atop the Harsha Hill in the Sikar district of Rajasthan, the Harshnath Temple Complex is a protected site under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The complex comprises many architectural remnants from the 10th to 18th century CE. At the heart of the complex, lies the historical Harshnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Bhandup Koliwada

Bhandup is one of the most historically relevant places in the city of Mumbai. The Shilaharas of Thane, who ruled this region from the 10th- 12th centuries CE, are known to have built a Rajpath, or royal road, that passed through Bhandup, and connected their capital to places on the eastern seaboard of Mumbai. A copper plate inscription mentioning Bhandup was found in 1835 in a field in Nahur. The inscription dates back to the reign of the Northern Shilahara King Chhittarajadev, who ruled from 1022-1035 CE.

Dharavi Koliwada

The word Dharavi conjures up images of vast sprawls of unorganized housing, with the notorious title of the largest slum in Asia. However, like everywhere, Dharavi has more than meets the eye. On a casual stroll from one of the entry points of the settlement, one stumbles across the quaint Koliwada of Dharavi. Visually distinct from the other areas of the Dharavi, this part of modern Dharavi was once the aboriginal fishing village on the banks of the Mithi River and Mahim Creek, which gave its name to the entire locality that grew around it.

Manori Koliwada

The Bakhar mentions Manori as one of the five villages that made up ‘Thikan Uttan’ under the administration of an officer called Sindhe Sheshvanshi. In fact, Manori is one of the few places whose name has remained unchanged since the time. The traditional expanse of Manori Koliwada stretches from Sumlai Talav in the north, Manori jetty to the south, the open sea to the west, and Manori creek to the east. It is home predominantly to the Koli community, comprised of Hindu and Christian Kolis, along with a small population of Bhandari and Kunbi communities.

Vazira Koliwada

The Vazira Koliwada is situated at the intersection of Lokmanya Tilak Road and Linking Road on the western side of the Borivali suburb of Mumbai. It is one of the indigenous Koliwadas in the Borivali region. While neighbouring Eksar and Shimpoli gaothans are mentioned in the Mahikavatichi Bakhar, Vazira finds no mention in this work or in any other old documents related to the city. According to a local resident, Yavan Vaity, Vazira has been in existence for at least the past century, as per accounts passed down by village elders. The name Vazira is peculiar compared to other Koliwadas, and the current inhabitants have no information on its etymological origins.

Gavanpada Koliwada

The Mahikavatichi Bakhar, the oldest medieval chronicle of Mumbai dating back to the 13th-14th centuries CE, mentions Mulund as one of the villages under the jurisdiction of an administrator named Harbaji. This firmly establishes the historicity of Mulund as being at least six to seven centuries old. The original boundary of Gavanpada Koliwada was marked by the Gavan River to the north, Mulund Station to the west, and numerous creeks that demarcated its eastern and southern frontiers. The oldest families inhabiting the Gavanpada Koliwada are the Vaity, Patil, Bhoir, and Keni. The families of Gavanpada traditionally established marital ties with Koli families from the Koliwadas of Bhandup, Bhivandi, Kalyan, Sion, Nanepada, and Navgharpada.

Charkop Gaon

The suburb of Kandivali is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mumbai, referred to as Kandhavli in the Mahikavatichi Bakhar, the city’s oldest chronicle dating back to the 13th-14th century AD. Even today, the coastline near the Manori creek in Kandhavli is richly covered with mangroves, bordering the native hamlet of Charkop, inhabited by the Koli and Bhandari communities, who are among the original settlers of Kandivali.

Harshatmata Temple

Dausa, Rajasthan

The Harshatmata Temple in Abhaneri, situated off the Delhi-Jaipur highway—six kilometres from the Bandikui railway station—in the Dausa district of Rajasthan, dates back to the 9th century CE. The temple was built under the reign of the Shakambhari Chahamanas, who were the feudatories of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. The temple stands as an example of the Maha-Maru style architecture in the region. The temple is dedicated to the worship of Harshat Mata, or Harasiddhi Devi who is considered the ishta (main or presiding deity) of Abhaneri.

Eksar Gaothan

Eksar is home to the Agri community whose traditional occupation was farming, and managing salt pans. It was originally a large village whose original boundaries stretched from the Manori creek in the west to Dahisar in the north, Ravalpada and Devipada in the east, and Vazira to the south. This original expanse of Eksar is still preserved in the administrative records, wherein all the places mentioned prior administratively still fall under mauje Eksar. The village of Eksar is traditionally divided into five neighbourhoods viz. Talepakhadi, Mhatarpakhadi, Dattapada, and Koliwadi. The original families who made up Eksar Gaothan, and who continue to reside in it, are the Mhatre, Patil, and Thakur.

Kelti Pada

Mumbai is one of the most peculiar cities in the world and is home to a wide range of natural ecosystems and biodiversity, from the open seas, creeks, and rivers to dense jungles. The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, of which Aarey Forest forms a part, is the largest protected forest within a city anywhere in the world. Aarey is home to numerous Adivasi tribes, such as the Kolis, who have settled in the coastal terrains of the city. Several Adivasi communities have made their homes in various padas or hamlets in these forests, situated in the central region of Mumbai’s contemporary urban landscape, for thousands of years and continue to do so.

Arthuna Group of Temples

Banswara, Rajasthan

A group of about twelve temples is located in the small village of Arthuna in the Garhi tehsil of the Banswara district of Rajasthan. It is nestled in the historical region of Vagada, and is one of the forested zones with rich flora and fauna. Several of the temples, for instance, the Hanuman Garhi Temple complex, Mandaleshwar Temple, Someshwar Mahadev Temple and Jain Temple, among a few others are large temple complexes, built in the panchayatana system, where the main temple is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines. Arthuna mainly flourished as the capital of the Paramaras of Vagada, a branch of the imperial Paramaras of Malwa. As evident from the eleventh-twelfth century inscriptions, Paramara rulers Chamundaraja and Vijayraja, were instrumental in patronizing the temples in Arthuna.

Kandarpada Gaothan

The name Kandarpada might be derived from the abundant mangrove forests that once surrounded this locality. One of the Marathi words for mangrove is kandar, which may have given this gaothan, or village, its name. It is a gaothan home to the Agri, Pachkalshi and Christian Koli communities as well as members of the adivasi community. The traditional boundaries of the Kandarpada gaothan extend from Eksar in the south to Manori Creek in the west and the Dahisar River in the east and the north.

Koli Cuisine: An Introduction

Food plays a fundamental role in all human cultures. It is not just a means of sustenance but also serves as a means of expressing oneself, connecting with others, and preserving the cultural history of a region or community. It is a way of life that is passed down through generations, an intangible heritage. Drawing from these historical and cultural roots, the food serves as a recollection of bygone eras, and simultaneously, the related cooking methods and social conventions provide invaluable insight into the values and material conditions of the people making it.

Bottle Masala

If you have lived in Mumbai long enough, it is hard not to have come across East Indian cuisine, which, over time, has adapted itself to reflect a mixture of Portuguese, British and Maharashtrian culinary influences. Quintessential to the aroma and taste of East Indian cuisine is a potent masala prepared from a variety of exotic spices, known colloquially as bottle masala. The name derives from the empty beer bottles in which the masala was packed and stored to keep them airtight and fresh. The masala is a staple in East Indian community kitchens and is used in the preparation of various dishes.

Erangal Village

The antiquity of Erangal is evinced from certain archaeological remains and its mention in the early medieval texts of the region. One such text is the Mahikavatichi Bakhar, a 12th century chronicle detailing the administrative setup of the contemporary Sashthi or Salcette island. The text refers to Erangal as ‘Yergan’, which was assigned to an administrator named ‘Singhe Sheshvanshi’.

Babhai Gaothan

The modern-day Gaothan of Babhai is nestled between Lokmanya Tilak Road and Chandavarkar Road, commanding attention with its distinctive blend of traditional dwellings amidst the backdrop of modern buildings and high rises. It stands as an urban village inhabited by the Pachkalshi or the Somvanshi Kshatriya Pathare community, representing one of the rare enclaves of this community within Mumbai.

The Kolis - An Introduction

For a person living in Mumbai, the term Koli often evokes images of the sea, fishes, and fisherwomen. However, the term Koli is an umbrella term encompassing various communities that reside in the hinterlands and are not necessarily involved in fishing occupations.The Kolis are an indigenous group inhabiting parts of Gujarat, Northern Konkan, the Sahyadris, the Deccan, and other regions of the country. The term ‘indigenous peoples’ can simply be understood as natives of the land who have inhabited the region since time immemorial.


Mazagon’s proximity to the sea has historically made it an important area for trade, shipping, and naval activities. Mazagon is home to the historic Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), one of India's leading shipyards, and its Koliwada is among the oldest in Mumbai. Apart from the shipbuilding industry, Mazagon is an important transport hub, which facilitates the movement of workers and migrants. It is home to a mix of communities, including Parsis, Muslims, East Indian Catholics, and others, contributing to its cosmopolitan mood.

The Extraordinary Life of Shri Dhirubhai Ambani


Dhirubhai Ambani (28 December 1932 – 6 July 2002) epitomised the dauntless entrepreneurial spirit of a visionary always on the march to change the destiny of a nation. Acclaimed as the top businessman of the 20th century and lauded for his dynamic, pioneering and innovative genius, Dhirubhai was an inspiring leader with sterling qualities. His success story fired the imagination of a generation of Indian entrepreneurs, business leaders and progressive companies. For many, he still remains an icon, a role model to be emulated.

Reliance Industries Limited

A historical timeline

Reliance Industries Limited, formerly established as 'Reliance Commercial Corporation' in the year 1966, was the dream project of Shri Dhirubhai Ambani who started this company as a polyester firm. Within a few years, Reliance grew into diverse businesses including energy, petrochemicals, natural gas, retail, telecommunications, mass media, etc.


National Archives of India

Abhilekh Patal Portal for Access to Archives and Learning is an initiative of NAI to make its rich treasure of Indian Archival Records available to one and all at the click of a button. Abhilekh Patal contains the reference media of more than 2.7 million files held by the National Archives of India.

East Indians on the West Coast

In the 2010s, a rough survey of East Indians in Mumbai revealed that there were 2.5 lakh in the city, 80,000 in Vasai and 12,000 in Thane. Why, one might ask, would a Christian community living on India’s west coast call itself East Indian?

Mumbai’s Kolis: Indigenous as well as Migrant?

Certain communities in the metropolis – such as the Kolis and the East Indians, for instance – consider themselves its original inhabitants and indigenous to the city. The implications of the term indigeneity, though, do call for a deeper investigation for it has sometimes been used to differentiate between insiders and outsiders, us and them.

St. Thomas Cathedral

Inaugurated in 1718, St. Thomas Cathedral is the first Anglican church in Bombay (Mumbai), established to provide church services to the earliest British settlers from the East India Company. The church was named in honor of St. Thomas Apostle, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ and the Apostle of India. Situated opposite Horniman Circle Garden, this historic and beautiful place of worship is nearly lost among the hustle and bustle of its surroundings.

Ballard Estate

Ballard Estate is one of the most coveted commercial areas in Mumbai, with broad, tree-lined thoroughfares and airy, spacious offices. Land reclamation for Ballard Estate started in 1904 using filling material excavated during the laying out of Alexandra Docks. Bombay Port Trust commissioned George Wittet with the task of developing Ballard Estate. As consulting architect, Wittet adopted the Baroque Revival style, which was in vogue in England during the reign of King Edward VII (r. 1901-10).

In and Around the Horniman Circle

Horniman Circle precinct in the Fort area of Mumbai surrounds itself with many old and vintage structures, including the Asiatic Society of Bombay, St Thomas Cathedral, Indian Navy's Western Command Headquarters (where Manor House once stood during the Portuguese era), etc. In its early history, Horniman Circle was called as Bombay Green, from where cotton and opium trade took place. Post-independence, it got renamed to Horniman Circle, taking its name from BG Horniman, a British journalist and editor of Bombay Chronicle, a daily started by Sir Pherozeshah Mehta.

Banganga Tank

Banganga Tank is located on the western fringes of Malabar Hill, close to Raj Bhawan. The neighborhood around Banganga Tank is the oldest continuously inhabited region in Bombay, a site of great spiritual significance to Hindus. For centuries, Hindus have made a pilgrimage to the Walkeshwar Temple and the now-destroyed Shri Gundi stone at Malabar Point, which gave sanctity to the hill from a very early age.

Jijamata Udyan

Mumbai's renowned Victoria Garden

Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle Udyan, formerly known as Victoria Gardens, was founded to commemorate Queen Victoria. It was earlier established as a botanical garden by the Agri Horticultural Society of Western India in a large plot at Sewri in 1835 but was later shifted to Mount Estate, Byculla, in 1861. The garden was opened to the public in 1862 by Lady Frere, wife of Sir Bartle Frere, who was the Governor of Bombay during the 1860s.

Art Deco at Oval

The era after 1920s in Bombay is recognized by the advent of Art Deco which spread across the city and influenced every aspect of the city life. Art Deco derived its name from a World Fair held in Paris in 1925, called as ‘Exponential Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’. It was a combination of both traditional and modern styles, introducing new forms of designs in Bombay’s architecture. The Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) played a significant role in expanding the Art Deco movement in India, as it held the first architectural exhibition called as the ‘Ideal Home Exhibition’ in the Town Hall in November 1937, introducing the audiences to the world of Art Deco. Mumbai became a hub of Art Deco and was finally conferred with the UNESCO World Heritage status for the Art Deco buildings around the Oval Maidan in Churchgate in 2016, cementing the legacy of Bombay’s architecture.

Flora Fountain

The Flora Fountain, one of the historical water fountains of Mumbai, was installed in 1869 at the intersection of Dadabhai Naoroji Road, Mahatma Gandhi Road, and Veer Nariman Road. It was designed and executed entirely in England and transported via ship to India. The fountain is named after Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and the season of spring. The statue of the goddess stands at the highest level of the fountain.

Victorian Gothic at BMC

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (also known as Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) is India's richest municipal corporation and responsible for developing the civic infrastructure of the city and tax collection. It was established with the passing of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act in 1888. The headquarters are based at the BMC building, which also feature (along with the Gateway of India) on the seal of the corporation.