“Bandra has arisen from the humble rank of a village in the possession of the Jesuits – as it was in the 17th century – to be one of the most popular suburbs of Bombay.”
Braz A. Fernandes, a Goan Bandra Catholic, wrote this in the introduction to his 1927 monographic Bandra: Its Religious and Secular History. He went on to describe the arrival of the first train here in 1867, and the population boom that ensued (by 1873 there were 24 trains running between Bandra and Virar). In 1876, the Municipality was established. “The influx continued,” Fernandes wrote, “and the Christian landlord who had lived on his estate like a small potentate, suddenly found himself hustled out of the way by the wealthy Parsi. Today, Bandra is a cosmopolitan town.”
Until this year, Mumbai didn’t have a single boutique hotel. There was the Taj Palace, with its iconic confectionary grandeur; some characterless, midrange hotels scattered around Colaba, the core of historic South Mumbai; the Oberoi and the Trident in their 1970s concrete boxes. But there was no hotel that captured both the rich visual heritage of historic Bombay and the intense aesthetic energy of contemporary Mumbai. Now, there’s Abode.
Though it’s home to more than a million people, Madurai, the second-largest city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, remains a paradigmatic temple town. Around its ragged edges, Madurai looks much like any other medium-sized Indian city, with its clusters of concrete buildings and traffic-choked streets. But at its center – an elegant arrangement of concentric ring roads surrounding the labyrinthine, 17-acre compound of the Meenakshi Temple, among the holiest in South India – the city feels timeless. You come here not to experience the much-touted New India but the India that has endured for centuries. (more…)