Insider’s guide to... Thakurdwar

  • As told to Poorva Joshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2016 15:56 IST
St Francis Xavier's Church at Thakurdwar is famous fo r the remains of St Xavier’s thumb. (Photo: Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)

“I grew up in Thakurdwar. Now, one can see a lot of high-rises, but the streets still have an old world charm to them,” says Dr Anita Rane Kothare, a faculty member at St Xavier’s College, and a resident of Thakurdwar in Charni Road.

Named after a Ram temple built by the Konkani Pathare Prabhu community in the 1800s, there are three main streets around the temple: St Francis’s Street where the British Christian community resided; Nawroji street, for the Parsi community, and the Thakurwadi, for the Hindu Marathi community. All three lanes have religious establishments, namely the St Francis’s Church, the Dadi Sheth Agyari and two Ram temples. All the establishments are cared for by local residents irrespective of their religious affiliation.


* The term Thakurdwar originates from two Marathi terms: ‘Thakur’ which translates to Vishnu and ‘dwar’ which translates to door. Built in 1828, the temple was viewed as the gateway to the lord. The temple contains symbols of the trinity comprising Bramha (creator), Vishnu (the protector) and Shiva (the destroyer).

Peace out: To mark the end of Thakurwadi and the beginning of the Dadi Sheth Agyari Road, the residents buried an inverted canon. The four canons are 200 years old. The residents believe that the inverted canons symbolise the end of war and the resurgence of peace. (Photo: Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)

* The temple premises used to house a tank that supplied water to the surrounding areas. However, after the outbreak of plague and cholera during the 1890s, a building was built over the tank to cover up the stagnant water. The building is called Pushkarni and it houses people from the Pathare Prabhu community.

Literacy to all: Built in 1855, the Prabhu Seminary was built for Hindu and Parsi students to receive education without being forced to convert. The founders named it a ‘seminary’ to disguise it as a Catholic institution. (Photo: Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)

* The Thakurdwar temple is an example of a typical Maharashtrian ‘wada’ architecture with wooden panels and narrow wooden staircases. It has a first floor viewing gallery from where women devotees could watch the daily proceedings.

Strike two: Apart from the Thakurdwar temple, the Zaoba Wad Ram Mandir is also an important temple in the area. Since the statue is made of white marble, the deity is called Gora Ram (fair Ram). The temple originally used to be an Anglo-Indian wada (bungalow) belonging to a Pathare Prabhu family. (Photo: Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)

* The main road outside the temple is lined with shops that are almost a century old and have been managed by families for generations. For instance, Kirtikar Masale has existed since before 1930 and is run by the sixth generation of the family. Other shops include Panshikar Sweet Mart (1921) and Dattraya Ganesh Joshi Silverware (1928).

Path to enlightenment: The Shikhara (temple top) of Thakurdwar temple houses a Shivaling. A structure that symbolises the female reproductive system has a narrow entrance that one can crawl in (as shown in the picture). The interior is shaped like a dome, symbolising the universe. The Shivaling symbolises the union of man and woman. (Photo: Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)

* Originally called as the Kamlabai Bramhankar Shala, this was Mumbai’s first high school built for Marathi girls, in 1848. The name was later changed to Student’s Literary and Scientific Society’s Girl’s High School in 1884.

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