Just Mumbai Things: Did You Know Chor Bazar Was Once ‘Shor’ Bazar?

Here’s how some of the places in Mumbai got their names!

3 min read

Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune

Have you ever been on a Mumbai local and paid heed to the names of areas in Mumbai? Chinchpokli, Bandra, Mahim, Santacruz, Breach Candy are just a few to begin with. But have you ever wondered how these areas got their names?

Most cities just have places named after a politician or a leader. But Mumbai is different. There are so many stories to tell and each one is interesting.

The Quint went around areas in Mumbai to find out the story behind these names.



‘Kolis’ (the inhabitants of the areas) gave the name to the area and called it ‘Kola-bhat’ which has now become ‘Colaba’. The area consists of two islands- ‘Colaba’ and ‘Little Colaba’. This was one of the seven islands ruled by the Portuguese. Today, this area is where the Taj and Gateway of India are and is a prime real estate South Bombay location.


This is by far the top location to cover, if you happen to be in Mumbai. It’s been on Lonely Planet’s ‘top things to do in Mumbai’ and it’s a popular market for flowers, fabrics and laces. The market gets its name from Lord Shiva or Lord Bholenath.

Mumbai’s top market to visit - Bhuleshwar. 
(Photo: The Quint) 

Chor Bazaar

Most cities have a market called ‘Chor Bazaar’ but for Mumbai, the story is a little sad and a little funny. This market was actually called ‘Shor Bazaar’ because it was noisy. Traders used to get goods to sell all through the day and it would end up being lively, with all the clattering noises from the streets. But over the years it just got changed to ‘Chor Bazaar’.

A look at Mumbai’s Chor Bazaar. 
(Photo: The Quint) 

Bhendi Bazaar

Funnily, this market has nothing to do with bhindis (okra). This market is right behind Crawford Market and was just described as ‘behind the bazaar’, which got adapted as ‘Bhendi Bazaar’ over the years.


Byculla is simply named after King Byculla, who was the owner of the land.

Cotton Green

‘Cotton Green’ is the area abounded by plenty of cotton mills in the 1920s. The area gets its name from the mills and the green pastures which surrounded it, back in the day.

Cotton Green area in Bombay back in the day. 
(Photo: Twitter)

Breach Candy & Bandra

‘Breach Candy’ in South Bombay is a posh area close to ‘Haji Ali Dargah’. The area was in fact called ‘Burj Khadi’, which is a mix of Arabic and Hindi. The name now is a case of mispronunciation and obviously has nothing to do with ‘candy’.

Bandra gets its name from the word ‘port’ which means ‘bandar’ in Marathi.

Seven Bungalows

‘Seven Bungalows’ or Versova, is where the ‘raja-maharaja’ had their bungalows. Maharaja of Kutch, Gwalior and Dadabhai Naroji had their bungalows along the sea, before the real estate boom hit the city and the land was acquired to make plush sea-facing towers.

If you know of the story behind any other area name in Mumbai, do tell us in the comments section.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider

or more


3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!