Sunday, March 8, 2009


View- Tamil Temple at Matunga east
Matunga is the name of a railway station on the Mumbai Suburban Railways network. It is a suburb of Mumbai. This station is called Matunga on the Central line and Matunga Road on the Western line. It is famous for its educational institutions. Apart from Matunga and Matunga Road stations, the Harbour Line station of King's Circle is also located in Matunga.
Matunga is dominated by South Indians (especially Tamil Brahmins. Hence, it is also called "mini Madras"). Matunga boasts of a number of South Indian style temples along with a number of street shops selling coffee and flowers which adds to the South Indian feel. The number of Gujaratis has also been on the rise in recent years. One of the foremost Gujaratis to come to Matunga were of the Kapol community. The built the Kapol Hostel in Matunga, however there are very few Kapols left now. Matunga is now mostly dominated by Jain Gujaratis and Kutchis the likes of Cheddas & Waghads. The celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi are on a grand scale in Matunga. With the most famous being the Vardharajan Ganpati or the now so called Matunga Station Ganpati and the Huge Idol at Mohanlal Mansion.
Note : The name "VARADARAJAN" is from the King of the Dharavi Underworld Varadaraja Naicker who with his henchman Manthrapandi Thevar ruled Mumbai's underworld for decades in the 1950s and 1960s (glorified by Kamal Hasan in his movie "NAYAKAN") whose resources got this Station Ganapathi Utsav going a long time back.
Matunga formed a part of the seven original island of Mumbai with Mahim (then known as Mahikavati). Mahim, or Mahikawati as it was known, was the capital of Raja Bhimdev who reigned over the region in the 13th century. Raja Bhimdev's origins are not clearly known. He might have come from Anahilwada-Patan in Gujarat or from the dynasty of Yadavs in Deogiri. He built a palace and a court of justice in Prabhadevi as well as the first Babulnath temple. Raja Bhimdev stationed his elephant cavalry near Mahim. This place was referred to as Matanga (Sanskrit for Elephants) which later became "Matunga".
Matunga has long been a hub of education in Mumbai. In 1887, Mumbai's first engineering college, Victoria Jubilee Technological Institute (VJTI) was founded. It was later renamed to Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute. It also houses the famous college UICT, now known as the Mumbai University Institute of Chemical Technology, which has produced renowned chemical engineers over the years. It was also the first planned suburb of Mumbai. The plan of 1899-1900 was devised to evenly distribute population as well as provide better living standards.
The setting up of the S.I.E.S. (South Indian Education Society) in 1932 was a great boon to the predominantly South Indian Brahmin population of Matunga. Starting as a primary school in a rented room in the Jain Boarding School premises, the S.I.E.S. organization now has fifteen schools, Colleges, etc in its stable with student strength of around 18000 and teaching staff strength of under 500. The S.I.E.S. celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in 2008 where our beloved former President of India Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was the most important Chief Guest(apart from Dr. Kasturirangan and Dr. Chidambaran - of the Atomic Energy and ISRO)
In 1937, the general council of Salesians of Don Bosco approved a plan to buy 60,000 square yards (50,000 m²) land in Matunga from the Bombay Muncipal Corporation. The Corporation approved the sale on July 16, 1937. The Salesians bought the land for Rs. 229,160. The Don Bosco High School (formerly known as The Catholic Educational Institute) run by them was shifted from the rented premises at Tardev to the new Don Bosco campus at Matunga. This is one of the best primary educational institutions in Mumbai.
In 1937, Guru Nanak Khalsa college was founded by Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee. It was first the college to be established by the Khalsa community outside Punjab. Its Gothic-style building was designed by a Roman architect. Don Bosco High School and Khalsa College are famous for their active sports-life.
In June 1937, Ramnarain Ruia College was set up by Shikshana Prasaraka Mandali (a private education society run by teachers) of Pune. It was the first college to be founded by a private organization in Mumbai. In 1941, S P Mandali founded R A Podar College. S P Mandali was given the plot by the railways, the biggest land owners in Mumbai at that time. The business house of the Podars constructed the college building at its own cost and handed it over to the college. In 1952, the Modern Education Society of Pune founded the D G Ruparel College. It was little known until early 1980s, when it started producing merit-list toppers. Sandip Patil used to represent Ruia College, when Ravi Shastri was representing Podar College.
Podar College: Ramnarain Ruia College and Ramniranjan Ananandilal Podar College of Commerce and Economics are adjacent to each other. Both are set up by Shikshana Parasaraka Mandali. Cricketers Farokh Engineer (wicket keeper) and Ravi Shastri (all rounder) both studied in Podar College. Ravi Shastri joined Podar College after graduating from Don Bosco High School. Podar College also offers courses through institute of management studies.
Welinkar- a famous management institute for post-graduate qualification in Matunga
Matunga also has good restaurants like Classic Hotel, famous for its Masala Pav; Manis outside Ruia College famous for south Indian delicacies; Seven Eleven for ice cream softies, Madras Cafe, Anand Bhuvan,Rasna Punjab, DP's Fast food, and Ram Ashraya.
GIRI STORES which now has branches all over South India started in a pigeon-hole shop opposite the Matunga Post Office where Mr. Giri sat selling small booklets on slokas for prayers (mostly in Malayalam and in Sanskrit). A very simple and pious man with few needs, Mr. Giri became a permanent fixture at that corner. Now, his next generation/s have taken the small seed sown by Mr. Giri to make it a large and flourishing business with many products and services.
Educational institutions
Ramnarain Ruia College of Arts & Science
Guru Nanak Khalsa College (King's Circle)
Ruparel College
Ramniranjan Anandilal Podar College of Commerce & Economics
Welingkar Institute of Management Research and Development
Mumbai University Institute of Chemical Technology (formerly UDCT)
Veermata Jijabai Technical Institute(formerly Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute)
Don Bosco High School
Amulak Amichand High School
South Indian Education Society High School
Shrimati Damodar Thakersey College S.N.D.T. College.

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