The name ‘Bandra’ is possibly an adaptation of the Persian (and also Urdu) word, Bandar. In Marathi, Bandra is known as Vandre, which also means ‘port’ and is possibly derived from the same Urdu/Persian word. The area was under the rule of the Silhara dynasty in the 12th century. Bandra was a tiny fishing village inhabited by Kolis (fishermen) and farmers. It was acquired by the British East India Company while the rest of Mumbai belonged to the Portuguese. In 1534 A.D., a sea captain named Diego da Silveira entered Bandra creek and burned the fishing town he found there. With that, Bandra came under the rule of the Portuguese crown. This turmoil was the start of a long period of Christianisation of Bandra. It was Father Manuel Gomes who really turned the Catholic Church into the institution it has become here. In 1580, he baptized 2,000 fishermen, and that was just a beginning. By the time he died 11 years later, Father Gomes’ “invincible strength of soul” — as one historian described it — had converted 6,000 people of the area. It was Father Manuel Gomes who established the St Andrew’s Church.
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