Santacruz or Santa Cruz is a section of the municipality of Mumbai. The Santacruz railway station on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, the Domestic Terminal of the Mumbai Airport and one campus of the University of Mumbai are all located in Santacruz.
Santacruz and its neighbouring suburb Khar fall under the H East and H West wards of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The locality had a population of 675,951 persons in 1991, over an area of 12.98 square kilometers, giving it a population density of 36,668 persons per square kilometer.
The term Santa Cruz comes from the Portuguese words meaning "Holy Cross". The name was that given to a church that existed on a site on the western side of the railway station, at the site presently occupied by the Sacred Heart Boys High School / Sacred Heart Church on Swami Vivekanand Road, and which had been devastated by the Marathas during their conquest of the region from Portugal. This former parish church gave its name to the locality. According to lore, during the Portuguese reign a wooden cross in front of the church blossomed to give leaves and was thus called the "Holy-Cross" or the "Santa-Cruz".
Neighbourhoods & LocalitiesEdit
Santa Cruz is bordered by Vile Parle in north, Khar in south, Juhu in west and Kurla in east. It is broadly divided in two areas: Santa Cruz (East) and Santa Cruz (West) by the Mumbai Suburban Railway line. The Milan subway and Khar subway connect the two areas, passing under the rail line.
MMRDA has built a Skywalk for pedestrians stretching from Podar School Complex (West Santa Cruz) to Western Express Highway (East Santa Cruz).
Santa Cruz EastEdit
Santa Cruz(East) consists of Prabhat Colony, Kalina and Vakola. It also consists of land belonging Airport Authority of India, which consists of the Mumbai Airport and Air India Colony (which comes in Kalina).
The main roads passing through Santa Cruz(E) are the Western Express Highway, Nehru Road and the Kalina-Kurla Link Road. The PIN codes of this area are 400055 , 400098 and 400029 .
Vakola stretches from the Western Express Highway in the west to the Kalina Military Camp in the east. Yashwant nagar, Dawri Nagar, Nagdevi Nagar, Vakola Bridge, Shivaji Nagar, Vakola Pipeline, Vakola Village and Vakola Masjid areas form most of Vakola, densely populated by Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics and Jains. These communities, though tending to cluster together, live in relative harmony with each other, however, the area of Vakola was among the worst affected during the Bombay Riots of 1993.
Vakola village is home to one of the indigenous communities of Mumbai, the East Indians. Formerly known as Vankola for three centuries, the village formed part of the Kalina Parish which was founded in 1606. It was in 1914 that through the initiative of Fr. C. A. Abreo at Kalina Church, that a chapel was contemplated to be built at Vankola. Mr. John Rodrigues popularly known as Jamboo donated the land, and the Chapel was finally completed and dedicated to St. Anthony and blessed on 1 January 1921. Practically all the villagers then had relatives (brothers, sisters, in-laws) either at Kalliana (now Kalina) or at Vile Parle. The Church was remodeled in 1977 to suit the changed liturgical norms. Today, St. Anthony's Church is one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Mumbai in terms of Catholic population, which is estimated to include around 23,000 persons.
To the south of the Vankola village were a few fields and marshy lands reaching right up to the Mithi River at Bandra East that contained a lot of wildlife, birds of all kinds and small animals. Vankola village being on a small rise, the land sloped downwards towards the marshes. All social activity of the people was centered at Kalina Village which was connected to Vakola by a small road skirting the Rye Hills which now houses the Military Camp. This small road is still in use and is used a short cut to Kalina.
Anand Nagar is a large development built as transit accommodation for Post-Partition refugees, but subsequently leased out and sold to various families.
Property prices in Vakola have been on a very steep upward trend in the last couple of years. Vakola has two schools run by the Catholic Church, St Anthony's Boys' School and St. Charles Girls' School. Other educational institutions include The Patuck School and College Complex - founded under the Patuck Polytechnic Trust by the Late Mr. Rustomji Hormusji Patuck, a Parsi businessman turned technical educationist, The New Model High School, The Municipal School at Vakola Bridge that includes several upper and lower primary schools in Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu mediums and The Nariyalwadi Municipal school that has upper and primary schools in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil mediums.
Vakola hosts the corporate headquarters of Asian Paints Limited and a significant number of large commercial banks, including Canara Bank, State Bank of India, The Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank, CitizenCredit Co-operative Bank, ICICI Bankand NKGSB Co-Operative Bank . The Grand Hyatt hotel is located at Vakola, on the erstwhile premises of the Standard Batteries factory.
The road stretching from the Western Express Highway to the Military Camp is called Nehru Road. A tributary of the Mithi River, called as the Vakola Nallah flows through Vakola. This river overflowed during the statewide floods of 2005 on July 26, 2005 and caused massive damage to slums and housing societies along its banks. Some buildings were under ten feet of water.
Kalina has been experiencing high growth over the past few years. The area lies midway between two suburban stations of Kurla and Santa Cruz, which are on the Central and Western Railway Lines respectively. It is also close to the Bandra-Kurla complex and only 15 minutes from the domestic terminals of the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Kalina is also an emerging hub for commercial real estate and private companies with big names such as Microsoft, Rolls Royce (Marine Engines), Mudra Communication setting up shop there. The proposed Mumbai Police Headquarters will be in Kalina. The Santa Cruz-Chembur link road will run through Kalina as part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
The Church of Our Lady of Egypt was built in 1606 . The Ganesh Temple is the oldest temple in Kalina and provides yeoman service to residents of Kalina. Thousands of devotees make a pilgrimage here, thus making it an important event in the Kalina calendar. The South Indian Temple is located in Sunder Nagar, a large residential area consisting of row houses. It has become a magnet for tourists from all over Mumbai due to its award winning design. Kalina also has two mosques.
Kalina is home to a number of schools and colleges besides the Kalina Campus of the University of Mumbai and the Govt. College of Pharmacy. The Saint Mary's School had its origin as far back as 1876 and was known as The Little Portuguese School when Fr. Custodio Fernandes was the Vicar. The school came into prominence around the year 1912; The number of students increased from 130 to 180 and a temporary structure was built in 1914 to accommodate the growing number. The only problem was that the villagers were not willing to pay any fees and hence the Diocese of Daman and the Bombay Catholic Welfare Organization had to render financial help. By now most well off families sent their children to school in Bandra, the girls at St. Joeseph Convent and the boys at St. Stanislaus and St. Andrews. The children had no transport facilities in those days and would walk the distance daily. In 1936, His Grace the Archbishop of Bombay took special interest and seeing that there was an urgent need for a good building made a substantial gift of Rs. 7000/- and with the efforts of the Vicar and his assistant they managed to get a subscription of Rs. 1100/- from the public. The Foundation stone was laid by Mr. Katrak, the manager of the Kurla Estate. The new building had four large well ventilated rooms and could accommodate 200 pupils. The strength of the school in 1937 was now 247 pupils, the principal now was Fr. P. Pereira who deserves credit for his able management of the school. Today the school is not only a High School but also a Junior College.
Other notable schools in the vicinity are Mary Immaculate High School, a school run by sisters of Ajmer, the Kalina Education Society School, which was set up by the late M.L.A. Mr.Hans Bhugra and Air India Modern School.
During the state-wide floods in 2005, Air India Colony was flooded with water as much as 5 to 6 metres deep. In many buildings the water had entered in the ground floor & first floor level houses and the people had to take shelter on the upper floors. Rescue boats of Navy were requisitioned deployed in the area. Immediately after the deluge, restoration programme was taken up and portable pumps were installed at Air India colony which helped in early discharge of flood water.
Santa Cruz WestEdit
It is primarily a residential area, with the market situated near the railway station. The residential colonies include such as 1st & 2nd Gauthan Lane [East Indians Village] (where the original inhabitants of Santacruz & Mumbai resied there) Amar Subway Society, the Reserve Bank of India Quarters, Vithaldas Nagar Colony, Sangeeta Apartments, Shree Sai Darshan CHS, Girnar CHS, Rizvi Park, Bansraj Singh Estate, Khotwadi, Bhimwada, T.P.S. 6th Residential colony Ramas Plaza and Khira Nagar, Shastri Nagar,Jeevan Sona society,Main Avenue,Convent Avenue,St. Joseph's Avenue,St. Francis Avenue & Church Avenue. In the past most of the residences used to be small bungalows, which are now being replaced by high rise buildings. Sujata building was Santacruz's first high-rise (one with lift service) built by Raheja builders right across from the police station.It also has Famous Sadhana School which Produced Great Film Musician like Anu Malik.'Santa Cruz (West) is strikingly more affluent than the eastern part of the suburb. It is bordered by Khar, Juhu, and Vile Parle.
The main roads in Santa Cruz(W) are Swami Vivekanand Road, Juhu Road, Juhu Tara Road and Linking Road (now officially called Vithalbhai Patel Marg). PIN code for Santa Cruz (west) is 400054.
The Catholic neighborhood of Santa Cruz(West) is a very pristine and quiet area of Santa Cruz west, with dense lush gardens. It houses the St. Teresa's Girls High School and the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana.
The Old neighborhood belonging to the Saraswat Brahmins is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Mumbai with its private gardens, a private playground and pebbled walkways.