History Of Vile Parle

  Vile Parle, A railway station on Mumbai suburban western     railway is a small town with a distinct personality. It is interesting to find out everything about this small Village and how it gained its current glory over the years. Here’s the story....

Long time ago around 1897, some rich businessmen came down to the western suburbs and bought real estate on a large scale in villages of Idlai Padlai. Vile Parle was the name given to these cluster of villages near Juhu and hence prospered. These areas were filled with quick sand and hence were reclaimed and a small airport was built. Juhu development scheme was then started. This western part along with the eastern International Airport together was known as Santacruz Airport.

It is now close of Vile Parle due to the adjacent Western Express Highway. Vile Parle station was constructed in 1906. In last 30 years, Parle has seen an all round development in cultural, educational and commercial sectors. Although the old world charm seems to have diminished, there is still a sense of warmth and welcome in the streets of Parle. When Mumbai became crowded, Cooperative housing societies developed. Educated middle class families came together and new institutions were developed in 1950. This was when Parle was included in Mumbai Municipal Corporation as K Ward. In olden times, life in Parle was slow and relaxed. People valued relationships and connected daily on a personal level. They built houses on their own, questioned the Municipal Corporation. It was easier to get work done.
Parlekars then were mostly Maharashtrians with a distinct Puneri flavor. People were influenced by the Tilak school of thought. Slowly they started interacting with Gujaratis and collaborated with them to get many new projects done. New businesses were undertaken, factories were setup and trade was expended. They embraced latest technology and knowledge. Everyone united to setup Cooperative institutions and academies. Some were financers, some actual workers, some managers and some administrators. Wealth was accumulated. There were trysts and collision of thoughts but it was all kept within manageable limits. They were proud of their lineage but at the same time ready to accept change for the betterment of future. Soon Parle became a place of which Mumbaikars were proud of.

Origin of Parle:

A small village located at about 3 miles from Bandra where people used to fish and farm to sustain and take care of their day today lives. Many of them embraced Christianity and were disciplined under the strict laws of the church. Cosmopolitan culture was established during the British era. BB and CI railways started between Virar to Colaba on 19th April 1867. Eventually Vile Parle got separated into eastern and western zones. A village named Padle near Santacruz and Irle near Andheri and the station named Vidlai Padlai led to the name Vile Parle. In this village, there was huige colony of Christians named as padale. Current southern village region has the Bhandar wada as an independent colony. The old road near Bhandar Wada and Padale joint the Sahar village via bullock carts. Hence there is a railway crossing at Padale.

St. Xaviers Church:

Near the level crossing on the western side, St Xaviers church was established in 1868 which saw the commencement of St. Francis school. The opening of this school was doen by St Vincent de Paul societies Pariah Conference. Population of the village around that time was about 3000. The students who used to learn here were from the poor Christian families. In 1882, Anglo Portuguese education school was started. By 1917, Parle population rose up to about 5000 which had a maximum percentage of Christians and about 400-500 Gujaratis. Western Parle, Laxmi Chowk started celebrations during Durgastami. Volunteers took responsibility of cleaning, seating arrangements etc. Thus utsav saw the participation from the boys and girls of all age group. Traditional folk dances like Dandiya, Raas, Garba were performed during navratri festival. On the last day, a hom used to be performed and Mata Amba was immersed in water. Hence festivities started in Parle.
Vile parle’s original owner was Wadia a ship building businessman. He received a pension of Rs 4000 per year from the British Govt but according to age old concept of money investment, 
the Wadia’s purchased Juhu and Parle.  They signed a contractual bond up to 1843. The purpose of selling these 2 villages to Mr. Wadia was to increase the population and to increase the amount in treasury. Mr. Wadia had to improve the living conditions in these villages by digging wells, arranging for food, clothing and shelter in order to attract crowd and to sustain a decent population. Wadia used to collect tax from the villagers and pay it to the government. After him, Shri Barve and Shri Agashe were the chief managers of Wadia trust. They increased the annual trust income to Rs 17,700. When the Vile Parle station was established, the residential population increased. Then trustee of Wadia trust Shri Madhav Dixit, came to stay in Parle. According to his suggestions, many middle calls people, purchased land and built homes there. Others constructed chawls and leased them on rent. This is how Parle population developed.

Education development :

 English medium education upto Std 4th was undertaken by St. Joseph Church till the end of last centry. In 1911, new building of the school was built. In 1955, a huge new building was contructed and education upto SSC was made available by 1964.
Colleges – Parle college commerce building was started in 1960. Another plot was purchased and Shri M.L. Dahanukar College was started. Primary English medium school was started in 1982. Vile parle Kelvani Mandal (1917) includes Mithibai college of Arts, 
Chauhan Institute of Science and Amrutben Jivanlal college of Commerce and Economics along with 17 other institutes training in a variety of vocations. Smt Gokulabai Poonamchand Pitambar High School Parle west (1936), Sharadabai Chitale Balmandir (1938).

Social institutions :

The educational institutions have done exceptional developments and so have the social institutions like Lokmanya Seva Sangh in the field of social causes. May it be a musical concert or a literary event, it is rest assured to be of top quality. Every old and new resident of Vile Parle is extremely proud of their place. Since a long time, it has independently existed and survived as a town on its own. A town with national integrity, social awareness, intellectual setup and a truly art loving society. The spirit of Parle lies in the fact that there is a sense of belonging in the hearts of its citizens. In spite of a middle class setup, Parlekars did bring up the prestigious Tilak mandir with all its amenities like Gym, Tailoring classes, lecture demonstrations, Exhibitions etc on its tow. Educational institutions like PTVA, housing schemes like Paranjpe builders, music circles like Vile Parle music circle, theaters like Dinanath Mangeshkar auditorium make Parle proud. Parlekars are known for bringing the famous leaders and authors at Tilak Mandir like Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, P.L. Deshpande.

Simple living, flawless character, respect for knowledge, straight forward opinions, good management of business is the sign of a good human being. There are many such people in Parle.

Lokmanya Seva Sangh ( Tilak Mandir ):

Lokmanya Seva Sangh (Tilak mandir) was established in the year 1923, taking into consideration the need for the common man to participate in the socio cultural interaction with respect to religious, social and national awareness. In those days untouchabity was practiced. To let go of this practice, festivals were celebrated. Ex: Ganpati festival. The promotion of Swadeshi movement, the salt Satywgraha, Chale Jao movement, Bharat Chodo Andolan  etc .  had its volunteers getting shelter under the roof of Lokmanya Seva Sangh. In 1947, population in Parle was approximately 20,000. On the eve of independence at 12:00 AM, Tilak mandir hoisted the flag and sang vande matatram amidst the presence of about 2500 people. The glorious moment was celebrated by Parlekar’s as well. Lokmanya Seva Sangh boasts of a Gym, Library, playground, tailoring classes, various halls holding lecture demonstrations, cultural programs, exhibitions etc. Ganesh utsav is also celebrated here and there are numerous competitions held for youngsters.

 Medical Service Sector :

On 29th Oct. 1967, Bal Rog Pratibandh Kendra was started in Tilak mandir by federation of social institutions in Vile Parle with the collaborative efforts of Shri. D.B. Kulkarni and Dr. S.V. Tilak.

The 1st Mumbai Sahitya Sammelan was held on 20th Oct 1929 in Lokmanya Seva Sangh. The guest of honour was the great Rajkavi Chandrashekhar.

Vile Parle Gujarati mandal at Shraddhanand road (Vile Parle east) was established in
1938.Shri Narsee Monjee was the proprietor of Golden Tobacco Company from 1887 to 1944.

On 9th May 1928, Juhu flying club was established and in 1932 by J.R.D. Tata.The Juhu Areodrome was constructed. On 15th Oct. 1932, Mr. JRD Tata came to Mumbai from Karachi on Juhu Airport on a Pusmoth make plane. When people realized that Mumbai suburban Juhu area should have a flying club, specialized in training pilots, it was established. Some of the respected flying members included Dr. Phiroz Sethna, Ibrahim Rahimtullah, Fazalbhuoy, Karimbuoy, Shapurjee Billimoriya, D.B. Mukherjee, J.B. Pradhan, E.D.Sasoon, M.R.Jaikar and many others. The area which was reclaimed was about 100 acres owned by the Wadia’s.


Paranjape’s Parleshwar mandir (1912), Gokhale’s Shri Ram mandir (1913) and Thosar’s Shri Hanuman mandir (1918) are various historical temples in Vile Parle. Jain mandir was built in 1921 established by Smt. Maniben Nanavati at Dadabhai road (Parle west). Shri Mahalaxmi mandir (1934) established at Ram mandir road by Late Shri. Shankar and Smt. Gangabai Kunte. Shri Dwarkadhish mandir near Thanawala lane at Tejpal road (1936). Upasani maharaj mandir at Ajmal road (Parle east). Sanyas Ashram was built in 1938. 


 Parle Products - Biscuit Factory started in 1929, Shri Narottam Mohanlal Chavan returned from Germany and applied the confectionary knowledge from his trip to setting up their own factory which is now world renowned.

United Ink and Varnish Company Pvt Ltd. - Pre independence era Brahmin families had its youngsters getting educated and doing jobs. Business was considered risky and was a rarity. But an exception to this was Late Shri Vinayakrao Sathaye who started United Ink and varnish company Pvt Ltd. after completing his MSC. in Chemistry instead of going in for a teaching or a clerical job. This company produced Phenyls and Oils.

Old heritages:

Juhu has Janaki Kutir, owned by the Birlas. There used to be huge rush to worship Gandhiji in the evenings for the evening prayers. Gandhiji used to go for a stroll on Juhu beach in the mornings. Juhu boasts of many plush clubs, eateries, restaurants and 5 Star Hotels as well as the bunglows of some of the richest people in Mumbai. The Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mandir is a few blocks away from Janaki Kutir.

Mor Bangla – A huge property developed by Shri Goardandas Gokuldas Tejpal in 1904. It was a a palatial structure with a brass peacock shaped fixture on its dome. The 4 acre area was enclosed with a stone compound. It took 5 years to complete. The dome of the bungalow was magnificently laced with a colourful mosaic of glass and so were the doors and windows. The room spacious, innumerable fountains, gardens and windmills with an independent cowshed and swimming pool. In 1942, Tejpal heirs sold this property to many tenants hence it lost its glory. Post 1957, then bungalow started disintegrating slowly. Today it holds upon it the latest Agarwal market, Municipal market and Master Dinanath Mangeshkar natyagruha. Since Tejpal’s donated the land next to station for roads and market, they are named after them. Besides Mor Bungalow, the Tejpal’s had a huge stretch of land where they developed a network of roads and sold it. It was named the Tejpal Scheme. In 1920-23, 24 feet wide double stone soling Scheme No 1 roads in Parle were established. In 1925, posts and telegraph offices were started.  

Medical facilities:

Medical facilities- Dr. Hari Bedekar clinic (1818) was the first medical facility in Parle east. Dr. Prabhudas Bania’s clinic (1905) and Dr. Bhandarkar’s bungalow in 1920 were some of the earliest clinics in Parle.

Parle personalities:

Parle bestows upon us, a huge historical influence in the form of its profound cultural heritage. How could we forget, the brave Capt. Vinayak Gore or the great Shri Makarand Ghanekar. Talented artists like Shri. Vinay Apte, Shri. Vivek Apte, Shri. Sachin Khedekar,Shri. Pradip Velankar are the products of Parle culture.

We have Dr. Snehalata Deshmukh, Prof. M.D. Limaye, Dr. Madhavi Pethe in the field of education. Mr. Madhav and Mrs. Asha Khadilkar, Shri. Shridhar Phadke, Smt. Sushila Pohankar, Shri. Ajay Pohankar in the musical field render their own unique aura to the Parle legacy. Born in Parle are the golden hearted Shri. Anna Sathe, the Sathe’s in painting business, the ever friendly Appa Joglekar, the literary connoisseur  Shri Dilip Bhogle, senior actor Shri. Vikran Gokhale, authors like Sumedh Risbud and Rajendra Mantri, all who have made a mark in their respective fields. Vyas Sangeet Vidyalaya sowed the seeds of music in Parle with its 3 generation masteros, Shri Ramchandra Vyas, Shri. Prabhakar Vyas and  Shri. Kiran Vyas. Parle leads in the political field with Mayor Ramesh Prabhu who made us proud by becoming the mayor of Mumbai. Even names of Parle roads and structures have a historical significance.Ex: V. S. Khandekar Marg, Sant Janabai Marg, Prabodhankar Thackrey swimming pool, D. S. Siroor home.

We have Mr Avinash Prabhavalkar of Hridayesh Arts and Nila Ravindra of Prathamesh organization who have contributed greatly in the cultural life of Parle.

With a confluence of old and new, Parle has turned out to be one of the most progressive suburbs in cosmopolitian Mumbai, but for us it is still a small village 'Amcha Parla' 

-----   By Prajakta Sarwate Sathe 

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