Once upon a time there was a house on a hill…

Ruins of the 19th century home overlooking Land's End, Bandra
Ruins of the 19th century home overlooking Land’s End, Bandra

Land’s End or Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Point is a peninsula comprised of Bandra Fort and its adjoining area, including the hill that rises above it.

As the southern-most tip of Bandra, Land’s End played a critical role in the history of the suburb in the 17th and 18th centuries. Capitalising on its strategic location overlooking Mahim Bay, the entrance to Mahim creek and the erstwhile islands of Bombay to the south, the Portuguese built a fort and military outpost at Land’s End in 1640. The Castella de Aguada or ‘Fort of the Waterpoint’ was named after the area’s fresh water springs and housed a garrison of soldiers. In fact, the popular Mount Mary Church was built for use by the soldiers who were stationed at the Castella de Aguada, today known as Bandra Fort. From 1661, with the British in control of the islands of Bombay, the Fort assumed great strategic value, situated as it was between two foreign powers – the British and the Portuguese.

View across the Mahim Bay today
View across the Mahim Bay today

The early 18th century witnessed a decline in Portuguese power and their defeat by the Marathas in 1739. At this time, the Castella de Aguada was destroyed by the British in an effort to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Marathas. Bandra would eventually come under British control in 1775, after a short period in the possession of the Marathas.

Whilst the Fort is relatively well known and very frequented, fewer visitors make the climb up the hill above it. Here lie the ruins of the 19th century home of Parsi businessman and philanthropist, Byramjee Jeejeebhoy. Little remains of the house today, but clearly visible are the remains of the structure’s plinth and windows that once framed a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. A little further away are the ruins of what is likely to have been a guest house, or servant’s quarters. You can’t miss the stone steps at the entrance to the out-house that are amongst its only surviving remnants.

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So much history

 

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Carved stone steps to the out-house

Byramjee Jeejeebhoy acquired this land from the British East India Company in 1850. In addition to building his residence on the hill, Jeejeebhoy spent much of his personal wealth to develop its surroundings. In 1878, Jeejeebhoy funded the construction of the sea road connecting the Land’s End to St. Andrews Church and the rest of Bandra. Popularly known as Bandstand, the road is officially named after Byramjee Jeejeebhoy even today. 

 

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Hidden ruins

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The area has had a tumultuous recent history, but that’s the subject of another post. For now, the gorgeous green garden was grown and continues to be maintained by the Bandra Bandstand Resident’s Association. Go visit.

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3 thoughts on “Once upon a time there was a house on a hill…

  1. Hi! Thank you for this article, it has been really helpful, as I could not demarcate the exact ruins of the Jeejeebhoy House when I went once, and pictures in general don’t help as well. Could I possibly contact you through Twitter, as I am working on a related project?

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