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Bandargah (port)

In the olden days, when old Persian sailors used to sail and dock in an Indian Port, they used to tie their boats at the entrance. Now, The Sanskrit word for a tie is “bandh”. And for entrance is “dwar”. So the place where they parked their boats, became a portmanteau of these two words.

Hence, The Persian word for a port is Bandar. That’s why the city, which is the main base of the Iranian navy, is called Bandar Abbas. Literally, the port of Abbas. And that word has traveled, across the seas to different countries. The Indonesian City of Banda Aceh. Same origin.

And The City where the once upon-a-time richest man in the world, The Sultan of Brunei, with 150 Rolls Royces lives, Bandar Seri Begawan. If you are a port city in Iran, chances are you will be Called Bandar. And it has some nice relations closer home as well.

Even before Mumbai became a bustling metropolis, it was still a trading point. Most of it used to happen from the eastern coast of Mumbai. And the area it was concentrated, it was littered with sacks, of goods. Sacks are called Boris in Marathi. So that area was called Bori Bandar. And how do we know Bori Bandar better. Well, that was the site chosen, by the GIPR, to build what was then called Victoria Terminus.

And a few km from Bori Bunder was another port, which used to trade in Hilsa Fish. Hilsa is also called Palla Fish. So it became Palla Bunder. Portuguese corrupted it to Pollem Bandar. And when Brits got the island in dowry they renamed it Apollo Bunder. And how do we know Apollo Bunder? That is where the British built what we call the Gateway of India. Even today, so many places in Mumbai have Bunder in their names.

Now you know why it is called Bunder. It is amazing how the Sanskrit portmanteau “Tied to the Door” can inspire the names of so many places, across different continents.