How Mumbai Train Stations Were Named

Homegrown Staff

One of the busiest stations, ‘Churchgate’ was named after the old Church Gate demolished in the mid-1860’s. The ancient gate stood as an entrance to the church on the spot that Flora Fountain stands today. It formed the boundary of south Mumbai in the 16th centuries.

The first theory proposes a literal translation of ‘Charni’ which means grazing. In the past, several grazing lands for horses and cattle were located near the station, which was aptly inculcated into the name.

The word ‘Matunga’ originates from the Marathi word, matang or elephant, owing to the belief that tuskers from Raja Bhimdev’s army were stationed in the area around the 12th century. During the British Raj, Matunga served as an artillery station but was abandoned by 1835 except for a couple of small hamlets housing the descendants of former menials at the military camp.

While few believe that this station and suburb is named after the politically active Gore (spelled Go-ray) family, who lived on the Western side of the suburb, others are of the opinion that the area got its name gore-gaon - the ‘white village’ since it was a large milk-producing centre since earlier times. 

Named after the site of the ancient port of ‘Shurparaka’ or ‘Sopara’- one of the oldest port towns in India dating back to more than 1000 years, it is believed to be Solomon’s Ophir by some scholars, and also said to be Shurparaka, the place where the Pandavas rested during their exile mentioned in the epic Mahabharata.

One of the busiest stations on the central line, ‘Kurla’ originated from ‘Kurli’, the local name for crab, (as these were found in plenty in marshes in the vicinity) before it became a sub-urban locality.