Bhandup is a suburb of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, in the state of Maharashtra, India and is also the name of a railway station on the Mumbai suburban railway on the Central Railway line. The word Bhandup is derived from the name Bhandupeshwar, which is one of the names of Lord Shiva. An old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva - the Bhandupeshwar Mahadev Mandir - still stands in Bhandup West.
The earliest records for Bhandup come from 1803, and show that the erstwhile Bhandup estate comprised Bhandup, Nahur and Kanjur Marg. The following is an excerpt from the Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency:
Bhandup, in Salsette, four miles (6 km) South-west of Thana, with, in 1881, a population of 884 souls, has a railway station and a post-office. the railway traffic returns show an increase in passengers from 29,988 in 1873 to 51,664 in 1880 and in goods from 126 to 143 tons. It is the nearest railway station, about four miles (6 km), to Tulsi Lake. The Kanheri caves lie 2 miles (3.2 km) beyond Tulsi, but the road from Borivli station on the Baroda railway though not so pretty is shorter and easier. In 1803, on payment of a quit-rent, the East India Company granted the major part of Bhandup and parts of two other villages to Mr. Luke Ashburner, alderman of Bombay and editor of the Bombay Courier. In 1817, Mr. Ashburner sold the estate, together with the contract for supplying the government rum, to his manager Mr. Kavasji Mankeji Ashburner for a sum of £50,000 (Rs. 5,00,000). In 1832, machinery was brought from England to work the distillery, and in that year, about 100000 gallons of rum are said to have been supplied to the government.
Mr. Bell, in his excise report dated 1 October 1869 wrote: "The Bhandup distillery was started to supply European troops with rum. Besides to the troops, considerable quantities of rum found its way to Bombay." In 1857, the government stopped the rum contract and the distillery ceased to prosper and shut down in 1878. It was re-opened in 1879-80 but has again been closed."
A copper-plate found near Bhandup, about 1835, records the grant by Chhitarajadev Silhara in AD 1026 of a field in the village of Nour, the modern Naura, two miles (3 km) north of Bhandup. Other villages mentioned in the grant are Gomvanni, probably the modern Govhan, and Gorapavalli, perhaps an old name of Bhandup. The boundary of the field to the north and east was a main road, or rajapatha, which apparently ran from Thana much along the line of the present Bombay-Thana road.
The Silaharas, also known as Shilahara, were a mixture of people from Dravidian ancestry and the Kayastha Prabhus from Konkan. The Silaharas promoted the socio-economic progress in the 11th century around Bombay. To control the regions in Bombay and Thane, the built the Rajapatha, passing from the north of Bhandup, following the current Bombay-Thane road.
Historical records indicate that the distillery at Bhandup was one of the two biggest sources of liquor (other being the Uran distillery) in the Bombay Presidency. The Report on the administration of the Bombay Presidency (1873–1874) notes that:
The only other factories in the Presidency deserving of mention are a silk factory at Tanna, a dyeing factory at Wassind, tanning factories at Bandora, and brick fields at Kallian. At Uran, Chembur and Bhandup there are liquor distilleries on a larger scale than any in the rest of the Presidency, which supply almost all the liquor consumed in the city of Bombay. All these factories are in the Tanna Collectorate, and have doubtless sprung up in that district owing to its vicinity to the Presidency town.
The report also gives an idea of why the large tracts of land in the modern-era Bhandup East continue to be marsh lands owned by the Salt Department of India: