I have had a few emails asking me whether my name is Charni or if I use the name because my studio is on Charni Road in Mumbai, India. I can unequivocally say that when I was born, my Mother called me Charni, it was lucky, as I then did not have to come up with a stage name! I have not actually been to India, though I would love to one day, and when I do, I will most certainly visit Charni Road!
Charni of Belly Dance Lessons Online would like to be standing here one day!
Charni Road is a railway station on the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway near the Girgaum Chowpatti beach and Marine Drive promenade, which is a major tourist destination in Mumbai. It is not actually a road itself as the railway station is located on Marhashi Karve Road, a very busy street full of shops, hotels and restaurants. Charni Road can also refer to the surrounding neighbourhood, just to make it a little confusing!
To help solve this mystery, according to this fascinating Facebook page I found, Charni Road Station is located near land that used to be used for grazing lands for cattle and horses (Charne in Marathi means to graze) It seems that in 1838, the British rulers introduced a ‘grazing fee’ which several cattle-owners could not afford (those pesky British lol! I must have a word with my ancestors!). Therefore, Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy spent 20,000 of his own money (yay!) to buy some grasslands near the seafront at Thakurdwar and did not charge a fee for grazing, helping both the farmers and the cattle. People started referring to the area as “Charni” meaning grazing. So when a railway station was constructed there it was called Charni Road.
Today Charni Road area is well-known for its Chawls (interesting apartment buildings), wholesale diamond markets (Opera House), clothes, cafés, traditional Maharashtrian culture (Girgaon), and tall skyscrapers.
A view of Charni Road
I hope that answers your questions, I would love it if someone from the Charni Road area sent me pictures as extra motivation for me to come! I can then film something for Belly Dance Lessons Online live at the station!