Hornby Vellard

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The Hornby Vellard was a project to build a causeway uniting all seven islands of Bombay into a single island with a deep natural harbour. The project was started by the governor William Hornby in 1782 and all islands were linked by 1838. The word vellard appears to be a local corruption of the Portuguese word vallado meaning fence or embankment.[1]

The purpose of this causeway was to block the Worli creek and prevent the low-lying areas of Bombay from being flooded at high tide. The cost was estimated at about Rs. 100,000. It was completed in 1784 and was one of the first major civil engineering projects which transformed the original seven islands of Bombay into one island.

According to some accounts, Hornby ordered the work to be started after the East India Company turned down his proposal; and continued as Governor till the end of his term in 1784, ignoring the suspension notice sent to him. [2]

One story of the origin of the Mahalaxmi temple links it to this project. The chief engineer for the project dreamed of a statue of the Hindu goddess Laxmi in the sea following multiple collapses of the sea-wall. Such a statue was then recovered, and the temple was built with it as the idol, as an offering for successful completion of this undertaking.


  1. ^ Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases By Henry Yule, Arthur Coke Burnell, William Crooke; pub. 1903 John Murray, London
  2. ^ p. 23 ff. A History of the Mahrattas By James Grant Duff, Published 1921 H. Milford, Oxford,