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Orlem is a neighbourhood in Malad, a suburb of Mumbai, India. The name "Orlem" is often colloquially used for the Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Malad, which includes Orlem and its neighboring areas. The original name of Orlem in the local language of the state (Marathi) is Valnai. The Indian postal zip code 400064 serves the Orlem neighborhood.
Orlem was one of the many East Indian villages that existed in Malad. Its inhabitants were primarily engaged in agriculture and fishing. Orlem originally consisted of a primary population of Roman Catholics. The main ethnic group within the Catholic community were East Indians followed by Goans, Mangloreans and other regional communities. In the 19th century, Orlem was a hamlet of 12 families. The families were the D'limas, D'souzas, etc. Joseph Maria Braz de Souza, of the Principal family of Valnai, built a private chapel at his own expense in 1880 dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes at Orlem. He was a former chaplain of military forces at Satara from 1861 to 1886.
In 1882, Bishop Leo Meurin declared officially that this chapel, under the chaplainship of Fr. D'Souza was part of the Apostolate of Bombay and affiliated to the church of Our Lady of Assumption, Kandivli. In 1908, Fr. D'Souza was elevated to the dignity of CAMARIERE SEGREDO EXTRA URBEM to Pius X. He died in December 1912 and was buried in the sanctuary of the chapel that he built. As per the wishes of Msgr. J.M.B. D'Souza, in his will, that a priest from his family should be his successor, Fr. Justin D'Souza was lent by the Bishop of Daman to the Archdiocese of Bombay and appointed Chaplain at Orlem. He carried on the good work of Msgr. D'Souza and his brother Fr. Elias who bequeathed all his properties to the church. Fr. Justin built the first school, the St Anne's High School, in 1915. Through his efforts, Orlem was constituted a separate parish, in a decree dated 2 July 1916.
Fr. Justin extended the church and was assisted in this effort by Mrs. Mary Magdalene D'Souza who financed the elevation for the choir. Fr. Justin also donated all his lands to the Archdiocese and, the Cardinal Gracias Colony later developed on the land that Fr. Justin had donated for the welfare of Orlem. The parish priests that helped to raise Orlem to its present stature include Fr. Herman Mendes, Fr. Celestine Fonseca, Fr. Walter D’Souza, Msgr. Staney Pereira, Fr. Peter C. Gomes and Fr. Frank Noronha, who ventured to start the construction of the new school building in 1959. In the year 1976, Fr. Octavian Dias worked hard to make possible a new extension to the school, a Parochial House and the new Church.
Since the Solemn Inauguration of the new Church on Sunday 6 June 1976, by the then Rt. Rev. Dr, Simon Pimenta, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, there has been huge rise in the Catholic population (highest in the whole world in terms of per parish. Although Orlem now boasts of being a highly developed commercial as well as residential area, it still maintains its original ambiance. It has come a long way from being a simple village to one of the most attractive places in Bombay (Mumbai). The borders of Orlem are not clearly defined nor is it considered to be a matter of debate or concern. Orlem is sometimes considered to be the umbrella of the other smaller villages of Kharodi, Kanchpada, Rathodi etc. Today Kharodi and Rathodi do not belong to the Orlem parish.
As there is no known origin of the name Orlem, besides "Our Lady Malad", a popular nursery rhyme is often attributed to its origin
Orlem is situated at the northern part of Mumbai in the western suburb of Malad. It is within the innards of Malad and can only be reached by road. Orlem branches from the main road called Marve Road, which is the main route to Marve beach from the Swami Vivekanand Road. Orlem is accessible from the Malad Railway station through the bus routes 243, 270, 271, 272, 273, 281,622 and 345.
The Our lady of Lourdes Church , established in 1916, is the kernel spot and landmark for Orlem. It is also known as the Orlem Church. Many major B.E.S.T. bus routes stop at "Orlem Church" and some routes terminate here. According to a Church census conducted in 2004, it was the largest parish in the Archdiocese of Bombay. The Orlem parish is divided into eight zones.
The major zones in Orlem are:
- Tank Colony
- Joe Braz Colony (J.B.C.)
- Lourdes Colony
- Evershine Nagar
- Somwar Bazar & Liberty Garden
- D'monte Lane
Orlem was traditionally inhabited by the East Indians. According to a 2004 Church census, there were around 7,000 Tamil Catholics in the Orlem parish. With the huge boom of the call centre service industry in the 2000s, Orlem witnessed a large influx of young working class executives. The real estate value of Orlem has increased considerably in past few years.
Many businesses have grown in and around Orlem. Farm Products and 20th Century Store are some of the oldest stores in the locality. The "D'souza Market" popularly known as the "Orlem Market" was started by Mr. Wency D'souza and is the neighborhood grocery store. A number of restaurants and eateries have also sprung up in Orlem. Famous restaurants like Uncle's Kitchen, Malwani Kalvan and J.B Dynasty .Shopping malls such as 'Inorbit Mall’, ‘Hypercity’ 'D-Mart'& the new 'infinity mall' are close to Orlem.
The major schools in Orlem are St. Anne's High School and Junior College,St. Anne International School, Shri Balaji International School , Carmel Of St. Joseph at Adarsh Lane, Off Marve Road and St. Joseph's School,Orlem, started by Miss Bertha Pereira in 1956 . Ryan International School is close to Orlem.
Orlem is home to a growing sport (Football Freestyle / Freestyle Soccer). Adrian DSouza (Former Indian Field Hockey Goalkeeper) hails from Orlem