The other Panvel, to my right as I get off the train, is, not unlike Mumbai, an old town in a new world. Historically both a port and a trading town, Panvel was once the rice bowl of the north Konkan, with its famous Bazaar Peth, Mirchi and Kapad Gallis. Panvel Gaon dates back to 1725, when the Bapat Wada was built. It was elevated in the 1800s, when migrants from the Konkan were populating Bombay, and Panvel Shahar was an alternate place to make a home. When you talk to old-timers, they tell you that a newcomer could always find home in Bapat Wada and a job in Dhootpapeshwar, the ayurvedic factory. While the factory is gone, the wada still shelters several hundred residents.
Written by one of my architecture professors in India, this essay took me back to the town that I spent 14 years in and very little seems to have changed. Perhaps that's how Panvel is. Change is at the pace of an elephant trudging along.
[Link to Panvel - Perpetually in Transition]