Altamount or Altamont? The correct spelling of this upmarket street has always been a topic of debate among the old and new residents of this residential area in South Mumbai even though it was renamed S K Barodawalla Marg several years ago. The name change has done little to deter residents and passersby alike to refer to the road as Altamount, which runs parallel to Pedder Road. Home to several consulates, the road hit the headlines a few years back after one of the costliest homes, Antilia, built by Reliance Industries boss Mukesh Ambani, came up there.
“There is a dispute over the correct spelling between the old and new residents. While the old residents say the correct spelling is Altamont, the new ones spell it as Altamount. There is not much known about the history behind this name. The road name was later changed to S K Barodawalla. We know he was a gentleman who owned several properties here, which were sold over the years,” said Gautam Watsa, the secretary of Altamount Road Area Citizens Committee.
According to Watsa, only one heritage bungalow, the Bombarci bungalow, remains along the road. Bombarci is the acronym for Bombay, Baroda and Central India, which was the previous name of Western Railway. The WR general manager resides in the bungalow.
According to Saleem Ahmadullah, who has been living along this road since 1969, there were only bungalows along this road at one time, which have given way to apartment complexes over the years. “It was also very green,” he said.
Speaking about the history behind the old name of the road, Ahmadullah added: “According to books written by the British about the history of Bombay, there used to be a bungalow named as Altamont on top of a hill. This bungalow, which was built at least 152 years ago, gave this area its name.”
Another theory, which is attributed to unconfirmed sources, is that this area was named after a Colonel Altamont. “The word ‘mont’ may have been corrupted to ‘mount’ over the years,” said Ahmadullah. This road is known to have one of the most expensive real estates in the city, which the residents say is disputable. “But it still remains a street that seems to belong to a different part of the world…” said Ahmadullah.