Mumbai Religious Places

Mumba Devi Temple

Mumba Devi Temple
Location: Bhuleshwar, in South Mumbai
Built in: 18th century
Dedicated to: Mumba Devi (a form of Shakti)
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Mumba Devi Temple is the most talked of shrine of Mumbai. It is sited at Bhuleshwar, in the southern part of the Commercial Capital of India. It is dedicated to Goddess Mumba, who is considered as the patron deity of Koli fishermen – the first inhabitants of Bombay. If truth be told, Mumbai has been named after ‘Mumba Devi’. The Goddess is identified as the form of ‘Shakti’ and is worshipped by people with the utmost devotion.

According to the legends, Mumbadevi Temple was the result of attacks by Mumbarka – a cruel monster, who used to plunder the city for fun. Frightened by the violence of Mumbarka, the city inhabitants kept their situation before Lord Brahma. It is regarded that Lord Brahma made a Goddess, who had eight arms, to slaughter the demon. The Goddess killed the demon and consequently, she came to be known as ‘Mumba’.

In 1739, the temple of Mumbadevi was constructed at Bori Bunder that currently makes the site of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It was later destroyed and rebuilt at the present site of Bhuleshwar. The temple doesn’t have any extraordinary architecture. In the sanctum sanctorum, the image of Mumba Devi appears divine, dressed in rich clothes and adorned with a silver crown, a nose stud and a golden necklace.

On the left side, you can see Goddess Annapurna mounted on a Peacock. Goddess Mumba is depicted without mouth, which symbolizes the Mother Earth. There are other shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Maruti, Mahadev, Indrayani, Murlidhar, Jagannath, Narsoba and Balaji in the temple complex. Till date, Mumba Devi is worshipped by Koli fisher folks and Dravidians in the most sumptuous manner.

Mahalaxmi Temple

Location: On B. Desai Road, Breach Candy, Mumbai
Built in: 1785
Dedicated To: Goddess Lakshmi
How to Reach: One can easily reach Mahalaxmi Temple by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Mahalaxmi Temple MumbaiA long flight of steps on the rim of the Arabian Sea takes one to the revered shrine of Mahalakshmi. Sited on the northern side of Malabar hills, at B. Desai Road in Breach Candy, Mahalaxmi is one of the most-visited shrines in Bombay. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu and the Goddess of Wealth according to the Hindu Mythology. ‘Navaratri’ is the special festival, when people from far-off places come to observe the gala time at the temple.

Distinguished for its probing history and piousness, Mahalakshmi Temple boasts of a richly ornamented main gateway. In its complex, you can see numerous stalls selling flower garlands and paraphernalia that make an offering to the Goddess. Inside the sanctum sanctorum, the presiding images are of Goddess Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati. However, Goddess Lakshmi is the principal deity, from whom the temple imbibed its name.

The bejeweled images of the Goddesses augment the spiritual aura of the temple. It is believed that the Goddess grants boons and fulfills all the wishes of her ardent devotees. With firm belief, people come to this holy shrine to get blessings from the Goddess. The historical evidences reveal that the temple was constructed as per the instructions of Goddess Lakshmi. Its origin is connected with the creation of Hornby Vellard.

As a result of violent tides, the engineers were not able to join the Mahalaxmi area with Worli by constructing Breach Candy. The plan was difficult and eventually, engineers dropped the plan. On one fortunate day, Mahalakshmi appeared in the dream of the Chief Engineer of the project and asked him to make her shrine at the current place. Consequently the temple was built somewhere around 1785. After it, the Breach Candy was successfully built. 

Siddhivinayak Temple

Location: Prabhadevi in Mumbai
Built By: Mr. Laxman Vithu and Mrs. Deubai Patil
Built In: 1801
Dedicated To: Lord Ganesha
How to Reach: One can easily reach here by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Siddhivinayak Temple MumbaiSiddhivinayak Temple is a highly revered shrine of Lord Ganesha in India. Dating back to the early nineteenth century, the temple was built by Mr. Laxman Vithu and Mrs. Deubai Patil in 1801. Sited at Prabhadevi, Siddhi Vinayak Temple is definitely one of the most visited temples of Mumbai. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the ‘Lord of Beginnings’ as per the Hindu Mythology. The temple has a small hall, where the image of Shri Siddhi Vinayak is placed gracefully in the shrine.

The wooden main gate of the shrine is engraved with various images of Ashtavinayak, which symbolize the eight manifestations of Lord Ganesha. In the sanctum sanctorum, the gold-plated ceiling makes the worthy crown of the Lord. Ganpati is depicted with four arms, while holding a lotus flower, an axe, platter of modakas and a garland of beads respectively in each of his hands. The image is flanked by Riddhi and Siddhi, two consorts of Lord Ganesha.

Near the main entrance of the temple complex, there is a beautiful image of Lord Hanuman. Tuesday is believed to be the ruling day of Lord Ganesha, so people come in large numbers on this day. In the year 1994, Siddhi Vinayak Temple was renovated to embrace the huge crowd. During the celebratory time of Ganesh Chaturthi, the temple is visited by inestimable number of people. It is said that Lord fulfills all the wishes of his loyal devotees.

A major landmark of Prabhadevi, Siddhi Vinayak Temple is well-known among the Hindus. ‘Phool Gali’ is a narrow street outside the temple that is a hub of many flower sellers. You can see a tight security within and outside the temple, to ensure safety of the people and the temple. At the time of Angaraki and Sankashti Chaturthi, the minutest space available at the temple gets occupied. Come to Mumbai, pay a visit to Shri Siddhi Vinayak and receive his blessings.

Mount Mary Church

Location: Bandra West, Mumbai
Dedicated to: Virgin Mary
Built in: 1640
Special Attraction: Bandra Fair
How to Reach: One can easily reach Mt Mary Church by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Mount Mary Church MumbaiMount Mary Church is considered to be the oldest in Mumbai city of India. It is situated in the West Bandra, past Hill Road, and was built initially around 1640. There are many beliefs connected with the destruction of the church, which was finally rebuilt in 1761. Mt Mary’s Church is very popular amongst the natives of the city and has been visited by everyone some time or the other. Apart from the main statue, there is another statue of Mother Mary installed outside the church, in front of which people light candles and pray for the welfare of their near and dear ones.

The church is the pride and hallmark of the former city of Bombay and holds a special place in the hearts of the residents. The Marathi community refers to the Mother Mary as Math Mauli and pays due homage to her. The main attraction of the church is the Bandra Fair, which is celebrated in the month of September. The week long festival is a fun filled extravaganza, wherein the church as well as its surroundings is embellished with beautiful decorations. Thousands of people visit the church on this occasion.

Besides, the church complex is dotted with stalls selling Goan sweets and wax idols of Virgin Mary. The sick and suffering, light candles in the church, which are in the shape of hands, feet and other parts of the body. This is done with a hope that Mother Mary will cure them and free them from their afflictions. The statue present in the Church is also an interesting object and has many stories linked with it. The original statue of the Lady was brought here by the Jesuit priests from Portugal, who also built a chapel in16th century.

In 1700, the Arab pirates disfigured the statue to obtain a gold lined object in her hand. The church was rebuilt and the statue was replaced with the statue of Our Lady of Navigators, of St. Andrew’s church, in 1760. According to a letter published in the book ‘St. Andrew’s Church’, Bandra (1616-1966), a Koli fisherman, dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. Later, he actually found this statue floating in the sea. However, in 1761, the original statue was renovated with a child in her arms and is worshiped here ever since.

Located on a hillock, at a height of about 80 m above sea level, Mother Mary Church overlooks the splashing waters of the Arabian Sea. It is thronged by millions of devotees every year and even boasts of miraculous powers which have further strengthened the faith of the pilgrims. The Church is a venerated spot for the people of all religions. Apart from its spiritual fervor, it is also a picturesque location to enjoy the scenic beauty around. The view of serene sunsets and calm waters of the sea from the hillock are awe inspiring. 

ISKCON Temple

Location: Juhu, Mumbai
Dedicated To: Radha-Krishna
Built by: ISKCON Foundation
Highlights: Vedic Educational and Cultural Complex, Architectural Beauty
How to Reach: One can easily reach ISKCON Temple by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

ISKCON Temple MumbaiISKCON Temple of Mumbai, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is one of the forty ISKCON temples across India. Built by the ISKCON Foundation, the elevated spire of this temple dominates the skyline of Juhu in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay). The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has built a chain of temples throughout the world to promulgate the message of Bhagwat Gita. With such endeavor, this cult desires to increase the consciousness about Lord Krishna.

The Iskcon temples are not just places of worship or architectural wonder but are representation of intellectual development. This society was founded by Swami Prabhupada – the divine soul, who preached the philosophy of love and happiness to the mankind. In the close vicinity of Prithvi theatre in Mumbai, Iskcon temple is a major landmark of the Juhu locality. Both, its interior and exterior walls are festooned with frescoes and sculptures.

In the main hall, there are paintings depicting the incidents from the life of Lord Krishna. The unsurpassed architectural magnificence of the temple is worth-seeing. On your visit to this temple, you will see numerous devotees working and chanting the ‘Mahamantra’ (literally the great syllable) granted by Swami Prabhupada. The temple authorities also conduct various educational, cultural and social programs to augment the Vedic wisdom.

The Vedic Educational and Cultural Complex (the Heaven on Earth) is a must-visit place, where the Robot Show presents religious knowledge by using electronic power. If you are feeling hungry, then try the typical Vaishnavite cuisine at Govinda Restaurant. Every evening, the temple gets reverberated with prayers and bhajans (devotional songs), attracting devotees from the nearby areas. Visit the Iskcon Temple of Mumbai and experience the divine ecstasy. 

St Thomas Cathedral

Location: D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai
Kind of Church: Anglican
How to Reach: One can easily reach St Thomas Cathedral by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

St Thomas Cathedral MumbaiSt. Thomas’ Cathedral is a beautiful structure that boasts of being the first Anglican Church in Mumbai. Indeed, the church affirms the moral roots of the budding British settlement in the Financial Hub of India. Built in 1718, St Thomas Cathedral is to be found near Flora Fountain at D.N. Road, in the Fort area of Bombay. In the year 2004, the cathedral was selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage conservation award.

The church derived its name from St. Thomas – a disciple of Christ, who came to establish the faith of Christianity in the southwestern part of India, all along the Malabar Coast. The Cathedral of St. Thomas has been a calm and serene abode for scores of Britons, who were laid to rest beneath marble tablets imprinted with poignant elegies. The cathedral confine has a cemetery, which houses the tombstones of generals, clerks and young maids.

St. Thomas Cathedral draws a congregation of devotees from all parts of the country. At the time of Christmas and similar festivals, the church is festooned with buntings and decorations. Devotees as well as tourists visit St. Thomas Cathedral to spend some moments of peace and solitude. The marvelous architecture of the church is worth-seeing and admiring. On your trip to Mumbai, do pay a visit at this first Anglican church of Mumbai. 

Haji Ali

Located: On an island off the coast in Worli, Mumbai
Built in: 1431
Attraction: Beautiful architecture, picturesque backdrop
How to Reach: One can easily reach Haji Ali by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

Haji Ali Dargah MumbaiHaji Ali is a venerated tomb (dargah) of the Muslims. Not only from Mumbai, people from all parts of India come to pay homage to this mosque. Located on an island off the shoreline of Worli, Haji Ali Mosque looks stunning amidst the blue waters of the sea. It also makes the most popular landmark of Bombay. In 1431, the mosque was built by Haji Ali – a rich Muslim merchant, who gave up all worldly charms before going to the pilgrimage of Mecca.

As per the legends, Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and a coffer carrying his body hovered back to Mumbai. Other stories state that the great saint drowned at the place, where the mosque stands at present. On Thursdays and Fridays, the shrine is visited by at least 40,000 pilgrims. Irrespective of faith and religion, people visit the ‘dargah’ to get the blessings of the legendary saint.

The edifice is a brilliant specimen of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Built on a small island, the mosque is sited about 500 yards from the shoreline, in the middle of Worli Bay. This island is connected to the Mahalakshmi area by a narrow walkway, which is not even constrained by railings and is prone to sea waters during high-tide. Consequently, you can reach the mosque only during low-tides.

The walkway, offering 500-yard-walk, is the highlight of this expedition, where the touch of cool waters and pleasing breeze altogether will make this a divine experience. Sprawling in an area of 4,500 meters, Haji Ali Dargah has a tomb that is always covered with a brocaded red and green sheet, supported by a delicate silver frame. The marble pillars inside the main hall are decorated with multihued mirrors and embrace the ninety-nine names of Allah. 

St Michael’s Church

Location: Mahim, Mumbai
Kind of Church: Catholic
How to Reach: One can easily reach St Micheal’s Church by boarding buses or trains, or by hiring autos or taxis from the city.

St Michael's Church MumbaiSt. Michael’s Church is amongst the oldest Catholic Churches in Mumbai. Seeing the sway of two major colonial powers – the British and the Portuguese, churches were constructed throughout the country. Sited in the Upper Mahim area of Mumbai, Saint Michael Church heralds the foundation of Christianity in India. The church is believed to have been constructed in the early 16th century. However, the printed documents authenticate its existence to somewhere around 1565.

When Bishop Hartmann lost his control over the church in 1854, he collected resources and constructed ‘Our Lady of Victory Church’ in the vicinity of St. Michaels. In the present day Bombay, both the churches are still present at their respective sites. The present structure of St Michael Church was reconstructed in 1973. Nowadays, this church is notable for its Novenas that take place on Wednesdays.

St. Michael’s Church, being the catholic legacy of Mumbai city of India, is keeping pace with the changing times. Catholic devotees congregate at the church to attend the daily sermons and prayers, which are held here. During the festive time of Christmas, the church is decorated in the most sumptuous manner. People from all faiths and religions assemble to take part in the celebrations and revel at this occasion. 

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