The Mumba Devi road is to your right from the northern end of Zaveri Bazaar. It is a narrow street lined with stalls selling a spectrum of objects associated with Hindu religion — copper bracelets, rings, rudrakska malas, brass lingams, photgraphs of deities, incense, saffron and so on. Ochre clad sadhus flit along the street, their foreheads smeared with ash paste and vermilion.
Just outside the temple, the stalls sell flowers: garlands of sweet smelling jasmine, orange marigolds and pink lotuses — an offering, which is considered auspicious by the worshippers. The temple itself is not impressive but is an important landmark as it is dedicated to MumbaDevi, the city\’s patron deity. It is from her that Bombay gets its local name Mumbai. The temple is about six centuries old. The present structure of the Mumbadevi temple was built on the destruction of the earlier temple in 1737.
The first Mumbadevi temple was situated at Bori Bunder, and is believed to have been destroyed between 1739 and 1770. Legend goes that when Bombay was a cluster of seven islands inhabited by Koli fisherfolk, it was frequented by the demon Mumbaraka who terrorised the natives. To rid themselves of this misery, the people then prayed to Brahma, the Lord of Creation. Moved by their pleas, Brahma ‘produced from his own body’ the eight-armed goddess who then defeated Mumbaraka. The demon begged her forgiveness, requested her to take his name and built a temple in her honour.
Dressed in silver robes and adorned with nose studs sits Mumba, the presiding goddess of Mumbai, inside this temple at Phansi Talao. Mumba is a goddess without a mouth and is a local representation of Mother Earth, and is worshipped by the Koli fisherfolk. Beside the statue of the orange faced goddess MumbaDevi also reside idols of Indra, Ganesh and Hanuman. It is common belief that the goddess does not disappoint any of her devotees if they pray to her sincerely. The temple is closed on Mondays.
Breach Candy, Mumbai
At the northern foot of the Malabar Hill, is a part now called Breach Candy, was a temple dedicated to three goddesses– Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. A creek to the north separated the island of Mumbai from the Koli island of Worli. This creek was filled after the completion of the Hornby Vellard in 1784. Soon after, the modern temple of Mahalakshmi was built here. Breach Candy is one of the posh areas of Bombay and boasts of swanky showrooms, expensive apartments and the Breach Candy Hospital.
The Mahalaxmi Temple complex is easily distinguished by the flock of grey pigeons pecking at grain in its courtyard. Beyond the ornate gate is the shrine wherein resides the buxom goddess of Lucre — Laxmi. The compound of the temple is abuzz with stalls selling flower garlands and pious paraphernalia.
Image courtesy: Ryan
The Jain Temple is about fifteen minutes away by foot from the Kamala Nehru Park. In the 6th Century BC, Mahavira, a philosopher and thinker, founded the Jain Sect. He urged followers to eschew violence and reverse all forms of life. Adorning the walls of the opulent temple are frescoes of various incidents in the lives of the Tirthankaras (prophets).
Upstairs, a black marble shrine is guarded with celestial personifications of the planets, beautifully painted onto the ceiling. The temple is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara. In accordance with the teachings of Mahavira, priests in the temple wear muslin masks over their faces, lest they kill germs and small insects while inhaling.
JVPD, Juhu, Mumbai
In India, Srila Prabhupada’s main program for revitalizing the Vedic teachings was the construction of major temples. In 1972, he laid the foundation stone of the temple in Juhu, Mumbai.
The magnificent temple complex is one of the most visited in the country. It is a spiritual oasis in the dry and demanding material life of the financial and commercial capital of India.
Opened in 1978, the complex includes a spacious marble temple, a recently renovated auditorium, a huge restaurant and a twin towered seven-storey guest house where visitors can stay and participate in the daily spiritual programs of the temple.
Official Website: http://www.iskconmumbai.com/
image courtesy: wikimedia
Mt. Mary Road, Bandra, Mumbai
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, Mumbai. The Basilica is one of the most visited ‘religious places of worship’ in the city.
Every September, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This is a week long celebration known as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.
The earliest historical records of Bandra come from Jesuit priests who were given sole ownership, not only of Bandra but also of Parel, Wadala and Sion, by the Portuguese. In 1570 the Jesuits built a college and a church in Bandra. In the mid-18th century, the traveller John Fryer records that the Jesuit church, which stood near the seashore, was still in use.
In 1733 when the Kunbi farmers migrated to this island from Mumbai because the fish manure they used was banned, they found St. Andrews church, St.Stanislaus Orphanage and a monastery of St. Anne. After this was destroyed in a Maratha raid in the year 1737 when the English aided the Portuguese troops, a slaughterhouse was built on the same spot.
There was also a chapel of Mt. Mary, build around 1640. Legend has it that this was destroyed in 1738 during a Maratha raid. The statue of the Virgin was recovered from the sea by fishermen and temporarily installed in St. Andrews, before being shifted to the rebuilt Mt. Mary in 1761.
Bandra remained a village with plantations of rice and vegetables in the low-lying areas of the island until a causeway linked it to Mahim in 1845. Although many bungalows were built here in the boom years of the 1860’s and 70\’s, the posh Pali Hill area, now teeming with film stars, saw the first construction only in the 1880’s. The suburbs of Bandra became one of the most fashionable suburbs by the middle of the century. Further developments are envisaged with the new Bandra-Kurla Commercial Complex.
Near Esselworld, Manori, Mumbai
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Hall near Gorai, North-west of Mumbai, India. The Pagoda was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, then President of India on 8 February 2009.
It is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching.
Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana. The shape of the pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. It was built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years.
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Walkeshwar Temple Compound, Malabar Hill, Mumbai
Banganga is an ancient water tank which is part of the Walkeshwar Temple Complex in Malabar Hill area of Mumbai in India.
According to local legend, it sprang forth when the Hindu god Ram, the exiled hero of the epic Ramayana, stopped at the spot five thousand years ago in search of his kidnapped wife Sita.
As the legend goes, overcome with fatigue and thirst, Rama asked his brother Lakshmana to bring him some water. Laxman instantly shot an arrow into the ground, and water gushed forth from the ground, creating a tributary of the Ganges, which flows over a thousand miles away, hence its name, Banganga, the Ganga created on a baan (arrow).
The most prominent landmark at Prabhadevi attracts many devotees from all over the city. Tuesday is considered the most auspicious day and devotees stand for hours (even before the crack of dawn) in long winding queues to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha. On special days the line can be as long as 30,000 people or more.
The narrow lane outside the temple is the ‘Phool galli’ lined with innumerable stalls selling tulsi flower garlands, coconuts, an array of sweets including the pear shaped favourite yellow sweet of Lord Ganesha, the ‘modak’, and a range of religious paraphernalia.
Security guards are present at the gates and inside the temple as well. Of late the shrine has started resembling a fortress due to the heavy security arrangements.
There is a statue of a squatting nandi or the sacred cow, which is the mode of transport of Lord Shiva. Thousands throng the mandir everyday. Popular belief goes that Ganapati, as Lord Ganesha is called, does not disappoint his devotees.
The upper floors house the residential quarters of the priests. The Mandir even has its own exclusive website SiddhiVinayak.org [img courtesy]