Mumba Devi Temple

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.

mumbadevi temple
mumbadevi temple

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.