Today’s post on the Temples of Mumbai is by my new apprentice Shaeista Misarwala.
Mumbai is a thriving Indian metropolis full of culture. Many visitors flock to this part of the world for the amazing temples in Mumbai. If you are looking for an exciting Indian city packed with great food, people and things to do, don’t miss it. As well as the Hindu temples in Mumbai, there are also some fantastic Mosques and Churches. Here are the top 5 to visit…
Temples in Mumbai – Shree SiddhiVinayak Ganapati Mandir
The Shree SiddhiVinayak Ganapati Mandir is in the Prabha Devi area of Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is one of the very famous temples in Mumbai. It is dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesh. Siddhivinayak is well known as “Navrachna Ganapati” or “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati” among devotees.
Siddhivinayak Temple traces its roots to the year 1801. It was originally built by a man named Laxman Vithu. The construction of the shrine was funded by a rich, childless woman named Deubai Patil. She believed that Lord Ganesha will grant the wishes of other women who haven’t had a child yet.
Inside the temple, there is a small mandap (structure) with the shrine for Siddhi Vinayak (“Ganesha who grants your wish”). The wooden doors to the sanctum are carved with images of the Ashtavinayak (the eight manifestations of Ganesha in Maharashtra). The inner roof of the sanctum is plated with gold, and the central statue is of Ganesha. There is a Hanuman Temple at the borderline.
This complex had two 3.6 meter Deepamalas, a rest house and living quarters for the caretaker. It had an adjoining lake 30 x 40 square meters in size on the eastern and southern side of the temple. The lake, dug by Nardulla in the early 19th century to counter the scarcity of water, was filled up in the later years and the land is now not part of the temple complex. Around 1952, a small Hanuman shrine was built in the temple complex for the Hanuman icon that was found during the road extension project of Sayani Road near Elphinstone road.
In the 1950s and 60s, the fame of the temple spread and a significant number of devotees began visiting. However, in the same period, the owner of the plot sold some of the temple land, reducing the complex area. After 1975, the number of devotees increased dramatically.
The SiddhiVinayak Templein Mumbai is visited by many famous personalities of the country. Many Politicians and Celebrities walk barefoot to the temple and seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha. It is believed Lord Ganesha fulfills all prayers when asked with a sincere heart.
The Siddhivinayak Temple receives huge donations (US$1.4 million- $2.2 million) every year making it the wealthiest temples in Mumbai.
How to get there
You can book a cab from any part of the city. If traveling by train, get down at Dadar station and hail a cab to the temple. Buses are also available from different parts of the city that will take you to Dadar-Prabha Devi.
Entry Fees and Timings
5:30 am- 10 pm. Afternoons are the best time to visit this temple as it is less crowded at that time. Special prayers are organized during festivals. Check the time table on the official website of the temple. Free entry.
Modest clothing should be practiced when inside the temple.
SK Bole Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400028
Temples in Mumbai – The Mumba Devi Temple
Mumbai city derives its name from the Goddess Mumbadevi. This temple in Mumbai is an important structure for the people of this city, especially the Koli (fishermen) and Agris (salt collectors).
The Mumba Devi temple is 600 years old. It is dedicated to Goddess Mumba. She is also recognized as “Goddess Shakti” or Goddess of Power”. The Mumba Devi Temple was first built in Bori Bunder. The temple was destroyed and then reconstructed at Zaveri Bazaar, Bhuleshwar. Since ancient times, the Koli (fisherfolk) and Agris (salt collectors) offered their prayers to Mumbadevi at this temple and still continue to do so.
According to legend, a demon named “Mumbaraka” used to terrorize the locals. The people asked Lord Brahma for help and he sent the eight-armed Goddess Mumba Devi. After the Goddess defeated the demon, he fell on his knees and asked for forgiveness. He was later granted permission to build a temple dedicated to Mumba Devi. Hence, he built one of the most beautiful temples in Mumbai in the heart of the city.
The shrine of the Goddess is adorned with a silver crown, a golden necklace, and a nose stud. The idol is adorned with marigold flowers. To symbolize Mother Earth, the idol of Mumbadevi has no mouth. Idols of ‘Hanuman’ and ‘Ganesh’ are also placed within the temple complex. To the left of Mumba Devi is a stone figure of Annapurna seated on a peacock. In front of the shrine is a tiger, the carrier of the Goddess.
How to get there
You can see the Mumbai Devi temple in the jam-packed area of Zaveri Bazar amidst the crowded steel and cloth market. It is surrounded by several flower shops.
Order a cab from any part of the city. The nearest station is Charni road station or Churchgate station, Bhuleshawar is only a few mins from there.
Entry fees and Timings
6 am- 9 pm. The temple is closed on Mondays. Entry is free.
Modest clothing for the temples of Mumbai.
Mumba Devi Temple, 9, Mumba Devi Marg, Mumbadevi Area, Bhuleshwar, Mumbai 400 002
Churches in Mumbai – Mount Mary Church
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount also knows as Mount Mary church is located in Bandra, Mumbai. It is 80m above sea level that overlooks the Arabian sea. This British inspired architectural church is devoted to ‘Virgin Mary’. It is a Roman Catholic Church.
The feast of the Virgin Mary is celebrated on the first Sunday after 8th September every year. After the feast, a week-long celebration is carried out. It is commonly known as “Bandra Fair”. The Church is beautifully decorated. One can shop for religious artifacts, innovatively shaped candles, wax figures of Virgin Mary or even buy Goan sweets from the various stalls outside the church.
It is believed that the church has unbelievable healing powers, and hence the church is visited by devotees every day. It is also believed that those who sincerely pray at the Mount Mary Church often get their wishes fulfilled. People with different illness bring wax figures illustrating their sickness.
How to get there
Book a cab or an auto-rickshaw from any part of the city. Bandra station is the nearest station, you can hail an auto from the station to get to the church.
Entry fees and Timing
8 am-8:30 pm. Best time to visit is in September during the Bandra Fair. Entry is free.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra West, Mount Mary, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 400050, India
The very famous Haji-Ali dargah is in South Mumbai. This dargah was built in 1431.
Haji-Ali Dargah is a Mosque and a tomb. It is visited by people from all faith. Almost 8000 people visit every week. It is named after Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. He was a Sufi saint. He renounced his wealth and decided to travel to Mecca for the pilgrimage, But he perished on the journey and his casket miraculously floated to the shores of the dargah.
Haji Ali dargah is located 500 yards above the shoreline, the narrow pathway that leads to the dargah is often closed during high tides. The structure has white domes and minarets reminiscent with the Mughal architecture of the period.
The shrine is a great example of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. It is known to be constructed by a shipowner named Usman Rangikar. In 1916 a legal trust was founded to renovate and expand the structure, which has given it the present-day form.
Haji-Ali Dargah is made from “Makrana” marble, the same marble that Shah Jahan used to build the Taj Mahal. It is situated in an area of 4,500 meters and is flanked by white crisp, marble pillars that are still marveled at today. This 400-year-old structure that stands in Mumbai today has degenerated and corroded in many places. The structural up-gradation began in 2008.
The number of visitors increases on Thursday and Friday and during Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr, where the path looks like a sea of humanity. On such special occasions including the death anniversary of the saint, special events are organized.
A marble courtyard with the central shrine and the main mosque brocaded with a red and green sheet are the first structures you see while entering the Dargah complex. Artistic marble pillars, mirror work with kaleidoscopic patterns and minarets sentinel the shrine in the center, making the monument a grand sight for all.
Outside Haji Ali dargah there is Haji Ali juice center. It is very famous for fruit creams andjuices. Crawford market, Manish market, amazing restaurants to eat-in and streets to explore are all nearby.
How to get there
Book a cab from any part of the city. Nearest stations are Mahalakshmi station, Byculla station, and Mumbai Central station. You can get a cab, auto-rickshaw or even a B.E.S.T (Local bus) to get to the Dargah.
Entry Fees and Timing
9:30 am- 5:30 pm. Monday to Saturday. Entry is free.
Modest clothing and preferably a headcover when inside the praying area.
Dargah Rd, Haji Ali, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Temples in Mumbai – Mahalakshmi Temple
The Mahalakshmi Temple is dedicated to “Mahalakshmi” the central deity of Devi Mahatmyam. The temple was built in 1831 by a Hindu merchant called Dhakji Dadaji. The Mahalaxmi temple contains images of the Tridevi goddesses Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. All three images are adorned with nose rings, gold bangles, and pearl necklaces. The image of Mahalakshmi is in the center holding lotus flowers in tandem.
The Mahalaxmi Temple is believed to be built between 1761 AD and 1771 AD. The legend says that centuries ago the British started connecting Malabar Hills with Worli but owing to marine disturbances, the task was proving to be quite difficult. It is believed that the chief engineer Shri Ramji Shivji Prabhu who was responsible for the project had a dream one night in which he saw Goddess Mahalaxmi. She asked him to find three idols at the bottom of the ocean and install them inside a temple dedicated to her. As per her saying, the engineer followed the instructions and the link that connects Malabar Hills and Worli namely Breach Candy was created. He then proceeded to take out the idols of the goddesses from the Worli creek after which he obtained the land atop a hillock as a gift from Lord Horneby who was overlooking Prabhu’s work.
Shri Ramji Shivji Prabhu constructed a Mahalakshmi Temple on top of the hill as per his divine dream.
The festival of Navratri is the celebration of Mahalakshmi. Devotees from far off places visit the temple and offer flower garlands, coconuts, and sweets to the deities on the auspicious occasion of Navaratri. The temple is decorated throughout during Navratri.
How to get there
Book a cab from any part of the city. The nearest station is Mahalakshmi Station, you can hail a cab or take a bus to reach the temple.
Entry fees and Timing
6 am-10 pm. Entry is free. You can buy flowers and sweets from the stands nearby to offer the Goddess.
Entry is free.
Mahalaxmi West, Breach Candy, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400026.
If you want to know more about temples in Mumbai and visiting India click here.
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
Consider packing conservative clothing and a shawl or headscarf for women if you would like to visit religious places. Some comfortable sandals work well in India as it can be hot so they will let your feet breathe. It can get extremely hot in some parts of India and so sun cream is essential.
It’s a good idea to pack conservative clothing for India. Avoid short skirts and low cut tops or spaghetti straps. Comfortable trousers and linen tops are great. Long skirts and Maxi dresses also work really well and are comfortable with the heat. Comfortable loose cotton or linen trousers are perfect. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and pack your prescription sunnies if you have those!