Top 10 Religious Places to Visit in Mumbai
The city of Mumbai is located in the state of Maharashtra on the western coast of India. Mumbai is one of the major cities of India. Mumbai, which was earlier also known as Bombay, is a megacity with a population of about 12.4 millions. This city is also the most densely populated megacity in the world. The name Bombay was changed in the year 1995. The city of Mumbai is also the global city as well as the financial capital of India. There are so many tourist attractions and religious places to visit in Mumbai.
This city lies on the western coast of the country and thus has a very deep and well developed natural harbour. It was also named the alpha world city and is the wealthiest city in the country. There are also three UNESCO World Heritage spots located here which include Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, city’s distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings and the Elephanta Caves.
Mumbai is a city that has people of all religions living in it. There are a variety of religious places to visit in Mumbai because of this. Many people visit these places whenever they visit the city. A few of such religious locations are mentioned below.
1. Mumbadevi Temple
The Temple is located in Bhuleshwar, towards the north of the Zaveri Bazar. The Mumbadevi is named after the goddess Mumba and is completely dedicated to her. It is also the same goddess after whom the city is named Mumbai. It is because of this that this temple holds remarkable significance. It is believed that the temple was built by the Koli fishermen, who are the original residents of Mumbai, as a tribute to the Goddess. It was in the year 1737 that this temple was demolished and was replaced by the current Mumbadevi temple.
The temple is always filled with a lot of people so if you are visiting this temple, there is no way that you can avoid the crowd. The location of the temple is in the middle of a crowded market area and the place is also crowded with many tall buildings. Therefore this place gives the tourists an image of both the history of the Mumbai city and its heart. The pandits of this temple who generally perform the rituals of the puja for the local people and the tourists usually live behind this temple only.
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2. Siddhivinayak Temple
The Siddhivinayak Temple is located in central Mumbai. The entrance to the temples is from behind it. There is also a narrow lane behind the temple where there are many stalls selling garlands, sweets, and coconuts for puja purposes.
This is a temple devoted to the Lord Ganesha. It is believed that whatever wish you make to the idols of this temple, you can be sure that it will be granted. Unlike many other Hindi temples where only Hindus are allowed to enter, this temple welcomes people of every religion with open arms. However, the experience isn’t very pleasant for the people here, mainly because of the very extensive crowd in this place. In average, the average number of people visiting this temple daily is nearly twenty-five thousand.
On Tuesdays, which is believed to be a very auspicious day of the week, this number increases to nearly a hundred thousand. There is a ‘Holy Aarti’ held in the temple in the early mornings in the Tuesdays and the queue for that line begins from Monday evening. This temple is one of the oldest buildings of the state and is built in 1801. It has received a huge support from a lot of celebrities, thus making this one of the grandest locations in Mumbai and one of the famous religious places to visit in Mumbai.
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3. Haji Ali Dargah
Located on Central South Mumbai, a little distance away from the Mahalaxmi Railway Terminal and just off the Worli coast. This place is considered among one of the top ten places of interest in the city of Mumbai. In the year, 1431, a very rich Sufi saint and Muslim Merchant named Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari had built this mosque and tomb.
The man was encouraged to change his course in life after his visit to Mecca. The Haji Ali tomb also contains his body. Since the Haji Ali dargah is situated in the middle of the ocean, it is reachable only during the tides and that too only through a narrow five hundred yard long alley. The crowd here is the most only during the Thursdays and Fridays. On these days, thousands of pilgrims come to this place to receive the blessing of the saint. Haji Ali is famous as one of the popular pilgrimage destinations in India.
There is also a shopping mall here for people to spend time at. It should be mentioned that women were not allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the shrine and are restricted to only visiting the large opened area.
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4. Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue
This place is located close to the Rhythm House in Mumbai, in the Kala Ghoda district. The Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue was built in the year 1884 by the two brothers Albert and Jacob Elias Sassoon. These brothers had built this place in memory of their beloved father Eliyahoo Sassoon. This family had also built the Sassoon Docks. The building has a calming blue color and a very attractive behaviour.
It was built with many beautiful pillars, stained glass windows and a very beautiful chandelier. In the afternoons this place is beautifully lighted by the sunlight. Just for clicking pictures of this place, you have to pay a hundred rupees. This synagogue was closed for restoration purposes and opened in the early months of 2019. Like every other synagogue in Mumbai, this place also is protected by the police all the time since the terrorist attacks in 2008.
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5. Holy Name Cathedral
This Cathedral is located in South Mumbai, in Colaba, opposite the YMCA. The luxurious Catholic Holy Name Cathedral was built with the intention to replace the older cathedral adjacent to the city of Bhuleshwar. It is adorned with a wide collection of artwork. This Cathedral was opened to the public for the first time in 1905.
It is well-known for its gentle murals, pipe organ, which was a gift from numerous Popes. The huge bell which is found hanging outside the church was also a gift from Pope Paul VI who had visited the Holy Name Cathedral in the year 1964.
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6. Afghan Church
The Church is located in Navy Nagar, in Colaba, in South Mumbai. The Presbyterian Afghan Church is formally recognized as The Church of St John the Evangelist. It was constructed by the British in remembrance of the thousands of soldiers who had lost their lives fighting in the First Afghan War that lasted from 1835-43. This is the reason why this church is referred to as the Afghan Church. The church typically has traces of English in its design. It is a Grade I heritage building. A lot of money has been spent over the years to renovate the stained glass windows of this church.
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7. St. Thomas’s Cathedral
This church is located in the Veer Nariman Road in Mumbai, near the Flora Fountain and the Horniman Circle Gardens. St. Thomas’s Cathedral deals a very peaceful break in a hectic part of the town and is prominent for its prized stained glass work. Saint Thomas’s Cathedral is also the first Anglican Church in the city of Mumbai was built in the year 1718.
The cathedral was built was a way to deliver moral substance for the ever growing British settlement. It later became a cathedral in 1837 and the clock and tower were added to it after another year. Mumbai’s Churchgate district has received its name from the gate in the Fort, constructed by the British East India Company, which was also the entrance to the church. The whole west zone of the church is still recognized as Churchgate currently.
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8. Babulnath Temple
This temple is located near the Marine Drive, on the Malabar Hills, in south Mumbai. A famous landmark is the Bombay International School opposite the Temple. The Babulnath Temple is another one of the ancient temples in Mumbai. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva in the form of a Babul Tree (Acacia). The temple was constructed in the year 1780 after a discovery of buried idols was made.
The Babulnath Temple is located a thousand feet above the sea level. Those who want to can climb the stair to reach the temples but for those who cannot, there is also a lift which people are allowed to use. Mondays are believed to be an auspicious day for praying to Lord Shiva and this it is in the Mondays that the temple is the busiest. The temple is also very crowded during Shivaratri.
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9. Walkeshwar Temple
This Temple is also located in South Mumbai in the Malabar Hills. The Shri Walkeshwar Temple was recognised in the year 1127 by the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin Community. According to the legends, it is believed that Lord Rama had taken a break at that location while he was headed to the territory of Ravana to bring back his wife from the latter’s kingdom.
This was the history behind the founding if this temple. It was an unfortunate event that in the 16th century, the Portuguese, during their reign in Mumbai had utterly destroyed the temple. Later, in the year 1715, the Gows Saraswat Brahmin Community had again reconstructed it.
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10. ISKCON Temple
ISKCON is the abbreviation used for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It was established by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the month of July in 1966 in the city of New York. This was also properly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. In Mumbai, the temples complex had first opened in the year 1978 in Juhu Beach, near the Chandan Cinemas. This marble temple of ISKCON is one of the most beautifully built temples in India.
The walls are made up of marble and are decorated with charming sculptures and murals. After the recent renovation, the complex had added to it an auditorium, a guesthouse and a huge, beautiful restaurant. The temple is opened to the tourists daily except for a few hours that extend from 1 PM to 4:30 PM in the afternoons. The prayers and chanting here are believes to have the power to bring peace and tranquil to the souls of anybody who hears it. These prayers take place every evening. Even though the temple is always one, one of the best times to pay a visit to this temple is during the festival of Krishna Janmashtami.
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11. Elephanta Caves
The Caves is to be reached by a boat ride from the coast of Mumbai, from the Gateway of India. This is a one hour journey and during the journey, the tourists are provided with a proper introduction to the culture of Hinduism.
Even though the Elephanta Caves is considered more a tourist attractions than a religious spot, there is also a temple of Lord Shiva in this placed. This temple is believed to be built around the 7th century and is a very important temple with a historical rock-cut. The temple is supported by large, strong pillars and in the main hall; the tourists can find the magnificent and daunting sculpture of the Lord Shiva. The sculpture shows all the three aspects of the Hind Deity Shiva, that is the Creator, the Protector, and the Destroyer. Also, a very delightful view of the city can be seen from the Elephanta Caves. It provides a beautiful picture of the sunset over the city and of the Mumbai skyline.
Along with the several other tourist spots and places of interests in the city, these religious locations are also one of the most important features of this city. If anyone visits Mumbai, they must pay a visit to these religious sites as well. Mumbai offers a lot of options to its visitors in the form of spirituality as well.
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