Mumbai has been a popular tourist destination forever. One of its attractions is the architectural extravaganza it offers – heritage buildings and edifices that almost speak to you. Talking of structures, the city houses numerous temples that have their own story to tell. We bring you a list of some of Mumbai’s oldest shrines.
Bombay was christened Mumbai owing to the name of its patron deity, Goddess Mumba Devi. The Mumba Devi Temple was erected six centuries ago in her honour and though the structure doesn’t qualify as one of the more striking ones, it attracts scores of believers especially the fisher folk – kolis. Where: Zaveri Bazaar, South Mumbai
Dedicated mainly to Goddess Lakshmi, the Mahalaxmi Temple is thronged by an endless line of devotees especially during Navratri . The cool Arabian Sea breeze adds to the spiritual serenity of this place. Visitors enjoy the luxury of following the rituals on a closed-circuit television network. Where: Bhalubhai Desai Road, Mahalaxmi
Popularly known as the Siddhivinayak Temple, Sree Sidhivinayak Ganpati Temple is renowned for its unique idol of Lord Ganesh with the trunk tilting towards the right side. Standing tall and mounted by a golden dome, the 200-year old temple has been reconstructed to accommodate visitors. Where: Prabhadevi
Devoted to Lord Shiva, the Babulnath Temple witnesses scores of worshipers bathing the deity, in milk. Many celebrities visit the temple and quite a few Bollywood movies have also been shot here. An elevator takes visitors up to the temple which stands at 1000 feet above sea level. Where: Babulnath Road, Malabar Hill
Popularly known as the Walkeshwar Temple or the Baan Ganga Temple, owing to its proximity to the Baanganga Tank, the structure is also devoted to Lord Shiva. An annual musical extravaganza, Baanganga Festival, is organised in January by Mumbai Tourist Development Corporation. Save the date, January 12, 2013! Where: Malabar Hill, Near Walkeshwar Bus Depot
ISKCON is a well planned complex with a spacious marble temple, a well-designed auditorium, a twin-towered guest-house and a huge restaurant which makes visitors comfortable throughout the spiritual programmes. The deities in the temple are Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai, Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari and Sri Sri Sita Rama Laxman Hanuman.
Where: Hare Krishna Land, Juhu
Initially built from a broken residence structure, the Sri Swaminarayan Mandir is today a beautifully sculpted three-spire edifice. The temple has a dome that exhibits detailed mythological paintings and is supported by 54 pillars. In addition there are three shrines housing the statues of the Hindu deities. An audience hall on the first floor is where the rituals and prayers are conducted. Over 100 years old, the rapid flourishing of the Bhuleshwar flower market can be attributed to this temple. Where: Swaminarayan Chowk, Opposite Dadar (CR) Station
Dedicated to Sri Venkateshwara, Phanswadi Tirupathi Balaji Temple or Sree Venkateshwara Devasthanam is well-known for its Dravidian style architecture, images and art. The temple houses a replica of the Tirupati Balaji idol and is popularly referred to as Mumbai’s Little Tirupati. Though most Hindus come here to pay homage, the temple is visited primarily by a South Indian community who are staunch believers of Lord Vishnu. Where: Phanswadi, Charni Road East
Markandeswar temple, also known as Markandesvara Temple, Markandeya Shiva Temple and Markandeswara Mahadeva Temple gets its name from the fact that it was built at the spot where Lord Siva saved Markanda, one of his devotees from danger. Over 150 years old, this structure is thronged by devotees mainly during the monsoons which is the season dedicated to Lord Siva. The Shivling in the temple is estimated to be around 1000 years old.
Hanuman Mandir near the Kabutarkhana is one of the oldest landmarks in the area, the temple is a simple structure with basic elements and is well-placed for visitors to notice. Where: Dadar West
Dedicated to Goddess Shitala, the Sitaladevi Temple is a beautiful structure and has maximum visitors during Navratri. Visitors pay homage to the goddess with prayers, flowers and sweets. Where: Near Kesari Travels, Mahim
Know of other beautiful shrines that we may have missed? Tell us!