Mumbai is a city of many faiths. Since the cultural diversity is immense, there is a mix of religions in Mumbai due to the widespread growth of various communities and migrants. Although Mumbaikars tend to get busy with their hectic schedules, they always make sure that they devote some time to their religious practices and visits. The diversity and the compassion that Mumbaikars show toward one another, in terms of religion, reflects the liberal spirit of the city. So people across from different parts of Mumbai have their different religious places where they go and worship. Below are the top 5 religious places in Mumbai which are different from each other in terms of culture and creation but are a classic example of sculpture and devotion.
1 Siddhivinayak Mandir
Shree Ganesh is the first to be worshipped before beginning any new project or venture as he is the Destroyer of obstacles (Vighnaharta). This is Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai, a two-century-old Temple that fulfills the desires of the worshipers.The city of Mumbai is a mute witness to places of worship & historical interest, which are not only popular but also of archaeological importance. This temple is most popular & significant place of worship.The temple in 1801 was a small structure housing the black stone idol of Shree Siddhivinayak, which were two and half feet wide.
The outstanding feature of this deity is the tilt of the trunk to the right side. The idol has four hands (Chaturbhuj), which contains a lotus in upper right, a small axe in upper left, holy beads in the lower right and a bowl full of Modaks (a delicacy which is a perennial favorite with Shree Siddhivinayak). Flanking the deity on both sides are Riddhi & Siddhi, goddesses signifying sanctity, fulfillment, prosperity and riches. Etched on the forehead of the deity is an eye, which resembles the third eye of Lord Shiva.
DIRECTIONS TO VISIT: One can get down at “DADAR” station by central or western railway and from west side one can catch a cab or bus towards this plce which itself is a landmark.
2 ISKCON TEMPLE
Hare Krishna Land (ISKCON Juhu) is set upon four acres of prime land and a stone throw away from Juhu beach. In early 70’s when Juhu was considered a remote and obscure part of the city, to envision a temple rising here was beyond anyone’s imagination. Today 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.
DIRECTIONS TO VISIT: The two main Train Stations for outbound and incoming trains (within India are Mumbai Central Station and Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) Station. The distance from ISKCON Juhu to the above mentioned stations is 16 kms and 19 kms respectively. The two nearest local Train Stations to ISKCON Juhu are Vile Parle -West and Andheri – West stations. Auto rickshaws are available from these stations to reach ISKCON Juhu.
3 Mount Mary Basilica
Mount Mary Church is devoted to ‘Virgin Mary’, who is believed to fulfil the wishes of both Christians as well as Non-Christians. This church is very popular in Mumbai and is visited by people from all over the world. This ancient church, built in 1640 and then rebuilt in 1761, is also known as ‘The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount’. What makes this church even more beautiful is that it is sited on top of a hill known as ‘Sunderban Bandra’, which overlooks the mighty Arabian Sea.
It is believed that the church has unbelievable healing powers and for this reason, the church is herded by devotees every day Here many pitch up stalls selling religious articles, roasted grams, snacks and sweets. Wax figures of the Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body are sold at kiosks. The sick and the suffering choose a candle or wax figure that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help. The ‘Bandra Fair’ or the ‘Feast of Mount Mary’ is a week-long celebration held every September at the Mount Mary Church. Tourists from all over the world who visit Mumbai always make sure to visit this popular church while in the city.
DIRECTIONS TO VISIT: One can board a local train from the city to reach Mount Mary Church. Bandra Station is the nearest station from where one can take an auto to the church.
4 Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most popular religious places in Mumbai, visited by people of all religions alike. Haji Ali Dargah is one of India’s most famous and prestigious landmarks situated about 500 yards from the Mumbai shoreline in the middle of the Arabian Sea off Lala Lajpatrai Marg. The islet is linked to the city precinct of Mahalakshmi by a narrow causeway, which is nearly a kilometer (0.62 mile) long. The accessibility to the dargah is very much dependent on the tides. As, the causeway is not bound by railings, when the causeway gets submerged during high tide it becomes inaccessible. Therefore, the dargah is accessible only during low tide. This walk on the causeway, with the sea on both sides, is one of the highlights of a trip to the shrine.
The edifice is a brilliant specimen of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The structure has white domes and minarets reminiscent with the Mughal architecture of the period. The Dargah is a renowned pilgrimage site among the Muslims. Non-Muslims are also allowed to visit the Dargah.. About 10 – 15 thousand people visit the Dargah daily. Lakhs of devotees visit the Dargah on the second day of Ramjhan Eid and Bakri Eid (Eid-ul-Uzha), and during which the pathway leading to the Dargah Complex looks like a Sea of Humanity.
DIRECTIONS TO VISIT: One needs to get down at “MUMBAI CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION” on western railway and from there it is around 3 km away so one can reach there by taxi.
5 Global Pagoda
The magnificent golden Global Pagoda is the highlight at one of the TOP FIVE VIPASSANA CENTRES IN INDIA. Completed in 2009, it’s the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. The dome is approximately 29 meters high, twice the size of the previously largest monument of its kind in Bijapur, India. Inside, the meditation area can seat over 8,000 people. 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 practising his teaching. Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana.
DIRECTIONS TO VISIT: Reach Borivali Station on the Western Railway Mumbai Suburban line. This station is a major terminal on Western Railway’s Mumbai suburban services. It is also well connected by State Transport Buses from Thane, Navi Mumbai & Mumbai cities.ou can take an autorickshaw to the Gorai Creek. The Creek is about 3.8 km from the Borivali Station. At the Gorai Creek, you will have to take a boat to the other side of the creek. From there youcan walk for 15 mins or take a bus 711.