The commercial capital of India and one of the largest metropolitans, Mumbai is also renowned for its secular character. It manifests the character not only because of a multi lingual population, but also because it has made space within its territory for extravagant religious structures of different faiths. From beautiful temples and glorious mosques, to serene churches, there are plenty of religious places in Mumbai for the pious soul to explore.
Here’s a list of the most visited religious places around Mumbai where thousands of devotees throng daily to ask for the God’s blessings.
6. Babulnath Temple
Located near Girgaum Chowpatty, Babulnath Temple is an ancient Shiva temple, which was completed during the reign of Hindu king Raja Bhimdev in the 12th century. However, the temple was buried and lost over a period of time and later in 1700 the idols of Shiva Linga, Ganesh, Hanuman, and Parvati were rediscovered and the temple was redesigned. Its construction was funded by Gujarati merchants and Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad of Baroda state. Presently, this majestic temple is elegantly designed as an illusion of Mount Kailash, which is the perpetual abode of Lord Shiva.
5. Haji Ali Dargah
Constructed in 1431, Haji Ali Dargah is a famous mosque located Worli, South Mumbai. The tomb is built in the middle of Worli Bay on a tiny islet with as a brilliant exhibition of Indo-Islamic architecture. People of all religions and creeds are welcomed here. Every day nearly fifteen thousand people(numbers can surpass twenty thousand on Fridays and Sundays) visit the dargah and ask for their wishes to be granted. Apart from regular visitors, the dargah sees huge crowds on special events like Pir Haji Ali Shah’s anniversary. Eid here is celebrated with all Islamic traditions and the experience is truly unforgettable.
4. Shri Walkeshwar Temple
Located at the highest point of the city, Walkeshwar Temple rests atop the Malabar hills in south Mumbai. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is associated with heroic tales of Lord Ram, who paused at this place during his pursuit to Lanka and made the Shiv ling idol from sand. The temple is popularly known as the Baan Ganga Temple as it is attached to the fresh water tank, which was built in 1127 AD. However, the temple was destroyed during the Portuguese reign during the 16th century and was later reconstructed around the Baan Ganga tank with near about twenty temples and several Dharamshalas.
3. ISKCON Temple
Popularly known as Radha Rasabiharij, ISKCON Temple one among the famous temples built by the ISKCON Foundation and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Located next to the Juhu beach, ISKCON Temple was built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and inaugurated on14th January 1978. The temple is spread over 4 acres of land is adorned with beautiful paintings, statues and interiors. The shrine has turned out as an important centre for spiritual knowledge and intellectual development that attracts devotes from all corners of the world. Moreover, the shrine offers various cultural and spiritual learning activities with memorable celebrations during the festival of Janmashtami.
2. Siddhivinayak Temple
The famous Siddhivinayak Temple or say the Navasala Pavnara Ganapati is a dedicated shrine of Lord Ganesh and one of the most visited religious spots in Mumbai. The temple was built in 1801 by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil. Back in those days, the temple used to have a small wooden hall, which is now transformed into a grand worship place that attracts and welcomes people from different corners of India. The temple is a favored choice for numerous celebs in India and as a result the temple receives near about 200 million donations every year, with the numbers are on a constant increase from past few decades.
1. Elephanta Caves
To the other side of the rapidly growing city of Mumbai are the temple caves in Gharapuri which are believed to date back from the 7thcentury. The caves got their name The Elephanta Caves after the invasion of Portuguese who found a large stone elephant at their landing position. The caves are adorned with sculptures celebrating the accomplishments of Lord Shiva. The massive hall marks the centre of the cave and is supported with gigantic statues, pillars and elegant rock carvings. Every year in February the tourism department of Maharashtra organizes a magnificent dance festival based on the legendry tales of Lord Shiva in celebration of his association with the ancient sculptures of Elephanta Caves.