Mumbai – the City of Dreams, the Financial Capital of the county, the Bollywood Hub, the most populous city of India and the most sought after tourist destination. Mumbai is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and the financial and industrial centre. It is the strongest city financial and commercial wise.
Apart from this, the citizens here range from lower to upper middle to royalty class, but all share the love of Bombay equally. Tourists from all over the globe frequent this city throughout the year. The culture, religions and castes residing and visiting here have embraced the secular way of living here. Be it any caste, people go to all places of worship. The same applies for even churches in Mumbai. Churches here are very famous and are visited by everyone, despite being of different faiths. The 7 best churches of Mumbai are mentioned below.
1. Mount Mary Basilica
This Roman Catholic Church is located at Land’s End in Bandra. The statue of Virgin Mary here was brought in from Portugal by followers of Jesus in the 16th century. Mount Mary Basilica is over 100 years old. The feast of the Holy Mother happens annually on her birth date. It is then followed by a week long celebration when hundreds of people come to seek blessings. The beautiful British era architecture and the serene chapel will bring you the peace you seek.
2. Afghan Church
This church of St. John is located in Navy Nagar, Colaba. Afghan church was constructed by the British in honor of the 1838 First Afghan War’s martyrs. The foundation stone of construction was laid down by Sir George Clerk in 1847. The sum simmering down the stained glass windows, the limestone edifice, long aisle and the magnificent bells are a sight to see. This church is also famous as the very first Gothic church of the country.
3. Michael’s Church
One of the oldest and most famous Catholic Church and Portuguese building of Mumbai, Michael’s Church’s origin goes back to 1534. The Virgin Mary figurine from Bandra’s Mount Mary church was stored here from the years 1739 to 1761. This church is located in Mahim. The Wednesday prayers i.e. novenas are very famous here, which are attended by thousands of people.
4. Thomas Cathedral
This 400-year-old church is dedicated to St. Thomas, the first Apostle from Malabar. The entire construction was initiated in 1676. The church is located in the heart of the city, Horniman Circle. The church’s activities and affairs are handled by The Cathedral and John Connon School. The Churchgate area of South Mumbai was named after this cathedral. The midnight mass here is always crowded and mass happens every day.
5. Church of St. Andrew
This church located in West Bandra is the symbol of Christianity’s entry in Mumbai. This late 15th century establishment has seen the conversion of Bombay to Mumbai and all the history that came along with it. It was the only standing church of Bombay till the middle of 17th century. The main shrine houses statues of Our Lady Mother, the Sacred Heart and St. Andrew.
6. Gloria Church
Gloria church is situated in Byculla and is a prestigious and old Roman Catholic Church. It was built in the year 1632. The entire cost of the old Mazagaon church was bore by the Lady of the De Souza Lima family, which stood for almost 3 centuries. The new church was built in 1913. The unique architecture and the open lawns around the building have inspired many Bollywood filmmakers to shoot scenes here.
7. John the Baptist Church
Although famous back in its time, John the Baptist Church is now is an abandoned and desolate property in SEEPZ Industrial premises in Andheri. It was built in the year 1579 by the Portuguese. Next to the church, there is also a graveyard. After a massive epidemic, the church fell to ruins, but is still visited once in a while by devotees. It is believed that the church was haunted in 1977. A young bride’s spirit roamed the altar and later, a Catholic priest performed an exorcism to get rid of the spirit. The priest revealed that the bride was either murdered or she had committed suicide.
These pre-independence churches have a unique charm and are filled with visitors all over the day. When in Mumbai, visiting tourist destinations never gets done without visiting at least one of these beautiful churches.