Mumbai is filled with almost every major religious group in the world. A major hub or religion and culture Mumbai has rich histories with Hinduism and is filled with many temples all with their beautiful and unique aspects. With all the hustle bustle in the city, you will be surprised to know that it doesn’t stop most Hindus from going to the temple and worshiping the deity of their choice. Mumbai is home to almost seven hundred temples, each specific to the culture of those who built them and the deity they worship. Visiting some of these temples is sure to be an eye-opening experience for any tourist and a window into Hinduism.
1. Siddhivinayak Temple
Built in 1801 for lord Ganesha, Siddhivinayak temple is considered to be the richest temple in Mumbai. With many famous actors, politicians, sports men and women, or celebrities coming to worship Ganesha, it is easy to see why this temple is so famous. The main chamber of lord Ganesha has a gold plated ceiling and the idol itself is carved out of one black stone. Many worshippers have had their prayers answered by lord Ganesha after coming to pray at this temple. A special ‘aarti’ is performed every Tuesday and it is estimated that around thirty thousand worshipers come here daily, so be ready for a big crowd if you choose to visit.
2. Mumbadevi Temple
The guardian of the fishermen and the deity Mumbai is named after, Mumbadevi is an incarnation of the goddess Shakti. It is one of the most famous Shakti temples and used to be located where Victoria Terminus Station currently stands. The temple has since been shifted to Bhuleshwar and welcomes many thousands of worshippers daily. You should be ready to find a crowd and after seeing the beautifully decorated idol of Mumbadevi. And don’t forget to visit the many stalls in the nearby market. Trying the famous Mumbadevi jalebis is a must.
3. Mahalakshmi Temple
Dedicated to Laxmi, Saraswati, and Durga, Mahalakshmi temple is filled with history and is surrounded by beauty. Located in the famous Malabar hills, just next to the sea shore, the temple is unique and beautiful. The idols have not been carved out of stone and are said to be ‘swayambhu’ meaning that they have appeared by themselves. The three idols wear beautiful golden masks and are bathed every morning at six. The temple has immense archaeological value due to the uniqueness of the building. Diwali and Navratri are the best times to visit this temple as they celebrate it lavishly there.
4. Walkeshwar Temple
Legend has it that Ram had stopped at the same spot while on his way to Lanka and shot an arrow into the ground to bring the Ganges to this location so he could drink some water. The Banganga Tank next to the temple is fed fresh water from an underground spring, which is very unique as it is so close to the sea. The original temple was built during the 12th century and had been destroyed during the Portuguese rule of Mumbai. It was again rebuilt during the 18th century and since then has been a very popular place for worshipers2222 and tourists. Walkeshwar temple is dedicated to Shiva and is located near Malabar Hill.
5. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
A one stop temple where you can pray to many major deities of Hinduism, Shri Swaminarayan temple is owned and maintained by the Swaminarayan Sampaday. The Swaminarayan Sampaday is a sect of Hinduism which considers Krishna or Vishnu as its central deity. There are idols of Laxminarayan Dev, Hari Krishna Maharaja, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Gaulokvihari and Radha. The original temple was built in the 1863 while the current structure has been around since 1903. One of the biggest attractions near the temple is the famous phool galli, or flower street. Due to the number of temples present nearby the road is a nice place to buy flowers for prayer.
6. Mata Vaishnodevi Temple
An almost exact replica of the original Mata Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu, this temple offers you a truly divine and humbling experience. The temple in Jammu requires you to take a short hike through caves and across small streams to reach the inner sanctum. In this temple you also have to take a small trip through the ‘caves’ and the idol is an exact replica of the one in Jammu. The walk and crawl to get to the idol is worth it especially for those who are religiously inclined. Located in middle of the city it is definitely a must in those who want to experience the original temple without going the distance.
7. Babulnath Temple
Babulnath temple is a Shiva temple built in the 1890s. The structure of the temple is very beautiful and is one of the most famous temples in Mumbai, attracting thousands of followers and devotees of lord Shiva every day. The temple is said to give the devotee an illusion of the famous Mount Kailash, the heavenly mountain where Shiva resides. Located near the Marine Lines train station it easily accessible and is open from five in the morning to ten at night. The original temple was built during the 12th century and after the temple was buried the idols were dug up during the 18th century. The four idols of Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman, and Parvati are the original 12th century idols.
8. Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple
Located in Girgaon Chowpatty, Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple is run by the ISKCON movement. Originally an orphanage built at the start of the 20th century, it was bought by ISKCON and converted into a beautiful temple. The temple opened in 1988 and the prayers started during 1990. One of the most prominent landmarks of Chowpatty, this temple is home to several animals as well,such as cows, peacocks and monkeys. The inner sanctum is beautifully decorated and air conditioned, allowing you to pray during the hot and sticky summers. The beautiful design of the temple and the calm and soothing atmosphere makes this temple a must visit for those looking for a divine touch.
9. Balaji Temple
Just a few minutes away from Nerul train station, Balaji temple is one of the largest temples in the area. Surrounded by many small temples, Balaji temple resembles the famous Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati. The main deity of this temple is Lord Venkateshwara, who is also known as Shree Balaji. His home on earth is the Venkateshwara temple but those who cannot go all the way to Tirupati can pray to him at the Balaji temple. Interestingly, the man who built the temple started with only five thousand rupees, and had been an atheist before a near death mishap made him a believer in god.
10. Mini Sabarimala Shree Ayyappa Temple
Believed to be more than twelve decades old, Mini Sabarimala Shree Ayyappa temple has withstood the test of time. While other temples in the surrounding areas were looted and destroyed, the Mini Sabarimala temple still stands. With its holy Shree Dharma Sastha shrine, this temple attracts many devotees and visitors. The beautiful surroundings and the calm atmosphere is something you should experience first-hand. The temple opens at four in the morning and closes at nine at night. The calm atmosphere and the rich history makes this temple a real treat for worshipers and tourists alike.