Mumbai's Top Religious Sites (Self Guided), Mumbai

Mumbai is a city where modern and traditional lifestyles exist side by side. The city features many impressive religious sites where you can have a peaceful moment and detach from the hustle and bustle outside. Due to the presence of many different religions and sects in Mumbai, the city is home to lots of great temples, churches and mosques. Take our tour to see the most interesting places of worship in the city.
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Mumbai's Top Religious Sites Map

Guide Name: Mumbai's Top Religious Sites
Guide Location: India » Mumbai (See other walking tours in Mumbai)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 Km or 3.7 Miles
Author: naomi
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St Thomas' Cathedral
  • Badri Mahal
  • Jumma Masjid
  • Mumba Devi Temple
  • Banaji Atash Beharam
  • Babulnath Temple
  • Tower of Silence
St Thomas' Cathedral

1) St Thomas' Cathedral (must see)

St. Thomas Cathedral, completed in 1718, is the first Anglican church in Mumbai (then called Bombay), erected to improve the "moral standards" of the growing British settlement. It is located on Veer Nariman Road, close to Horniman Circle Gardens and the Flora Fountain. The name of nearby Churchgate station has reference to this church. The church was consecrated as a cathedral in July 1837. The tower and the clock at the western end were added in 1838. About 25 years later a major renovation scheme was launched to enlarge the chancel. This was completed by 1865. Here, many a Briton was laid to rest under elaborate marble tablets engraved with touching elegies — generals and clerks and young maids all lying together in the silent, sun-dappled interior. Most of the tombstones bear eloquent messages. The cathedral was selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage conservation award 2004.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Badri Mahal

2) Badri Mahal

The Badri Mahal hosts gatherings of the Muslim Dawoodi Bohra sect. The building dates back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Inside you can see a large square that is the venue for many different religious ceremonies. There's also a small museum that details the history of the sect.
Jumma Masjid

3) Jumma Masjid (must see)

The perfect way to explore any city is on foot and Mumbai is no exception. South Mumbai, especially, is scattered with historical monuments and museums that help better understand the origins and the complex history and culture of the city. But for several reasons, very few of them have achieved the status and are treated like historical monuments. The rest have managed to get absorbed into the background, have lost their identity and as a result have blended in with their surroundings.

One such place is the Jumma Masjid. This antique monument has been around since the 18th century. It is said that the Masjid was initially located near the Crawford Market but was destroyed and constructed at Esplanade only to be destroyed once again upon orders from Governor William Hornby, who did not want any building within 600 yards of the Fort area. The venue of the Masjid was then shifted to its present location and construction started in 1775. It took nearly 25 years before the mosque was completed.

Also known as the Friday Masjid, the mosque is under the administration of the Kokni Muslim community of Mumbai. A definite visit when you are in the city of Mumbai.
Mumba Devi Temple

4) Mumba Devi Temple

The city of Bombay only recently was rechristened Mumbai. The name Mumbai comes from the goddess Mumba Devi, the patron goddess of the city. Her temple is visited daily by many devotees as well as tourists who are interested in the city’s history.

At first glance, the temple does not strike as extraordinary. However, it is the history and tales attached to the place that makes this temple very special. Mumba Devi, is believed to be the chief patron of the Koli tribe, the first inhabitants of the island of Bombay. The Temple initially stood at the place where the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (previously known as Victoria Terminus) now stands but was ordered to be shifted to Bhuleshwar, the heart of city’s clothing and steel market.

Apart from the history of the place, it is the tall tales associated with the place that makes this temple one of a kind. Legend has it, that the people living in the area were tormented by a giant demon Mumbaraka, who constantly plundered the city. The inhabitants prayed to Lord Brahma, the Creator as per Hindu mythology, who blessed the village with an eight armed goddess who vanquished the demon. Since then a temple has stood in Mumba Devi’s honor. The current building of the temple is believed to have been constructed in the early 17th century.
Banaji Atash Beharam

5) Banaji Atash Beharam

The Banaji Atash Bahram is a place of worship for the Zoroastrians where the house of fire is located. The fire of the Banaji Atash Bahram was consecrated in 1845. Zoroastrians believe fire symbolizes purity, and it is used in their purification ceremonies.
Babulnath Temple

6) Babulnath Temple (must see)

Mumbai is a land of immense heritage, history and culture. Where the city appeases the interest of a history and cultural buff, it satiates the appetite of a shopaholic and a party animal.

A tour down South Mumbai is the perfect way to get to a closer look at the city’s history and heritage. One such destination is the Babulnath Temple, which has existed even before the city itself. Worshipped within the temple is Lord Shiva, one of the three Gods of the Hindu Trinity.

Raised at a height of about 1000 feet above sea level, the Babulnath temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the city and a must visit in Mumbai.

Although the temple was constructed in the late 18th century, it is believed that the idol was worshipped since the reign of Raja Bhimdev during the 12th century. There are many stories that speculate the origin of the idols and temple. According to one particular story, a cow belonging to a wealthy goldsmith stopped giving milk. Many days passed, but the cow would not give milk therefore the goldsmith followed the cow and observed that at one particular spot she would stop and dispense all her milk. The spot was dug up to find the idol which is placed in the temple today.
Tower of Silence

7) Tower of Silence

There are many fascinating structures and monuments in the city of Mumbai. With its diverse blend of cultures and people, Mumbai has some of the most intriguing monuments on its soil. One such monument is the Tower of Silence, which is the final resting place for the Parsi community.

The Zoroastrians first migrated to the Indian subcontinent during the 10th century AD and have since been an integral and important part of the Indian community. The city of Mumbai has always been home to a large population of Parsis. The Tower of Silence was built in 1672, by Seth Moti Hirji. The Tower is where the Parsi community performs the last rites for the departed. According to Zoroastrian belief, the earth – Zam and fire- Atar are considered pure and divine. The body of the dead is considered as a pollutant and hence the dead are disposed off atop of a tall tower, to be putrefied by the sun and birds of prey. The Tower of Silence is strictly off limits for unauthorized personnel, but the surrounding area is open for visitors and tourists. Despite the obvious nomenclature for the place, the Tower of Silence must not be looked as place of peace and tranquillity.

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