Perched on a hilltop and overlooking Mumbai’s Mahim Bay is the striking Mt. Mary Church (aka Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount). Come here to admire elegant Gothic designs and a collection of fine frescoes. Mingle with pilgrims that visit to lay offerings at a revered icon and be part of colorful festivals. First built in 1640, the Mt. Mary Church of today is the fourth edition of the church and dates back to 1902.
Position yourself in front of the main entrance and admire the church’s castle-like façade. Gaze up at the imposing 98-feet (30-meter) tall twin towers, both crowned by pyramidal spires. Check out the intricately carved arched windows, balustrades and Gothic-style latticework. Take a moment to enjoy the panoramic views of Mumbai’s coastline and cityscape. Arrive in the evening to witness picturesque sunsets.
Step inside to find a colorful interior and experience a welcoming energy. Spot an array of paintings that portray the life of the Virgin Mary. Look for a stone carving of the Last Supper and a marble pulpit, adorned with liturgical symbols.
Don’t miss the revered statue of Mary, called Moti Mauli (Pearl Mother). Legend states that after a dream by a local fisherman the present statue was found floating in the sea; pirates stole the original in 1700. Watch devotees give offerings, such as wax figures representing their persona; ailments, and ask for good fortune.
Mt. Mary Church is open daily and admission is free. Visit in September for the Bandra Fair, an 8-day celebration of the Virgin Mary’s birth. Stroll among the stalls that set up in the surrounding streets and sell religious paraphernalia and street food. Watch live music performances and reenactments of biblical scenes.
Situated in Bandra, Mt. Mary Church is about a 1-hour drive from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are the most convenient way to reach the church. Public buses stop close to the church. You could also catch a train to Bandra station and then take an auto-rickshaw. Stroll along nearby Bandstand Promenade, a picturesque esplanade that curves around Bandra’s waterfront. Keep watch for the Walk of the Stars, with statues and handprints of Bollywood celebrities.
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