Dating back to 1785, Mahalakshmi Temple is among Mumbai's most popular Hindu places of worship, attracting pilgrims from around the world. While it's at its busiest during the annual nine-day celebration Navratri, dedicated to the goddess, a visit any time of year will give you a good introduction to Hindu beliefs and prayer.
Sometimes combined with a trip to the nearby Haji Ali Shrine, the Mahalakshmi Temple attracts more devotees than tourists, and people often come here to give offerings to the goddess in the form of jewelry, coconuts, and flowers. Inside the temple sit three idols to the Tridevi (triple goddess) in the forms of Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth), Kali (the goddess of destruction), and Saraswati (the goddess of music and education).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mahalakshmi Temple is a must-visit for those interested in Hinduism.
- Be prepared to leave your shoes at the door.
- Dress conservatively, with knees and shoulders covered.
- This temple gets crowded, and lines to give offerings are often long.
How to Get There
The Mahalakshmi Temple is located in the southern part of Mumbai, right on the coast and about a 10-minute drive or half-hour walk north of the Hanging Garden. The nearest railway station is Mumbai Central, a 20-minute walk or 10-minute taxi or auto-rickshaw ride inland. The train journey from Mumbai Central to the Churchgate station (near the Oval Maidan and Bombay High Court) takes about 10 minutes.
When to Get There
This temple is open early in the morning, just before sunrise, until well after dark. If you visit during the annual Navratri Festival, which is usually in September or October and honors the goddess Durga, be prepared for huge crowds (upwards of 100,000). If weather is your biggest concern, visit between December and February, when temperatures are mild by local standards. Mumbai is best avoided during the monsoon season (June through August).
The Dream of Mahalakshmi
Legend has it that the temple was constructed when a British engineer who was struggling to complete a seawall had a prophetic dream in which the goddess Mahalakshmi told him the whereabouts of a sacred idol and instructed him to build a temple in her honor. He did as instructed, and the seawall was finally built successfully.