Dating back to the 17th century, Mumbadevi Temple is one of the oldest temples in the city. The Hindu goddess Mumbadevi was the patron of the Koli people, Mumbai's original inhabitants, who relied primarily on fishing for their livelihood. Today the temple attracts pilgrims and tourists alike.
Surrounded by south Mumbai's busy bazaars, this ancient temple looks unassuming at first glance, with the exception of a spire-like tower adorned with sculptures of sages. Inside is an idol of the eight-armed goddess, along with a stone image of Annapurna, the goddess of food. Many tourists come here as part of an organized walking tour that also includes a visit to the nearby markets.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must-see for history buffs and those with an interest in Hindu culture and spirituality.
- Remember to dress modestly, with clothes covering the shoulders and knees.
- Travelers will be expected to remove their shoes before entering the temple.
How to Get There
The temple is located in south Mumbai, in the Bhuleshwar Bazaar neighborhood, a busy and congested area just north of the Fort area and about 10 minutes’ drive from Chowpatty Beach. It's about 10 minutes’ walk from the Masjid commuter railway station, or 20 minutes’ walk from the Marine Drive and Charni Road stations.
When to Get There
Mumbadevi Temple is open year-round. Like most goddess temples, it's at its busiest during the annual Navratri festival, which lasts for nine days in the autumn (exact dates depend on the lunar calendar). The temple is best visited early in the morning or right around dusk, when traditional aarti prayer ceremonies take place.
What’s in a Name?
Although many people still refer to Mumbai by its colonial name, Bombay, it’s officially been Mumbai since 1995. The name change came after Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena took power and legally renamed the city to its local Marathi-language name; Mumbai is named after the goddess Mumbadevi herself. Some people say that “Bombay” was a mispronunciation of “Mumbai” that stuck, but it’s more likely an anglicized version of Portuguese construction Bom Bahia (Good Bay).