Bhānḍupeśvar Mahādev Mandir (Bhandup, Mumbai)

Location: Near Bhandup (West) Station, Mumbai (map).

 Timings: All Day.

About the Temple: This is a very ancient temple of Lord Śiva, from times unknown. The area derived its name as Bhandup from the name of this God. The temple is very beautiful with high Gopurams. Surrounding the main temple there are smaller temples of: Śītalā Devi, Santoshi Mātā, Hanumān, Navagrahās, Mahākālī, Mahāsarasvatī, Mahālakṣhmī, Vagheśvarī Devi, Gāyatrī Devi, Rāma Parivār. Thanks to the efforts of the management, this temple is maintained very well and is very neat. One experiences great solitude and peace in this temple though its surroundings are extremely busy with the near-by railway station. The puṣhkariṇī of the Lord, known as Bhānḍupeśvar Kuṇḍ is at a distance of around 1.5kms from the temple.  This suggests that perhaps in the ancient times, a large surrounding area belonged to the temple.

Albela Hanumān Mandir (Wadala, Mumbai)

Location: Wadala area, Mumbai (map).

Timings: All day (except afternoon).

About the Temple: The idol of Hanumān here is svayambhū. There is a very interesting story of how this idol was consecrated here. Long time ago, a king found this idol in the near-by area, which was then a forest. When he was bringing it, the idol of Lord Hanumān did not move an inch from the place where the temple is currently situated. The king was not able to move it in-spite of repeated efforts. Then he realized that it is the wish of the Lord to stay in this sacred place and then constructed a temple for the Lord. Since Lord Hanumān acted as per His will and chose not to move from this place, He was named as Albela Hanumān. The present temple priests have been worshiping this idol since atleast 150 years and they reported that the actual period of temple construction is unknown and the idol is from ancient times. The idol of Lord Hanumān has a large base and has idols of other devatās including Lord Gaṇeśa. The idol is completely covered with sindhūr, while the Lord’s mouth portion appears black and has a mustache.

Svayambhū Ganeśa Temple (Borivali, Mumbai)

Location: In Mumbai (map).

Timings: All day.

About the Temple: Though the temple is relatively new, the idol here is svayambhū. Historians believe that the idol is around 5000 years old. There is an interesting story about the discovery of this ancient idol.

Earlier this place was a hilly area. Contractors blasted rocks and supplied it to the construction sites in nearby areas. One day a worker was digging a huge rock to plant a rock detonator. At noon after having his lunch he decided to take a short nap. In his nap, he dreamed of “Śrī” (lord Ganeśa) asking him not to break the rock as his divine self would be emerging there. The worker narrated this experience to his colleagues. Everyone decided to stop the work of blasting the rocks. Next day they discovered the idol on the rocks. The rock on which Lord appeared itself resembles an elephant and the idol is located near the eye position. The localities later built the temple. The priests beautifully decorate the rock and idol everyday.

Temple Website: link.

Prabhāvatī Devī Mandir (Prabhadevi, Mumbai)

  Location: In prabhavati area, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: All day.

  Kṣhetra Purāṇam: The idol of the main deity, Prabhāvatī Devī, belongs to the 12th century. At that time, the Goddess was known as Śākambarī Devi and was the kuldevta of the Yādava king Bimba rāja of Gujarat. Unfortunately, due to the attacks of the Mughals, the Goddess was shifted to Karnataka. Later on, it was shifted to Mahim creek and subsequently, put in a well that used to exist opposite the present temple. Perhaps the people of Mumbai were fortunate, the following miracle happened in the 18th century.

Goddess Śākambarī Devi appeared as Prabhāvatī Devī in the dream of Shyam Nayak, a rich Pathare Prabhu. He then retrieved the idol from the well and constructed the temple in 1715. It is this ancient idol one can have darśan of in this temple.

  About the Temple: The garbhālayam has idols of three Goddesses Prabhāvatī Devī, Chanḍikā Devi (right) and Kālikā Devi (left). To the right of Chanḍikā Devi, there is an ancient Śiva lingam. The Goddess has four arms with Padmam, Japamālā, varada, abhaya hastams. There are other small temples of: Lakṣhmī Nārāyaṇa, Śiva, Hanumān, Śītalā Devi and Khokalā Devi. Every year in the Puṣhya month, a ten day Jātra is held, beginning on the full moon day (Śākambarī Pourṇima). The locality is now known by the Goddesses name as Prabhadevi.

Mahālakṣhmī Temple (Mahalakshmi, Mumbai)

  Location: Mahalakshmi area, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: 6am-10pm.

  Kṣhetra Purāṇam: The story of this temple is connected to the Hornby Vellard project, where the goal was to block the Worli creek and prevent the low-lying areas of Mumbai from being flooded at high tide. However inspite of multiple attempts, many portions of the sea wall collapsed. Then one night, Goddess Mahālakṣhmī appeared in the dream of the chief engineer, Śri Rāmjī Śivjī, and instructed him to find three idols of Mahālakṣhmī, Mahākālī, Mahāsarasvatī lying in the seabed and build a temple for them. She gave a boon that the sea-walls will then not collapse. Śri Rāmjī Śivjī did as instructed by the Goddess and built the present temple, in around the year 1785. One can now have darśan of the three swayambhū idols of the Goddesses. Needless to say, the sea-wall never collapsed subsequently.

  About the Temple: The idols of the Goddesses are covered with beautiful golden masks. However, one can have darśan of the swayambhū idols either in the morning during abhiṣhekam at 6am or at around 9:30pm in the night. The swayambhū idols are covered with sindhūr, as is common in Maharashtra. One has to ascend around 25 steps to reach the temple. The temple is located on the banks of the Arabian sea. One can even reach the sea by descending around 50 steps from the back of the temple. This place is very beautiful especially during sunrise and sunset. There small temples of Gaṇeśa and Hanumān near this sea-side area of the temple.

Śrī Devī Padmāvatī Temple (IIT-Powai, Mumbai)

  Location: Inside the IIT Campus in Powai, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: 6am-12pm and 4pm-9pm.

About the Temple: This is an ancient temple dating back to around 10th century, according to śilāśasanās (stone inscriptions) retrieved from the near-by Powai lake. The main deity of the temple was Lord Śiva, in the name of Nagajeśvara Svāmi (Lord of daughter of Himalayas). The temple was later maintained by Simhappa, a mahāsāmant under the Silhara kings. An agricultural land (the present IIT campus) was also donated by him to the Temple. Chattrapati Śivāji, later installed Goddess Padmāvatī‘s idol and from then the temple became famous after Her name. Padmāvatī Devi, though an incarnation of Goddess Lakṣhmī, has many striking resemblances with Mumbādevi: Devi does not have a mouth and the idol is covered with sindhūr. Also, the Devi’s chālīsa mentions Her name as Pavaīsvarī, based on which the locality is known as Powai. Perhaps this shows that Mātā Śakti is the same whether called as Pārvatī or Lakṣhmī or Sarasvatī. Currently, inside the temple premises there are three temples: Padmāvatī Devi, Nagajeśvara Svāmi and a new temple of Lord Ganeśa.

Links: Temple website.

Mumbādevī Temple (Bhuleshwar, Mumbai)

  Location: In Bhuleshwar area, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: Though open all day, since the place is a marketplace and is extremely crowded, it is advisable to visit in early morning or on Sunday. Also you might want to visit the temple during special arti at ~7:30am, ~7:30pm.

  Kṣhetra Purāṇam: Once upon a time, a rākhasa by name Mumbarāka lived in this area. He was very cruel and used to terrorize the locals. Not able to tolerate, the locals pleaded Lord Brahma to save them from the rākhasa. The Lord then created the eight-armed Mumbādevī from His body to slay the daemon. Mumbādevī  then vanquished the rākhasa and saved the locality. From then Mumbādevī was worshiped by the locals and is considered as their grāma-devata.

  About the Temple: The ancient temple was originally located at the present Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). The Britishers demolished the temple around the 1730s and built a railway station there in the name of Queen Victoria. Because of this, unfortunately, Mumbādevī was moved to an Annapūrna devi temple located at the current Mumbādevī temple location in Bhuleshwar. Currently, the temple has both the idols of Mumbādevī  and Annapūrna devi. The idol of Mumbādevī, covered in sindhūr, dressed in a beautiful robe, with the distinctive nose-ring (a mango shaped one called ‘nath’ worn by Maharashtrian women), a silver crown and a golden necklace is the one which draws everybody’s attention. Interestingly, the Goddess does not have a mouth, representing her tolerance and being a form of Bhūdevi. There are idols of other Gods like Ganeśa, Hanumān and Lord Indra in the temple premises. Because Mumbādevī  is the grāma-devata and is the protector of the area, this place is called as Mumbai.

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