Wandering Through Bombay–2: Mount Mary Basilica
So this Sunday afternoon post lunch, I headed out to Bandra with the intention to visit Mount Mary Basilica. Though I’ve been there before during Sunday morning mass but I wanted to visit and observe the architecture and minute nitty gritties of the Church in peace, and a pleasant and cloudy Sunday afternoon seemed just perfect for it.
Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, commonly known as Mount Mary Basilica or Mount Mary Church, dates back to the 16th century, back when Bombay was under Portuguese occupation. It is situated at a beautiful location, atop a hill overlooking the Arabian Sea.
This beautiful Church is Bombay’s most visited one too, it has also been visited by two Popes in the 20th century. Every year in September, the Church organises a week long fair, known as mount Mary fair which draws people from various walks of life who come here to pray to Virgin Mary and offer wax candles and idols. I’ve heard that one gets typical Goan food here during the fair; well, then this gives me another reason to visit Mont Mary’s this September.
(Left) Crucified Jesus outside the Church.
This idol at the altar is said to have been brought to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Arabs in the same century disfigured the statue by cutting one of its hands. The statue was reconstructed in 1761 with baby Jesus in its arms and it has adorned the church ever since.
The thing I liked the most about the Church was that photography was allowed inside the premises. That’s quite tolerant as compared to Isckon temple in Juhu where it was completely prohibited.
(Left) Vendors selling Jesus idols and other religious wares outside the Church.
(Bottom) View from the top of the hill.
In the end, no matter how we view them today in India, but there’s no denying that British and Portuguese have left us beautiful architecture in Bombay which is now our heritage and duty to preserve.