It was the first day of the Bandra Fair which commemorates the nativity of Mary and a very auspicious time to visit the Mount Mary Church which is right next to our friend’s hotel.
So we decided to kill two birds with one stone and dragged our friend out and up the tree-lined lanes winding through some of Mumbai’s most expensive real estate up the hill to the Church.
There were some interesting signs on the way.
Mount Mary Church or to use it’s official name “ The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount “ has been a place of worship in one form or another since the 16th century and is very popular in Mumbai.
Visited by people of all religions it is interesting to observe an example of the many cultural differences present in India. You can spot the Hindu worshippers easily as, accustomed to removing their footwear before entering a temple, they do the same before entering the church, despite not being required to do so. Muslim women enter and cover their heads as is their custom in the mosque.
Outside the church are stalls selling wax offerings shaped as people, houses and even body parts. If someone has an illness or injury affecting a certain limb, then you purchase the wax moulding of that body part and make an offering of it inside the church in the hope that your prayers to the Mother for healing will be heard.
I don’t consider myself a religious person, more spiritual, and not a big visitor of churches. I have to say though that it was a very pleasant experience inside. Very calm and peaceful and one can see why so many people seek this space out.
The serenity of the church is only disturbed by the large black crows cawing from their perches on the red chandeliers hanging from the church ceiling, seemingly passing comments to each other about the worshippers kneeling below.