Mount Marry church
While Bandra in Mumbai is one of the elitist areas that is also home to some of the biggest retailer brands and fine dining restaurants, it is where the devotees of Virgin Mary congregate to pray and seek blessings at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church. The most looked forward to event here is the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on the first Sunday after September 8.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount stands on a hillock, about 80 meters above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea, and attracts people from all faiths who pray to Virgin Mary for expressing their gratitude or requesting favours. However, the one time that it really comes into prominence is during the Bandra Fair when devotees come here in thousands. This is when the entire area gets decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious articles and savories. Wax figures of the Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body are sold at kiosks.
Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand. In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew’s Church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea and it was actually found floating in the sea.
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