Visit Mount Mary Basilica or Bandra Church: The Church That’s Home to Bandra Fair (2024)
The Mount Mary Basilica in Bandra, Mumbai, is possibly the most famous Catholic structure in Mumbai. It has a deep connection with Mumbai’s cultural scene as well as its contemporary history and even pop culture. If you plan to visit Mount Mary Basilica, read this article to know more.
The Mount Mary Basilica is also locally famous as Bandra Church. Locals either call it Mount Mary Church or Bandra Church. The Church is one of the largest in Mumbai and one of the richest as well.
Bandra Church History
The structure of the Mount Mary Basilica Church has existed in some way or the other since 1570. The Mount Mary Church’s main feature is the statue of Mother Mary, whose history goes back to the 16th century.
The Mount Mary Basilica Church is a historic location and is home to several artifacts of the Catholic life in Mumbai and India. It would take you around two hours to roam and explore through the Church. One pro-tip, some areas of the Church might be inaccessible for Catholics as well as non-Catholics. This not because of religious reasons. The areas house the offices and residences of priests and other individuals who work in the Church. These individuals value the calm and serenity and are in constant prayer. Therefore, any ruckus that outsiders create will be detrimental.
Bandra Church Experience
Today, the Mount Mary Basilica Church is one of the few structures that show Gothic architecture. The gothic architecture starts from Bandra, with several buildings on Pali Hill, Hill Road, and Chapel Road being home to such buildings, and structures.
The Bandra Church is a visual delight and a must-visit place in Mumbai for anyone interested in old architecture. Like most other Churches, the Mount Mary Church or the Bandra Church also has images that portray the entire lifetime of Jesus Christ, beginning from his birth to his final crucifixion. You will also see statues of various Saints of Christianity. These carvings and images are a great example of local art mixing with Roman aesthetics.
All in all, the Bandra Church is one of the few churches that give you the experience of visiting any of the other famous Churches in India, including the ones in Old Goa. There are few churches in Mumbai that give you an experience like the Mount Mary Basilica Church or the Bandra Church. That is because many Churches were built in the sixties and the seventies and they only are inspirations of the Gothic look and feel.
Also, post the sixties, there was always a paucity of place, especially on the Bandra to Borivali stretch, so the Churches started becoming smaller and began losing their charm.
The Mount Mary Basilica Church is an integral part of Mumbai culture. In September, the Church is host to the Bandra Fair. September 8 is the birth anniversary of the Virgin Mary, the Feast of Our Lady of the Mount.
All along the route to the Mount Mary Basilica Church, you will see several vendors selling you candles, flowers, and other objects that you might use as an offering at the Church. During the Bandra Fair, the number of these vendors increases, and they offer object shaped candles to offer at the Church for specific purposes. For example, if someone wants to pray for a house, they can offer a house-shaped candle.
The Mount Mary Basilica Church has also seen some Bollywood film shooting in its vicinity. Most of the current movies use this Church as a location for their wedding sequences.
The best time to visit the Mount Mary Basilica Church is during the Bandra Fair, as the entire place comes alive. There is a lot of commercial activity. But it is also crowded during that time, and you might have to follow the orders of the volunteers.
During the Bandra Fair, local small businesses set up their stalls, and you will be able to buy several memoirs, special eatables from the South, that are otherwise available only in the shops that sell South Indian fare. A decade or so ago, visiting the Bandra Fair meant that neighbors would tell you to get the black grams that were a specialty here. For some reason, shopkeepers would also sell canes that horse cart riders would use. The cane shops do not exist now, though.
The Bandra Fair is a day-long affair, so you should plan accordingly. During the Bandra Fair, the local businesses also set up a separate funfair, where children can experience joyrides, and food lovers can try out various dishes.
Places Near Mount Mary Basilica Church
Once you have visited the Mount Mary Basilica, you have several locations in Bandra that you can go. Bandra is home to Hill Road and Chapel Road, two of the most famous lanes for lovers of fashion. These lanes are flea markets, and you can get some of the most fantastic deals on clothes, accessories, and other fashion products. Hill Road has famous eateries and bars as well.
You can easily spend the morning at the Bandra Church and then travel to the two Roads. You can also visit Bandra Fort, another destination of historical and contemporary importance in Mumbai.
Bandra is also famous for the eatery Elco, which has some of the most lip-smacking dishes that would be available only in Mumbai.
How to Reach Mount Mary Basilica Church?
It is easy to reach the Mount Mary Church. You first need to reach Bandra Station. If you are traveling from the North, board a train towards Churchgate. If coming from Churchgate, travel towards Borivali station. From Bandra, you can either board a bus or an auto-rickshaw from the rickshaw stand.