October 15, 2016: Mahalakshmi temple is one of the oldest and most famous temples of Mumbai and is located on Bhulabahi road and the background of Arabian Sea enhances the tranquillity of the shrine.
Built in the 18th century, during the British rule, this temple comes with an intriguing history. The British made several attempts to connect Malabar Hill with Worli, but without success. Legend has it that one night, the Chief Engineer, an Indian, dreamed of Goddess Mahalakshmi, who instructed him to retrieve three idols from the bottom of the sea. He found the idols and decided to build a temple to house them. It is believed that after he built the temple, the British were able to link Malabar Hill with Worli, and The Breach Candy came into existence.
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The temple has images of Goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati. All the images of the temple are adorned with nose rings, gold bangles and pearl necklaces. The images have a celestial appearance which lends a mystic and spiritual aura to the temple.
People from all walks of life come to the holy shrine of Goddess Malahakshmi as they believe the Goddess fulfils all the wishes of her true devotees. The temple is also famous for being one of the six places of the Shakti, where according to Hindu mythology, one can get achieve fulfilment from desire as well as salvation from it.
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During Navaratri, the whole temple is specially decorated. Devotees come from all over the country to seek blessings of the Goddess. The period of Navaratri is believed to be very auspicious. During this festival, devotees have to wait in long queues to get a glimpse of the Goddess. This period lasts for three days and devotees visit the temple on all three evenings.
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A lesser known is that the Devi is a ‘swayambhu‘ – one who has not been carved but has appeared on stone by herself. The only way one can get a glimpse of her is to visit the temple around 9:30pm. During this time, the masks are removed, and the original idols are open for darshan for about 15 to 20 minutes before the temple closes.
The temple opens at 6:00 am, directly with the ‘abhishek’ (bathing of the idol), after which the idols are covered as usual before darshan opens with the first Aarti. The original idol, being a ‘swayambhu’, is not carved, but an imprint on stone, and is covered with sindoor, as is common in Maharashtra.
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