The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is popularly known as Mount Mary Church. It is located atop a small hillock overlooking the magnificent Arabian Sea. This is the church of Mother Mary or Virgin Mary or Ave Maria as commonly known. There are a lot of local legends or stories about this place of worship. People of all faith are known to come here to get the blessings of the Goddess.
The church itself is not exactly known when it was built but somewhere in the 16th century when the Portuguese ruled here and brought the statue of Mother Mary built a chapel. In 1700 the Arab pirates are known to have cut the right hand of the statue as it had some gold lined object. In 1738 the Marathas then raided the church and certain parts of the church was destroyed. Then the whole of the church was rebuilt in 1760 as it stands today.
This church is built in the semi-gothic style of architecture. The lowest floor has the main entrance and two side windows to safeguard the wooden panels of the main entrance, and to enhance the beauty of the entrance, two protective gothic stone arches, supported by elegant round stone columns made of Malad stone, are placed in front of it. The twin spires on each side is about 98 ft high and has an internal staircase leading upto the top. Both the spires are crowned with a cross.
The huge bell that is installed on top one of the spire which still rings every day. The inscriptions on it reads “AVE MARIA, NOSSA SENHORA de MONTE, BANDORA 1852” (Bandora is the former name of Bandra)
The interiors have a lot of intricate Teak wood workmanship. The supporting columns have Corianthian capitals beautifully painted in gold.
Every year Bandra fair is organised after the first week of September to celebrate the birthday of Mount Mary and it draws huge crowds of devotees from all across the cities in lakhs. While walking towards the church you will see countless stalls that sell candles of different sizes and also different purposes. This I am seeing for the first time. Mount Mary is known to fulfill your wish if you are very specific. Mind you specific to the point! So when I saw candles in the shape of legs, hands, chest, eyes etc. I asked the lady of the stall. She said simplying the mystery, “If you have leg pain you offer the candle in the shape of leg, if back pain then offer the candle accordingly.”
Please pay attention to the wax model written “School”, that is to secure admission in one of the elite schools (if I may) for your children. Likewise if you need only money or want to set up a shop, then all’s available.
If you are looking to buy a car then there’s a wax model of a car too. So next time you go there be careful to pick the type of candle, if you pick a leg candle for something thats wrong with your house then you will not know what happened.
This gentleman is carrying a very interesting poster, it reads “Who will rescue you? From your sins and from the Judgement of the eternal God.” He also had a pamphelet that read “The Purpose of Man”. I wish all this was so simple.
The photographs of the church are taken from the official website of the church.