Through The Stained Glass: Take A Look At Some Of The Most Gorgeous Churches In Mumbai
Best Churches in Mumbai
- St Andrew’s Church
- St Thomas Cathedral
- Irla Church
- St Michael’s Church
- Afghan Church
- Mount Mary Basilica
The bustling town of Mumbai has another side to its fast running and stressful pace which is more beautiful and peaceful. If you want to experience this side of Mumbai, then you must visit the numerous churches that are located in and around the city. These churches are not only places of worship but these architectural marvels are also heritage sites that offer a meditative calm.
Associated with several important stories from the past, most of the churches in Mumbai are more than a 100 years old and some, 300 years old. These churches are a splendid testament to the influence of Colonial architecture. Located in the suburbs of Mumbai, they boost its tourism too.
Here is a list of some of the most famous churches in Mumbai which are a must-visit to witness the splendid architecture and experience serenity that is hard to find in this hectic city.
St Andrew’s Church
One of the oldest churches in the city, St Andrew’s Church Bandra is around 400 years old. Built-in the 16th century by the Portuguese, it is a heritage monument with splendid architecture. The church is associated with many interesting stories from the past. This historic church withstood the terrible cyclone of 1618, the Maratha invasion of 1740 and underwent numerous repairs but still stands tall on the Bandra sea-shore. The Portuguese style architecture is reflected in every corner of this magnificent church. Statue of Our Lady and St. Andrew and the Sacred Heart along with Bom Jesus, St John the Baptist and St Sebastian are sited at the high altars.
The Bandra church is mainly popular for the largest and oldest stone cross of the city. This stone cross is located in the courtyard of the Church and was built from a single stone. Another important feature of St Andrews Church is the messages that are written on various sign boards outside the church. During the Christmas season, several performances and fairs are organized in the church courtyard where you can enjoy this colorful festival with everyone.
Location: Hill Road, Bandra
St Thomas Cathedral
This 300-year-old church was the first Anglican Church in Mumbai that was built within a British Settlement. Located in South Mumbai, St Thomas Cathedral church is one of the oldest churches in India. One of the gates of the Fort built by the East India Company served as the entrance to the St. Thomas Church. This is the reason why the nearby railway station was named churchgate. This exquisite church with its Gothic architecture will mesmerise you to the core. The beautiful stained-glass windows, stucco work on the walls, the detailed paintings, the red floor tiles and stunning ribbed-vaulted ceiling will capture your heart.
The cathedral has several carved stone memorials from the British Era including a memorial of Reverend Thomas Carr who served as the first bishop of Mumbai and some others to commemorate the martyrs of the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799. There is also a wonderful garden located just opposite the church which is a must-visit after your prayers at the church. St Thomas Cathedral Mumbai is under the control of Cathedral and John Connon School and is used for carol service, founder’s day service and other special occasions by the school.
Location: Veer Nariman Road, Fort, South Mumbai
The Church of Our Lady of Salvation or The Portuguese Church
Popularly referred as the Portuguese Church, The Church of Our Lady of Salvation was originally built by the Portuguese in the year 1596 in Dadar, Mumbai. However, the church was redesigned and reconstructed between 1974 and 1977 by the renowned Indian architect Charles Correa. The church gained some popularity after this reconstruction because of its unique design that sets it apart from a traditional church. Each corner of the church is a story of Jesus’ life.
The courtyard of the Portuguese Church Dadar houses a fitness center, a medical center, a special facility for Alcoholics and a help group for their spouses. This unconventional idea of a church doubling down as a help center is a charitable endeavour, what a place of worship like this stands for. Charles Correa with his innovative ideas turned the church of Our Lady of Salvation into one of the few historic symbols of the country that are still left. He was laid to rest at this place in 2015.
Our Lady of Health of Velankanni Church is a quaint little church located in Irla, in Vile Parle. This was the first church in Mumbai devoted to the Velankanni manifestation of the Mother Mary. The Velankanni Church in Irla was built in 1968. The church was named ‘Our Lady of Velankanni’ because of a high population of members of the East-Indian community residing in the area. Velankanni is an important shrine dedicated to Mother Mary in Tamil Nadu which attracts pilgrims from all around the country. Irla Church in Mumbai is like an extension of the original Velankanni Church in Tamil Nadu.
The church of Our Lady of Health of Velankanni in Irla is popular for its grand Novena celebrations that are held every year. The nine-day long celebration is attended by thousands of people. The key highlight of this celebration is the grand procession wherein the statue of the ‘Lady’ is carried around Irla before the feast. The Irla Church is visited by worshippers all around the year who seek good health and prosperity from Velamkanni.
Location: Society Road, Irla Vile Parle (west)
St Michael’s Church
The oldest Roman Catholic shrine in Mumbai, St Michael’s Church was built in the year 1534. Located at the Mahim Causeway and L.J Road Intersection, this church is sometimes also referred to as the Mahim Church. The church has been subjected to renovation numerous times since its construction. The current structure of St. Michael’s Church dates back to 1973. This church is a simple white and red building with minimalist interiors. St Michael’s Church is popular for the Novenas (traditional private or public prayers). Novenas are held on Wednesdays and devotees pay their respects and seek blessings from Mother Virgin Mary. Thousands of devotees from different religious backgrounds visit this beautiful place of worship every week.
St Michal’s Church came into limelight when a few years back a picture of Lord Jesus apparently started bleeding from the heart, this was never confirmed scientifically. St Michael’s Church is one of the most popular churches in the city where you can experience serenity and spirituality at its best.
Location: Lady Jamshedji Road, Mahim
Officially named Church of St. John the Evangelist, this church is popularly known as the Afghan Church. The unique name of this Christian place of worship is because of the fact that it was built to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the First Afghan War of 1838. Located in Navy Nagar, Afghan Church is a classic example of Victorian revival architecture and is known for a massive 198 feet tall structure that was built in 1850. This spire is considered one of the most expensive spires till date. Afghan Church boasts of colorful stained glass windows, gothic pointed-arched gateway and floor tiles with geometric patterns that make the church aesthetically pleasing. Afghan church appears on top of the list of must-visit churches of the city. The serene atmosphere and calmness offered by this church will keep you coming back, time and again.
Location: SBS Road, Colaba
Mount Mary Basilica
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount Church, commonly known as Mount Mary Church is situated atop a hill and offers mesmerizing views of the Arabian Sea. The church has a wooden statue of Mother Mary which is believed to have been brought by the Portuguese during the 16th century. This beautiful church has charming interiors with wall murals, gorgeous woodwork, bright walls, high and round-arch ceiling. This 100 years old Roman Catholic church is visited by people of different religions to seek blessings from the Virgin Mary for a healthy and prosperous life.
The best time to visit this church is during the annual Bandra fair, also called Mount Mary Fair which is an 8 day carnival that is organized to celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary. The festival starts on Sunday following 8th September every year.
Location: Mount Mary, Bandra West
Mumbai is home to many amazing churches that are not only stunning in appearance but also offer peace and hope on every visit. If you are in Mumbai, keep these churches in mind to make your vacation even more memorable.
Hi! I am Paridhi. When not downing endless cups of coffee and binge-ing on Masala Fries, I can be found deeply engrossed in contemporary novels. Delhiite by birth and nomad by passion. I travel and I know things. I write travel blogs by day and binge watch thriller and rom-com by night.