Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, Bandra

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Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount
Pontifical Shrine of Saint Mary of Bandra
Mount Mary Church (Bombay).jpg
19°2′48″N 72°49′21″E / 19.04667°N 72.82250°E / 19.04667; 72.82250Coordinates: 19°2′48″N 72°49′21″E / 19.04667°N 72.82250°E / 19.04667; 72.82250
LocationBandra, Archdiocese of Bombay.
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusMinor Basilica
DedicationBlessed Virgin Mary
Cult(s) presentMarian
Relics heldPope John Paul II
Functional statusActive
CompletedRebuilt 1904
Number of spires2
ArchbishopOswald Cardinal Gracias
RectorBishop John Rodrigues
Father Michael Goveas

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount Bandra also known as the Pontifical Shrine of Mount Saint Mary Church is a Roman Catholic minor basilica located at Bandra in Bombay (Mumbai), India.[1]

The shrine celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8. The annual feast of Bandra Fest is celebrated on the closest Vigil Sunday celebrated to the next Sunday completing a grand total of “eight days”. [2][3][4]

Pope Pius XII granted a decree of pontifical coronation to its venerated Marian image on 21 October 1954, signed and notarised by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini of the Sacred Congregation of Rites. The former Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Valerian Gracias executed the rite of coronation on 5 December 1954. Pope Benedict XVI gifted towards the Marian shrine a blood relic of Pope John Paul II, who made an Apostolic Visit in 1986.

The Basilica[edit]

The basilica stands on a hillock, about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many of the faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to the Virgin Mary for expressing their gratitude or requesting favours. The church was raided and destroyed in 1738 during the Mahratta Invasion of Bassein, led by the Peshva Brahmin Chimaji Appa. It was rebuilt in British Bombay.

During the Bandra Fair, the entire area is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls to sell religious articles, roasted grams, snacks and sweets. 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. The sick and the suffering choose a candle or wax figure that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help.[4]

Marian cult and veneration[edit]

The venerated statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary vernacularly called Moti Saibini.

Although the current structure and edifice of the shrine is just 100 years old and was rebuilt in British Bombay; the history behind the current statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests brought the statue and constructed a chapel in what was then, the Portuguese East Indies. In 1700, Sunni Muslim Arab pirates raiding the area took interest the golden object held by the image, so that they vandalized the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the broken statue was temporarily substituted with a statue of “Our Lady of Navigators” in the Saing Andrew's Church nearby. Legend has it that a Koli Christian fisherman dreamt of the statue floating in the sea, and as prophesied in the dream the statue was indeed found the next day, floating in the sea. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. The Koli Fishermen call the statue as Mot Mauli, literally meaning the Pearl Mother or the Mother of the Mount, Mot could be a corruption of the Indo-Portuguese word monte for "mount"; Maoli is a Marathi-Konkani word for "mother".

Accordingly, the previous original statue is now restored, is enshrined in a place of honour in the basilica. Both Hindu and Koli Christians (Bombay East Indians) visit this shrine often making the place a prominent feature of intercommunal harmony and interfaith dialogue in Bombay.[5]

Pontifical approbations[edit]

Pope Pius XII issued the following decrees for the shrine:

Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 gifted towards the Marian shrine a blood relic of Pope John Paul II, who previously made an Apostolic Visit in 1986.

Inner View of The Church

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Travel, D. K. (7 September 2017). DK Eyewitness Travel Guide India. ISBN 9780241326244.
  2. ^ Mount Mary fair begins today[permanent dead link] Indian Express, 8 September 2007.
  3. ^ Devotees throng to Bandra Fest on the opening day as stall owners protest DNA (newspaper), 13 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Mount Mary Church In Bandra Is Believed To Make All Your Wishes Come True". Fork Media. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  5. ^ A Hindu nationalist leader at the Marian Shrine AsiaNews, 12 September 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Mount Mary Church, Bandra at Wikimedia Commons