One of the most visited temples in Mumbai, the Mahalakshmi temple’s earliest records date back to the 1800s. Almost 300 years old, it stands right on the edge of the shore of the city on the Bhulabhai Desai Road. “Devi Mahalakshmi in this temple has not been carved out, she is a ‘swayambhu’ which means the figure of the devi had appeared on the stone by itself”, said temple guru Arun Veerkar.
The much-revered idol of Mahalakshmi is said to have emerged from the sea, during the development works under the colonial rule.
It is believed that the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh blessed goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Kali with the powers of wealth, knowledge, and health respectively. “For a man’s development, these three elements are of utmost importance. Hence, they were given to the devis who in turn bless us with the same,” he added.
“Every morning the idols of the three goddesses are adorned anew with sarees and jewellery for the shodosho upasharik puja. The details of the idols are hidden from view under the adornments,” said Veerkar.
The temple, visited by thousands everyday, is not restricted to a particular community. “The goddesses’ blessings of knowledge, wealth, and health are for everyone. Everyone is in need of these, whether it is for a new job, or to ace exams, or to get rid of an illness, everyone comes here to pray to the goddesses,” Veerkar said. “Women are more frequent visitors all year round, especially during festivals like Navaratri,” he added.
Navaratri is the most special occasion for the Mahalakshmi temple. The day starts early at 3 am with the Chandipath puja and ends only at 12.30 am with the Shayan aarti.
The temple sees an attendance of people from all over the state,. “The idols look resplendent, and the entire temple is decorated with garlands and lights. People come all the way seeking blessings.”