Mumbai has literally become my second home since 2018 so much so that a lot of people back home in Delhi have started assuming that I have shifted to the city of dreams. Well, I have not. Its just that hubby has been engaged in a project here for more than an year and I keep coming to meet him in between home and travels. Looks like its time for another hilarious story on the perils of being a #consultant wife. New city, hotel life and you shuttling between places. I can go on but I will keep it for later. With this post, I want to focus on how festivals help us to discover a place better. The unmatched culture, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, friendship and flavors that one gets to see and live during festivals is heartwarming and contagious. Be it in any part of the world, festivals have a special significance and the local celebrations always give a better perspective of a place in focus.
CHRISTMAS in MUMBAI
This post is about Christmas, my visit to Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, (Mount Mary Church) in Bandra and an entirely new experience about Mumbai. I am extremely fond of festivals and feel privileged to be part of celebrations in different parts of the world. Mumbai has a couple of historic cathedrals and I was delighted to be a part of the fun and frenzy.
In the third week of December, I traveled to the city to be with my husband, so that we could wrap up the year together. Not to forget, I have an amazing set of friends too, who never fail to make my visit extremely comfortable. This is the first time that I have stayed in the city in the months of December and January and can easily declare that winters are super cool here. This is the best season and time to be here, especially if you not very fond of the chilly winters of North India. I am absolutely loving the warm, breezy and no-rains, no-fog, no chill in the air, kind of winters of Mumbai.
BANDRA has a nice Christmasy feel about it
So next time, if you find yourself in Mumbai on 25th of December, plan a visit to the Fort area or Bandra. There is cheer, glitter and lights all around. I could only manage Bandra but overall, it was great fun. I even got lucky with a small Christmas party on the eve of the festival. My friend decided to call some of her bum-chums and we put up a small party at her place, decorated our own tree and cooked some great chicken. On the D-day, I visited another friend’s house and picked up a small Christmas cake for her. And finally in the evening, I walked around Pali Hill and Chapel Road to soak in the festive vibes. Bandra boasts of Mount Mary Church, St. Peter’s Church and St. Andrew’s Church.
Bandra is one of my favorite places to shop around. I love going back there again and again. As always it is full of shopaholics but on 25th it was thriving with energy for another reason. A lot of people were there to visit the Catholic churches of the area. We parked our car at Reliance trends and decided to walk down the road. The decorations on the street guided us and Google maps took care of the rest. We walked past Chapel Road, one of the streets that you must visit if you love street art. The late Sri Devi’s art work is the recent addition to this street and I was happy to spot it this time. The street was choked with cars. However, the pretty lights strung around cottages, the hanging star in every house and glowing Christmas trees were indicative of the fact that the vibrant Catholic community of Chapel street celebrated Christmas with great enthusiasm and commitment.
Our walking route took us to St. Peters Church first but we decided to continue the walk till Mount Mary’s and visit this one during the return.
The beautiful basilica is located on a hillock, overlooking the Arabian Sea. A flight of steps took us to the edifice. Though some renovation was going on, it was beautifully decorated. My friend who has been living in Mumbai for years was quick to share that this was a very popular church of the area and was known for its celebrations during Bandra festival and Christmas mass on the eve of Christmas. Also, the statue of the mother Mary dates back to the 16th century and is believed to have been brought by Portuguese. The decorations, crowd and cheer spoke of its popularity and faith of people.
Mount Mary Church
We walked inside, said our prayers and clicked some pictures. I felt blessed to see Mother Mary with the child Jesus. The pictures, statue,nave, ceilings, serene interior of the Basilica were inspiring. The church also houses a relic containing a drop of blood of Pope John Paul II. I wanted to stay inside for some more time but it was heavily crowded and to keep the queue moving, it was important to step out and let others walk in. Outside the church, we checked out some candle and toy shops and began tracing our way to the main market of Bandra where we had parked the car.
St. Peter’s Church
On the way back, we stopped for a few minutes at St. Peter’s Church as I was curious to peep inside this colonial architecture as well. It is a very prominent one on the Hill Road and is part of the rich heritage of Bandra. This one is built in Romanesque style. There was a big compound where children were playing cricket. It wasn’t really crowded. I walked inside, said my prayers and sat down for sometime.
The walk towards to the car was easier now and we returned back home happy and cheerful. It was a well spent Christmas for sure. Another chapter was added in my Mumbai Diary.