Hidden Gems of Mumbai
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Mumbai is mysterious and how. Thanks to the history, culture and a happening geographic location. The reason why I say so is because there's so much that the city has, that we're absolutely unaware of and I really wonder, how?
The city has hidden gems that are worth your attention and time. Some of these places have a rich backstory whereas some have beautiful views that you wouldn't want to miss out on. So now when you're planning your weekend, here are some stunning places that you can think of visiting. Kid you not, they're amazeee.
1. Kwan Kung Chinese Temple
Hidden behind the Dockyard Road Railway station, Kwan Kung is the one and only Chinese temple present in Mumbai. It is tucked away in what was once Chinatown. The temple was built in the year 1919 at Mazgaon where the chinese inhabitants lived. It pays homage to the Chinese god of protection, justice, and courage, Guan Gong.
This temple is not that easy to find. The shrine is located in a two storey building in some smaller bylane in Mazgaon and by the first look of it, nobody would guess it to be a Chinese temple. The little Chinese like decor and the wooden red gates make it easy for everybody to spot the temple.
Taking you back to history, Early 1900’s Mazagaon was home to Mumbai’s thriving See Yup Koon community. Originally from Canton in Southern China, these people moved to India when they were working for the East India Company. They settled in Mumbai as merchants, traders and sailors. In 1962, when the Sino-Indian War broke out, many of the city’s Chinese residents migrated back to China. However, a few families decided to stay back in Mumbai in Chinatown which in present day is said to be Dockyard in Mazgaon. Supposedly, the best way to get a glimpse of Chinese culture in Mumbai is to visit Kwan Kung Temple and it’s even beautiful when visited during the Chinese New Year which is in the month of February or Moon Festival.
Quick trivia - The few remaining Chinese families staying in the lane of this temple share the same name/surname - See Yup Koon.
Things to know before you visit - If you're planning to visit the Chinese temple, there are are chances that it may not be open. In that case, one can request the family for the keys to the temple who are staying in the same building.
Where? Dockyard, Wadi Bandar, Mazgaon, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400010
2. Nipponzan Myohoji - A Japanese Buddhist Temple
Right in heart of the city and it's traffic lies a little bit of Japan that goes absolutely unnoticed.
The Nipponzan Myohoji temple which earlier was a buddhist monastery was founded by a Japanese Monk Nichidatsu Fuji Guruji in the year 1931. He was a travelling monk who came to India with some of his disciples to follow the prophecy of a 13th century monk of Japan called Maha Bodhisattva Nichiren who believed that the ultimate salvation of humanity lies in India, the land where Buddhism as a religion was founded.
During his visit to India, Nichidatsu Fuji and Gandhiji became great friends. In between 1931 and 1938 Fuji also actively contributed to India’s non-violent freedom struggle that Gandhiji started. Gandhiji was greatly influenced and inspired by Nichidatsu Fuji's thoughts and hence he use to refer to him as guruji. As a gesture to guruji and his thoughts, Birla family, in the year 1956, renovated this monastery into a present-day temple. It is since then that they have been running and maintaining the Nipponzan Myohoji temple.
Prayer timings - 6 am to 7 am and 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The sound of drums beating along with chants of ‘Na mu myo ho ren ge kyo’ is something that you should experience even if you're not a spiritual being. It feels surreal and powerful on the inside.
Temple timings - 5:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm to 8 pm