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Know the origins of Mumbadevi – Goddess of Mumbai

Mumbai the city of dreams for millions of people, was called as  Bombay by the Britishers. The  Britishers called it Bombay from ‘Bom Bahia’, which in Portuguese translates to ‘the good bay’.

The city was renamed to its original Mumbai in 1995 after the local goddess Mumbadevi.

Mumbadevi the patron goddess of Mumbai for the locals ie the Koli fishermen (believed to be the original inhabitants of Mumbai) pray for their boats and their produce.; the goddess after whom the city gets its name.

The temple once stood at Bori Bunder on the site of the present Victoria Terminus in the central island, which was called Mumbai. The recent temple was built in 1737, after it was demolished from Bori Bunder and was constructed at Bhuleshwar.

The structure is about 600 years old, The legend as it goes that the goddess is believed to be the handiwork of Mumbaraka, a cruel giant who destroyed the city many times. Being terrorized by him regularly, the Kolis pleaded to Lord Brahma to protect them. Lord Brahma created an eight-armed goddess from his own body, to kill the giant. Mumbaraka was defeated by the goddess and asked the goddess to take his name and he then built a temple in her honor.
However local archeologists suggest that the giant ‘Mumbaaraka’ bears a close similarity to Mubarak, and perhaps the Giant is reference to Sultan Mubarak Shah of Gujarat ( son of Allahudin Khilji )who ruled over the area in the 1300s. Mubarak shah had a history of destroying temples, looting the temples or converting them into mosques.Late medieval stories often preserve historical events framed in a religious narrative.
Today, the temple stands amidst the crowded markets of steel and cloth in south Mumbai. The temple is in the bylanes of Bhubaneshwar a 10-minute ride from the charni road station and can easily be missed.
The shrine, Goddess Mumba Devi is dressed in saree with a silver crown, a nose stud, and a golden necklace. The Goddess doesn’t have a mouth, which symbolizes the Mother Earth. In the temple complex, there are other shrines for  Lord Ganesh, Maruti, Mahadev, Indrayani, Murlidhar, Jagannath, Narsoba and Balaji. For many people who have moved to Mumbai, it is said that visiting the temple creates an auspicious start to their road to prosperity. People come in lakh to take darshan of the goddess, and pray for fulfillment of their wishes. During Navrati scores of people come here for all the 9 nights.
This temple was the victim of the bomb blasts ( by Indian Muhajadeen) at Zaveri Bazar in 2011 which killed 26 people and left 130 injured
The writer can be contacted on twitter @paglagayiaurat
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