Mount Mary Fair – One of the popular landmarks in Bandra is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as The Mount Mary Church. This is the century-old Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra West, Mumbai. The area around the Church is situated on a hillock that is named the Mount of Mary. It is beautifully located in the midst of trees, shelter homes with a sea-facing view atop the hill.
No doubt it’s a famous landmark for pilgrimage and also attracts tourists from India and the world over. During September the church celebrates the feast of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary in a grand way. There is no written evidence of the birth of Mother Mary, however, September 8 is celebrated as her birthday world over.
The Week Long Celebrations
The celebrations of festivities and offerings that follow, lasts for a week. The Queen of the Suburbs totally comes alive during these eight days as the areas around the Mount are lined with festive lights, music, stalls and shops. These include amongst others, traditional Christian sweets, snacks, artifacts, and religious relics. Games and rides for kids provide entertainment for the entire family.
Devotees from all over throng to the good old Bandra to first get a glimpse of their favourite Virgin Mother Mary adorned in refinery and flowers. Special busses are arranged from Bandra Station to carry the devotees to and fro. Volunteers help ease pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It is commonly believed that when you pray with fervor and devotion, your wishes do come true here. People even offer colourful wax candles and models of houses and babies etc, in symbolic prayer. The first glimpse of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus is breathtakingly beautiful evoking intense emotions.
The Bandra Fair Memories
As a child, I was told that when you light a candle at The Basilica during this week of festivities then your wish will definitely be granted. I vividly remember going to The Bandra Fair each year with my Dad and sister. It was a ritual we always looked forward to and was never missed.
Standing in those long queues to offer flowers and candles did not deter us, because we were all so excited to take that turn towards the fair but after our offerings were done. Sometimes we had cousins and neighbours who accompanied us to add to the fun and frolic. The aroma of roasted gram and soap bubbles filled the air.
Dad would give us Rs 50 each to spend. The amount was good enough to get us rides in the Giant wheel and also take home some eats and religious artifacts. Licking on Iced Candy and super sweet Cotton candy floss gave us our dosage of a Sugar rush. Dad would take us to a Photo Stall to click a group photo as a remembrance of the visit. We would either pose against the painted Taj Mahal wall or pose driving a cardboard car. The photographer went under a black curtain to click the photo. It would take an hour to develop or then Dad would pick it up the next day. He always marked the photograph with a date/year on the reverse.
This Years Mount Mary Bandra Fair 2020
However this year amidst the Covid-19 pandemic the celebrations are canceled. Keeping in mind the large social gatherings which will only add to the rising number of people getting infected through the Asymptomatic patients. But, one can still get a glimpse of the Church Mass conducted and telecasted online through the Mount Mary Basilica online broadcast and website. I visited the Church last week even though it was closed, just to feel the calm, sanctity, and peace of the environment and also to relive the happy memories of my childhood.
Let us all pray to Our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary and Baby Jesus to bring back our lives to normalcy and hopefully in the year 2021 we all can look forward to happier days again.