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Ancient Shree Suryanarayan Temple, Bhuleshwar, Mumbai

There are a multitude of Gods in The Hindu Pantheon that we, Hindus, pray to. All these Gods and Goddesses are invisible, seen only from the eyes of the heart, through the lens of faith.

Except one.

The Sun God, Surya Bhagwaan.

The Sun God, also known by various names like SuryaNarayan, Ravi, Aruna, Mitra, Bhanu, Kha, Pusha, Hiranyagarbha, Marichin, Aditya, Savitr, Arka and Bhaskara. Surya Narayan is the only God who can be seen everyday, also with mere mortal eyes, in the temple of the sky, as He generously blesses all the people - regardless of caste, color or religion, regardless of whether they believe or not - in the same manner, with the same illuminating energy.

Entrance to Shree Suryanarayan Temple Bhuleshwar, Mumbai
Entrance to the Shree Suryanarayan Temple in Mumbai

If there is any chance you are like me, who is a history lover and who wouldn’t mind appeasing the Sun God a little bit more, then Aamchi Mumbai has its very own, and the only temple in the form of the lesser known Surya Mandir, Shree Suryanarayan Mandir.

Tucked away neatly in a narrow lane of Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai, one of the most jam packed areas of Mumbai, the Sun temple is a serene haven away from the nonstop life of Mumbai where one can soothe their spirit in the subtle sacred energy in this ancient intricately carved temple.

Dating back 117 years, at the end of the 3rd Panjrapole Lane, just off CP Tank, the Sun Temple or The Surya Mandir or Shree Suryanarayan Mandir holds a traditionally rich significance which becomes clearer as one comes closer to the temple.

Outer wall of the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai
Outer wall of the Shree Surya Narayan Temple

Walking around its imposing architecture, I cannot help but hold my breath in amazement. A number of rishis adorn the outer wall of the temple. What is unique about all of them is that each is holding a different object and showcasing a different mudra. Every sage (rishi) is a blessing, bringing new light into different corners of your conscious, before you enter the eventual gleaming space of SuryaPrabha (sunlight).

Rishis on the outer wall of the the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai
Rishis on the outer wall of the the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai

It was founded by a  philanthropist Harjivan Vasanji Maniar, who suffered a skin ailment was miraculously cured after he worshipped the Sun, also famously known as the ‘Aarogya-dev’ or the deity granting good health. As a tribute to the Sun God, he laid the foundation for the temple but died before it could be completed. His vision was later executed by his wife Radhabai, and the temple today is run by a trust constituting members of the Dasha Sorathiya Vaniks, a community of landlords, traders and industrialists, belonging originally to Kathiawad in Gujarat, who have all contributed to the hallowed building in more ways than one. The temple honors the husband-wife duo in the office of the trust alongside the temple.

As you enter its precincts and look at the sanctum sanctorum, this temple never fails to humble you, for such is its magical magnificence. 

Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai
The temple hall of the the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai

On a single wheeled chariot, majestically driven across the skies by the differently-abled but most devoted and dexterous charioteer Aruna, with the help of seven horses, is the Surya God, seated in all grandeur and glory. The light in the sanctum sanctorum is a tinted blue making the sight even more other worldly. As I close my eyes, I can instantly  feel the warm fuzzy feeling which has long sustained us with vital nourishment without which life would be impossible.

Sanctum Sanctorum of the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai
Sanctum Sanctorum of the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai

It is a well known fact how taking in sunlight for even a small amount of time is loaded with a ton of benefits crucial for human health and well being. Same is true for the temple. By taking the blessings of the Sun God and His enlightening light, one is provided with a long life, good health and is relieved of all illnesses. 

Surya Narayan Temple or the Surya Mandir, Bhuleshwar Mumbai

Before moving out, I squint my eyes in the broad of the daylight and have one last look of the temple. As I can see, it stands tall as a reminder of who we are in the midst of darkness and gloom.

Tips, Temple Timings, Pooja Timings and other Information of the Surya Mandir in Mumbai:

1. Temple Timings: Morning 6:00 am to 12:30 pm and from afternoon 4:30 pm till sunset.

2. Prayer Timings: 6 am, 11.15 am, an hour and 15 minutes before sunset. All pujas are performed carefully, as per Hindu Vedic tradition.

3. The temple is located near Madhavbaug – it’s just a 2 mins walk from there. Its' almost in the market place, but away from the hullabaloo of the metropolitan which makes the visit peaceful. Also because of its location, you can find a lot of eateries nearby.

4. Open to everybody, the only rules for visitors are general temple etiquette and dressing in white to participate in the puja.

5. As the temple is located in the heart of Bhuleshwar, the temple has also been witness to historical events. In a very different Girgaum, in the early days of the freedom struggle and reformist movements in Bombay, Mahatma Gandhi gave his first speech after his return from South Africa in 1915 in Hira Baug hall which is barely 200 metres from the temple.


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4 Comments

  1. How wonderful to learn a little about this God who has it in his power to relieve us of all illness, blessing us with a long , healthy life.

    I too would be holding my breath at these imposing, architecturally fascinating buildings. I love the photograph of the outer wall of the Shree Surya Narayan Temple as it is just such narrow passages that I love to find myself in, wondering where/to what they lead.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,
    We feel proud to know our rich culture and heritage when we see such beautiful temples with great architecture. Thousands of such temples are there in our great country. your writing on Shree Suryanarayan Temple, Bhuleshwar, Mumbai will surely enrich the knowledge of many and make them proud.

    I also write about the history of popular great temples on my website http://wekr.in/ and request you to read my posts. Please give your valuable comments.

    I propose to write for your website on some great temples in eastern India. Please response.

    Regards
    for wekr.in
    Pannalal Bandyopadhyay
    mail@wekr.in

    ReplyDelete
  3. Always wanted to visit Mumbai, so I have putted in this year's list. Let's hope we make it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I did not know about this temple and it's a great find. Although there are so many Sun Temples in India, I never would have imagined one of them being in Mumbai! Thank you writing this - I'm surely visiting the next time I'm in town :)

    ReplyDelete

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