Nestled in an area dotted by state-of-the art architectural wonders and towering sky-scrapers, exists the picturesque Worli Fishing Village. An essential part of the 7 villages that make the island city of Mumbai, this eight-hundred year old village is a quintessential settlement of the original Inhabitants of Mumbai – the fishermen community.
A walk through this village transports you to the land of stories. Of people; of legends; of folklores; of superstitions. What ‘s fascinating is that nothing has changed since the time of the first settlement – Be it the way they make their nets, catch their fish, do their business, their beliefs, the custom or age-old traditions.
One such cultural insignia is the Golfa Devi – The Goddess who talks to its devotees. Loved and adored by all the village-folk, this stone idol counsels its devotees in a unique 2-way communication. Walk in here on an idle Tuesday afternoon, and you will see hundreds of devotees queuing up outside the temple to get a solution to their problems. Such is the power of the Devi.
The biggest historical attraction is the beautiful Worli Fort. Lost in the pages of history, this British watch tower still stands tall as it overlooks the beautiful Arabian Sea. Over its 350 year existence, this fort has scene pirate attacks, sea wars and has also served as a garrison. From the fort, you get to see the architectural masterpiece – Bandra Worli Sea Link on one side, and the birds-eye view of the vintage village on the other. A turn of the head and you’ve travelled 800 years in time. A pit-stop atop the fort with fresh air, refreshments and tea, energises you for the rest of your sojourn.
Located a little further from the village is the quaint Nipponzan Myohoji Temple – A Japanese Buddhist Temple – which is your next stop. Following the Nicherin branch of Buddhism, this fifty year old temple has a beautiful Buddha statue – A rarity in Mumbai. People come here to worship not only the idol, but also the lion-hearted resident Monk.
During the communal riots in 1992 that tore the city apart, the resident monk, Bhikshu Morita, walked through the blood-bathed streets propagating peace between the Hindus & the Muslims. He’s a hero worshipped by many a followers for his constant propagation of secular peace and harmony among the temple devotees.