‘’The bustling city of Mumbai is home to diverse culture and architectural history that exists together harmoniously to form the city of dreams that Mumbai is. Among the many historical monuments and religious architecture, the Babulnath Shiva Temple sits amidst the tall modern skyscrapers and is among the oldest of the religious monuments. Built on a hillock near the Malabar Hills, the temple was constructed less than 200 years ago but its roots go back to the 12th century. The temple has a special place in the hearts of the devotees of Lord Shiva and visit the temple with great fervor and passion to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The temple is a spectacle to behold during Mahashivaratri when devotees flock the temple from early in the dawn till midnight and the joy and excitement with which the festival is celebrated is worth experiencing. The grandeur, magnificence, and the tranquility of the temple will take your mind out of the stress of life and make you forget where you are, while giving an illusion of Mount Kailash, the eternal and heavenly abode of Lod Shiva.
The legend behind the construction of Babulnath Temple dates to more than 200 years ago when the present area was a pastoral land owned by a rick man named Pandurang who had several cows who were looked after by a boy named Babul. One fine evening, Babul noticed that a cow has not been giving milk for a few days and so he diced to follow that cow while he took them to graze. While following the cow, he found that the cow was pouring all the milk in one specific place in the field, and this continued for the next few days as well. after reporting this incident to his owner, the owner Pandurang and Babul followed the cow and again and saw the cow doing the same thing. Pandurang then ordered to dig the place and excavated a large Swayambhu (a self-existing Shivalinga) along with the idols of Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, and Goddess Parvati. It is the place where the Babulnath Shivalinga and the temple resides today.
The original history of the temple though takes us back to the 12th century when a Hindu king Bhimdev erected a Shiva temple at that time. The temple got destroyed during the invasion by the Mughal invaders and the idols got concealed inside the earth. Pandurang and Babul found those hidden religious treasures during their excavation and a temple was constructed during the 1780s. There was resistance by the Parsi community because the land was close to one of their Dakhma (Tower of Silence). The matter was then taken to the court and during the 1800s a judgement was passed in favor of the construction of the temple. The temple was funded by a Gujarati merchant who built it in the year 1890. At that time, the Babulnath Temple Tower (gopuram) was the tallest structure in the city of Mumbai, however, due to lightning it got damaged afterwards.
Located in the south of Malabar Hill on a hillock of jamun and gulmohar and away from the concrete jungle of Mumbai, the beautiful Babulnath Temple overlooks the majestic waters of the Arabian Sea and dates to the Solanki dynasty which reigned over western India until the 13th century.The architecture of the temple, with its beautifully carved pillars, resembles the architectural style of the Hindu temples. It attracts people not only for its religious significance but also for the spectacular creation and its intricate inscriptions. The temple is constructed with white limestone which gives it a serene and magnificent look. There are 110 steps that leads to the main temple complex, although, a lift has been installed now for those who can’t climb all those steps. The shiva idol found during the excavation is housed inside the main shrine of the complex while the idols of Ganesh, Goddess Parvati, and Hanuman are housed inside the smaller shrines near the main shrine.
The captivating, inscribed arts of the 12th century, beautiful textures of the edifice, large sculptures of various deities are some of the great architectural features of this temple. The judgement passed by the Mumbai High Court in 1883 for the construction of the temple can be seen inscribed inside the inner walls of the temple. It is because of the stunning architectural aspect of the temple that some Indian movies have also been shot here.
Babulnath Temple is situated in Girgaum Chowpatty or Girgaon Chowpatty behind Wilson College in Mumbai. The temple is at 2km from Charni Road from where taxis and rickshaws are available from the Charni Road Station, or you can walk from the station as well.
Nestled atop a hillock and overlooking the blues of the Arabian Sea, the grand and tranquil Babulnath Temple in Mumbai is the eternal abode of the Almighty Shiva originally constructed in the 13th century and later excavated 200 years ago. One of the oldest Shiva temples in Mumbai, it is a religiously significant and highly reverent temple with a curious and captivating history.