A Chinese Temple in Mumbai

By Somali K Chakrabarti

One of the benefits of being a part of the blogosphere is that you readily come across a wealth of information shared by people from their own experiences.

During my entire stay in Mumbai, though I have been to a number of Chinese restaurants, I had never heard about any Chinese temple in Mumbai, till I came across this post in We Travel Solo about the only Chinese temple in Mumbai.

So off we went to explore the temple on the weekend.

Close to the Dockyard Station, on Nawab Tank Road, nestled in a quaint lane in a two storeyed house in Mazagaon is the old Chinese temple. Except for a small wooden gate painted in red, nothing about the two storeyed building suggests from outside that there is a temple inside.

Chinese Temple in Mumbai

A small wooden staircase leads to the temple on the second floor. As we climb up a picture of three Chinese gods Fuk, Luk, Sau (gods of wealth, Prosperity, and Longevity) painted on the wall and small statues on the sides of the stairs greet us.

The Kwan Tai Shek temple is supposed to be dedicated to an army Nobel Kwan Tai Kwon.

Chinese Temple in Mumbai

On finding the temple closed, I approach the family that stays on the first floor (as suggested in the post). The lady is gracious enough to give me the keys. With that I open the temple door.

Chinese Temple in Mumbai

Inside the sanctum, on a beautifully decorated red altar, is an idol of Nobel Kwan Tai, dressed in silk robe and ornaments,

Chinese Temple in Mumbai

The temple is well maintained and is decorated with Chinese fresco and motifs. Incense sticks, paper money, dragons and other decorative pieces are neatly placed on a table. The red painted doors of the temple, décor, and the traditional Chinese hangings are redolent of an old era. We find Chinese scriptures clipped on the wall.  These are used for telling fortune. There is an air of silence around the place.

The temple is nearly a hundred years old. Very few people visit the temple except during the Chinese New Year. The caretaker had left for the day and would be back next day.

 

Chinese community in Mumbai

The visit to the temple, gave me a peep into the history and culture of the small Chinese community in Mumbai, who came to India with the East India Company and made Mumbai their home around 200 years back.

It seems that there were thousands of Chinese in Mumbai by the early 1900s, with most of them living in and around the dock areas. But, when the relations between India and China deteriorated during the Indo-Chinese war, the Chinese community was looked upon with suspicion. Many of these families were repatriated to China and some chose to migrate to Canada. The number of Chinese who stayed back in Mumbai dwindled drastically.

 

Chinese Temple in Mumbai

The Kwan Tai Shek temple, representative of Chinese spirituality in Mumbai, is definitely worth a visit, for all those who are interested in exploring the multi- cultural aspects of different communities living in the Maximum city.

Please like, share and/or leave feedback in comments below! :P

 

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Readers Comments (87)

  1. WoW! I never heard of a Chinese temple in Mumbai. Incredible pictures:)

    Reply
  2. What a wonderful experience it might be to open the door of a Chinese temple. It looks so tidy, neat and peaceful….:-)

    Loved the cute, little read gate… There are so many such places nurturing in the deepest corners of every metropolitan city, they stand as the marks of a cosmopolitan culture.

    Reply
  3. That’s the beauty of cities: there’s so much to discover. But I do like to return to the peacefulness of the countryside.

    Reply
    • Its not the same here Kim as it is in UK. Those, like us, who are settled in the cities hardly ever go back to the countryside , due to the lack of infrastructure and facilities . We hope that’ll change in the future. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
  5. bhudeb chakrabarti September 11, 2015 @ 11:21 am

    A very refreshing post .A must place for visit on my next trip to Mumbai .

    Reply
  6. Wow! Never knew it was there in Mumbai 🙂 will go for sure !

    Reply
  7. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. Did not know about this place. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Never thought there would be such a temple in Mumbai…seems even the visiting Chinese themselves wouldn’t be knowing about this!

    Glad you spread the word around.

    Reply
  9. you are right…this is definitely one of the benefits being part of the blogosphere 🙂

    Reply
  10. I too didn’t know of Chinese temple in mumbai and they came during British rule times..
    Great share…those are some lovely pics !

    Reply
  11. I think local government of Mumbai should advertise this as a tourist spot with complete historical background. That is what countries like US, Canada, Japan does.

    Reply
  12. A rare discovery indeed. Never could have imagined a Chinese temple in Mumbai. Thanks Somali for sharing your find. Flowers for you 💐

    Reply
  13. Brilliant! Now thats what I call going global 🙂 . So many simple mysteries around, this one is very intriguing indeed 🙂

    Reply
  14. This is very special for me. I’m in Mumbai since 1971 but never knew that such temple existed here. Thanks for providing such a great information. I’ll make all efforts to pay a visit to the temple.

    Reply
  15. After all these years, I had no idea we had a Chinese Temple in Mumbai. Thanks for sharing. Great pics.

    Reply
  16. Seems quite promising, I had no clue about the place. I am sure to visit it in my next Mumbai visit 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  17. This surely sounds new and rather unknown 🙂

    Reply
  18. “One of the benefits of being a part of the blogosphere is that you readily come across a wealth of information shared by people from their own experiences.” -How true!

    I spent 35 years of my life in Mazagaon! Spent my childhood in Nawab Tank and P D’Mello Roads! Still have my house in Mazagaon, was too interested in Chinese and Japanese culture! And, to think, I never came across this!

    Cannot thank you enough for this post! Next weekend I’m going to visit this temple. Also, I was writing a story on Chinese Curse and was stuck. Now I found an idea, thanks to you!

    A brilliant post and a reprieve to me! 🙂

    Reply
  19. This seems to be a hidden gem. Thank you for showing.

    Reply
  20. The temple looks so beautiful. A lovely account of the place. Thanks for sharing, Somali 🙂

    Reply
  21. 2travellingsisters September 13, 2015 @ 11:06 am

    Wow, thats amazing. Thanks for the share Somali, we have been looking forward to visit such unexplored spots in Mumbai. A Chinese temple in Mumbai is pretty interesting 🙂

    Reply
  22. Such a beautiful place! Calm and serene!

    Reply
  23. What a find Somali and what a feeling it must be to take the keys and open it yourself!

    Reply
  24. I love the red door making it presence seen by peaking through the vines. .No pun intended! My experience in Mumbai is at the train stations, and the airport. Professor eliminated Mumbai and Delhi from the itinerary this time because of the huge crowds , traffic jams etc for 12 people to stay together or get safely around and the prices! Maybe we will go back to India, my dream, on our own and . visit some day!

    Reply
  25. It’s good to know about this temple in Mumbai. I’m curious to know about its religious beliefs. Could you please tell the name of religion the temple belongs to?

    Reply
    • Thank you Ravish. I am sorry ,I really am not sure about the religion, but looks like some religion practiced in ancient China. This kind of temple decor is found in old Shanghai & Beijing temples, which are not the same as Buddhist pagodas. They have their Chinese gods and goddesses and own rituals.

      Reply
  26. Yeah, great find. I bet many in Mumbai as any idea of the existence of this temple.

    Reply
  27. Nitin 'fLanker' Balodi September 14, 2015 @ 10:44 am

    Great find. Isn’t it like discovering a rare cancer drug from a heap of data?

    -Nitin

    Reply
  28. Hidden Gem of Mumbai.How was the feeling when you were given the key to open the Temple door?Really bliss right? Thank you so much for sharing such a lovely temple.:).

    Cheers,
    Sriram & Krithiga

    Reply
  29. Wow! Never knew it was there in Mumbai 🙂 will go for sure !

    Reply
  30. Wow! This is a unique temple for sure. What religion do they practise here?

    Reply
  31. Chinese temple in Mumbai..nice discovery…really wish could see it…very interesting post!

    Reply
  32. A very interesting Article.. Well narrated!

    Reply
  33. I never been there in Mumbai but whenever will get a chance to be there , will definitely this place in my list Somali ji . very well written with pictures !!

    Reply
  34. Kolkatay puro china patti achhe, 🙂 never been there though!

    Reply
  35. One more fact about Mumbai I have learnt today!

    Reply
  36. that is so informative, being a Mumbaikar myself i had no clue the Chinese temple existed 🙂 Though I have visited a Japanese temple at Worli naka…may be that could be your next visit 🙂 http://www.mid-day.com/articles/exploring-mumbai-nichiren-buddhist-temple-in-worli/16136193

    Reply
  37. What a find!
    I know what that must have felt like. I visited one some time back and it was so interesting, thanks to the kind man who was patient enough to listen to my questions and help me understand it all.

    The place looks so attractive. 🙂 Thank you for telling me about the Chinese temple in Mumbai and showing me a few pictures.

    I hope you’ll get to go to more unique places like this.

    Reply
    • Thank you D. Like you, I too have a volley of questions whenever I see something unique. So I can understand your curiosity as well as the plight of the person who has to oblige with answers. 🙂

      Shweta has shared the info about a Japanese temple n Mumbai that I wasn’t aware of. Will go there as well.

      Reply
  38. Hello Somali,
    I loved your post, the temple is wonderful and those paintings of Chinese gods are really cute .
    Info is interesting too 🙂

    Reply
  39. Kanchan Chakrabarti September 23, 2015 @ 9:57 pm

    Great place to visit. It was an experience to experience a piece of China in Mazgaon

    Reply
  40. Beautiful temple! Thank you!

    Reply
  41. Very cool. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

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