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 a blog post 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!

 

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0 thoughts on “A Chinese Temple in Mumbai

  • September 11, 2015 at 10:17 am
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    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
  • September 11, 2015 at 10:50 am
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    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
    • September 11, 2015 at 6:32 pm
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      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
  • September 11, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    A very refreshing post .A must place for visit on my next trip to Mumbai .

    Reply
  • September 11, 2015 at 4:27 pm
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    Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. Did not know about this place. 🙂

    Reply
  • September 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm
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    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
  • September 11, 2015 at 11:07 pm
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    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
  • September 12, 2015 at 8:22 am
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    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
  • September 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm
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    A rare discovery indeed. Never could have imagined a Chinese temple in Mumbai. Thanks Somali for sharing your find. Flowers for you 💐

    Reply
  • September 12, 2015 at 5:55 pm
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    Brilliant! Now thats what I call going global 🙂 . So many simple mysteries around, this one is very intriguing indeed 🙂

    Reply
    • September 12, 2015 at 8:24 pm
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      Thanks Vinay. The temple might close down due to lack of visitors. So better to spread the word around. 🙂

      Reply
  • September 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm
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    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
  • September 12, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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    After all these years, I had no idea we had a Chinese Temple in Mumbai. Thanks for sharing. Great pics.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2015 at 5:19 am
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    This surely sounds new and rather unknown 🙂

    Reply
  • September 13, 2015 at 9:50 am
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    “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
    • September 13, 2015 at 10:08 am
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      What? I just can’t believe it that having stayed in Mazagaon, you didn’t come across the temple. Makes me so happy that this bit of information could trigger off the idea for continuing your story plot. A Chinese blessing may be. 🙂

      Reply
      • September 13, 2015 at 10:28 am
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        Absolutely! Even I can’t believe that I missed it! Sari galiyaan chhan lete the, still we missed this! I’ll make amends now. Will haunt the place till I’m kicked out of there. Don’t worry. 😀

        Reply
        • September 13, 2015 at 10:37 am
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          If you go there on Sunday (11 AM -1PM), you’ll be able to meet the caretaker, who can tell you more about it.

          Reply
          • September 13, 2015 at 10:43 am
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            Will do. This Sunday is shot, but next Sunday I’ll be there for certain. Thanks again!

  • September 13, 2015 at 10:19 am
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    This seems to be a hidden gem. Thank you for showing.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2015 at 10:29 am
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    The temple looks so beautiful. A lovely account of the place. Thanks for sharing, Somali 🙂

    Reply
  • September 13, 2015 at 11:06 am
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    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
  • September 14, 2015 at 12:54 am
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    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
  • September 14, 2015 at 9:55 am
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    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
    • September 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm
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      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
  • September 14, 2015 at 10:03 am
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    Yeah, great find. I bet many in Mumbai as any idea of the existence of this temple.

    Reply
  • September 14, 2015 at 10:44 am
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    Great find. Isn’t it like discovering a rare cancer drug from a heap of data?

    -Nitin

    Reply
  • September 14, 2015 at 11:39 am
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    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
  • September 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm
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    Wow! This is a unique temple for sure. What religion do they practise here?

    Reply
  • September 14, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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    Chinese temple in Mumbai..nice discovery…really wish could see it…very interesting post!

    Reply
  • September 15, 2015 at 11:20 am
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    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
    • September 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm
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      Thank you Yogi ji. You’ve traveled a lot in the north, I am sure you’ll enjoy being in Mumbai. You’ll find it different too. 🙂

      Reply
    • September 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm
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      Wow! Another gem that I had no idea about.You just got my pulse Shweta. I will go there. So bored of the routine places.
      Hugs 🙂

      Reply
  • September 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm
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    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
    • September 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm
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      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
  • September 20, 2015 at 7:57 am
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    Hello Somali,
    I loved your post, the temple is wonderful and those paintings of Chinese gods are really cute .
    Info is interesting too 🙂

    Reply
    • September 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm
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      Thank you so much. A friend told me that there is a Japanese temple too. Intend to visit that as well. 🙂

      Reply
  • September 23, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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    Great place to visit. It was an experience to experience a piece of China in Mazgaon

    Reply
  • September 23, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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    Beautiful temple! Thank you!

    Reply

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