Every year in September, the feast of ‘Our Lady of the Mount’ is celebrated on the Sunday following September 8, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the Mother of Jesus Christ. It is a weeklong celebration that attracts thousands of people from all over Mumbai and its suburbs. The Bandra Fair is estimated to be around 450 years old. The fair started when a statue of Mother Mary was found floating in the Arabian Sea between 1700 A.D. and 1760 A.D., which, according to a legend, a Koli fisherman had dreamt about a few years earlier. Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady of Mount goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to Bandra and constructed the Mount Mary’s church there.
In 1700 A.D., Arab pirates disfigured the statue of Our Lady by cutting off her right hand. In 1760 A.D., the Mount Mary’s church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators from the St. Andrew’s Church nearby in Bandra. This statue had an interesting history. It goes on that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 A.D. and 1760 A.D. However, in 1761 A.D., the original statue of the Lady of Mount was renovated with a child in her arms and is worshiped at the fair ever since.
On the other hand, a lot of people in Bandra (West) have been requesting the Police Commissioner to discontinue the week-long fair that has been going on since the last 450 years. I would like to inform these people that if they cannot tolerate the crowd and the noise to better leave Bandra and find accommodation somewhere else. As a former resident of Bandra (West), I enjoyed the fair when I was a little boy. Even now I do. This year, the fair will be celebrated from September 10 till September 17.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)