The Feast of Mount Mary and the Bandra Fair (from September 14) in Mumbai commemorates the birth of Jesus' mother on September 8.
During this week, thousands -- Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs -- flock to the Mount Mary Basilica to venerate Mother Mary.
The Portuguese built the Nossa Senhora de Monte chapel at the site in 1640.
The chapel crowned the hill till 1738 when it was razed in a raid by Maratha warriors. According to legend, six months later a fisherman recovered the life-sized statue of the Virgin from the sea. The statue was installed in the Mount Mary Church, built in 1761 with funds from parishioners.
The foundation for a new chapel designed by architect Shapoorjee Chandabhoy was laid on May 11, 1902. Built in Khandki and Porbunder stone, the church is 110 feet long, 38 feet wide, and features an inner gallery running on three sides and new towers, each 80 feet long. On December 5, 1954, the Vatican granted the church the status of basilica.
Photographs: Jewella C Miranda