Inside Mumbai’s only Chinese shrine, the Kwan Kung Temple

Kwan Kung Temple

Located in the once called China Town of Mumbai, the Kwan Kung Temple is standing strong for 104 years and is the only Chinese shrine in the city that comes to light during the Chinese New Year.

With several lanes and by-lanes, Mumbai holds a place for some of the most iconic places that are yet to be discovered. We visited one such place that is located in the by-lanes of Mazgaon and is filled with amazement and reverence. The Kwan Kung Temple which is a Chinese shrine was built in 1919 by the See Yup Koon community. They had migrated to India to work with the East India Company and made Mumbai their place of trade until the Sino-Indian War in 1962. This community then migrated back to China but what was left behind is a beautiful representation of Chinese tradition and culture. Here is a glance at what lies behind the doors of this 2 story temple.

The Kwan Kung Temple building is painted red and golden which is quite evident from far away. You will see a lantern at the entrance and a red gate that opens to a small passage with beautiful hangings on the ceiling. You will fall in love with this place the moment you enter here.

Goddess of compassion, mercy, and kindness

The temple of Kwan Yin
Legends of Kuan Yin and Miao Shan

In the passage, there is a door that opens to the temple of Kwan or Kuan Yin who is known as the goddess of compassion, mercy, and kindness. You can experience a touch of art on the ceiling and wall as it is painted with various entities that relate to Chinese customs.

To the right, there is a board on which the legends of Kuan Yin and Miao Shan the daughter of Chinese king Miao Zhang are written. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is written in Chinese, Hindi, and English on the top of every wall which means on the path, with intention and wisdom, we can achieve the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha as Buddha holds a great significance in Chinese culture.

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Gods of blessing, longevity, and prosperity

Kwan Kung Temple
Fuk, Luk, Sau

As you finish worshiping on the ground floor and move to the first floor, you will see a mural of Fuk, Luk, and Sau. These three are considered gods of blessing, longevity, and prosperity according to the Chinese religion. There’s a statue of an elephant as well which is considered a sign of good luck and happiness in Chinese culture. On the first floor, there’s an office where you will find keys to the temple on the second floor.

On the way to the top floor, there’s a frame of the Chinese philosopher Confucius along with lanterns and a statue of a tiger who is considered a symbol of power, wisdom, and superiority. The passage on the floor is filled with wind chimes, paper lanterns, and glass-painted windows. You can also offer the candles by placing them in the tray kept outside.

God of war

As you move from the lobby towards the door, you will enter the temple of Guan Kung, the Chinese God of War. The room is full of gongs, bells, drums, and various things of Chinese culture. The God of War is placed on the altar which is beautifully decorated with red and golden designs. There is also a huge board with notes on the bamboo sheets. These notes are the fortune cards of the people which are read by fortune tellers annually.

This was all in gist about the Kwan Kung Temple. If you enjoy history and love exploring different places then this place is one you might like to visit.

Where: Dockyard, Wadi Bandar, Mazgaon, Mumbai.
Temple Timings: Monday to Saturday – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Also Read: Visit book paradise and heritage with these old libraries in Mumbai!

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