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.

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87 thoughts on “A Chinese Temple in Mumbai

  1. 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.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. “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! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 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. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 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 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.


  5. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.


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