Ram Temple, Walkeshwar, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Lord Rama
Presiding Deity: Valuka Ishwar – Lord of Sand
Location: Malabar Hill, Mumbai
Also known as: Banganga Tank
Special Attraction: Annual Hindustani Classical Music Festival
Best Time to Visit: January and October to March
STD Code: 022

Walkeshwar Temple or the Lord of the Sand temple is one of the oldest heritage sites in Mumbai. Situated on Malabar Hill. The original temple, which was destroyed by the Portuguese, was built by the Shilahara, who ruled the islands of Mumbai during 810 to 1260 AD. The temple was rebuilt in 1715 by a devotee named Ram Kamat.

According to Ramayana, Rama rested here on his way to rescue Sita in Lanka and constructed a lingam of sand at the site. The original Walkeshwar Temple was destroyed by the Portuguese and the sand lingam is said to have jumped into the sea to avoid desecration.

It is believed that Banganga is the tributary of the pious river, Ganga, which flows at a distance of over thousand miles. The place was called Banganga because Ban suggests an arrow and Ganga refers to the Ganges. Whatever is the story or legend, the reverence for the holy waters of Banganga is never questioned. It is worshipped by people with great respect. At religious events, people in large numbers come to take a holy dip in the mossy waters and make offerings. The tank today is a rectangular pool structure surrounded by steps on all four sides. At the entrance are two pillars in which oil lamps called diyas were lit in ancient times. The tank is spring fed and so its water remains sweet, despite being located only a few dozen meters away from the sea.

Since the temple is situated close to the tank, it is at times known as Banganga Temple also. Though the temple is usually visited by a large number of people on a daily basis. Apart from being a revered pilgrim destination, the temple is also popular for its exquisite architecture.

Legend has it that Hindu god; Ram paused at that spot on his way from Ayodhya to Lanka in pursuit of the demon, Ravana who had kidnapped his wife, Sita. Then Lord Rama was advised to worship Shinlingham and he is said to have constructed the original lingam of sand, after getting tired of waiting for his brother, Lakshman to bring an idol. The name is etymologically derived from the Sanskrit name for an idol made of sand – Valuka Iswar, an avatar of Shiva.

When Lord Ram was thirsty, as there was no fresh water readily available (except sea water), he shot an arrow and brought Ganga over here. Hence Bana (arrow in Sanskrit) Ganga. The water that feeds the tank stems from an underground spring at that spot, despite the proximity to the sea.

It is currently the site of an annual Hindustani classical music festival, which in 2005 featured musicians like classical singers Rajan and Sajan Mishra, and Santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma. Walkeshwar temple is agog with pilgrims and devotees on the Purnima (Full Moon) and Amavasya (No Moon). Now a day Banganga tank in Walukeshwar temple is the cherished site for an annual Hindustani classical music festival Organized early in the month of January by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the festival is a vibrant occasion when live musical performances and concerts conjure an eclectic musical extravaganza in the whole of the atmosphere.

Other temples in Mumbai:
Mumba Devi temple
Vaishno Devi temple
Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir
Mahalaxmi temple
ISKCON temple
Babulnath Temple

How to reach:
The nearest station is Grant Road and you can get the bus / taxi near the station that will take you there in about fifteen minutes. If you are going by bus, you have to get down at Teen Butti Junction and walk the last two minutes.

Banganaga Road,
Malabar Hill,
Mumbai- 400026 Maharashtra

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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