Thousands of devotees attend the monthly Chandi Homam, or yagna to Goddess Saraswati, at Matunga’s Shree Marubai Devi temple on every poornima, or full moon day. The yagnas are booked in advance by devotees but the demand for the monthly service is so high that devotees will have to wait for several years because every yagna has been booked till 2030.
The monthly yagna
The temple allows devotees to book the yagnas on all days, except the one in October called Sharad Poornima, which is a community event. Anil Gawand, a member of the temple trust, said that the monthly yagna was suggested by the then Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Jayendra Saraswathi, when he presided over the Kumbhabhishekam of the newly renovated temple in 2000. “Swamiji asked for the yagna to be done on poornima day and one devotee agreed to be the first to donate for the service,” said Gawand. “Since then the yagna has become popular. People conduct the service for help in illness, marriage and family disputes.”
The temple's history
The temple’s history is linked to the area’s development as a planned suburb in the post-plague years of the late 19th Century. Matunga, one of the original seven islands that were joined to create the city, was part of the new planned layout that included Dadar, Matunga, Wadala and Sion.
Gawand said that the temple was built at its current site in 1890 after it was moved from its old location near Maheshwari Udyan (Kings Circle).
What the devotees have to say
IBV Raghavan, a businessman from Vashi, Navi Mumbai, was the first devotee to do the monthly yagna at the temple in 2000 after advice from the shankaracharya. “I was a devotee since my college days. I lived in Chembur and used to frequently visit the temple. I used to pray here whenever I faced any problems and the issues used to get solved,” said Raghavan. “When the temple was renovated in 2000, the shankaracharya asked me to conduct a Chandi Homam every poornima. I volunteered to do it for a year, but other devotees came forward after four months.”
Shree Marubai Devi Temple |
The monthly puja became so popular that it has now been booked till 2030. November’s yagna, conducted on Tripurari Poornima on the 27th,was booked by Kalyanasundaram, a businessman from Dharavi. “The yagnas bring me peace of mind. I do not do it to pray for more money or any particular reason but the puja brings me happiness,” said Kalyanasundaram, who has booked the annual Tripurari Poornima service at the temple for five years.
The temple trust recently installed a roti-making machine which prepares food for patients and relatives of the nearby municipal leprosy hospital, and the KEM and Tata Memorial Centre Hospitals. The machine, which has a capacity to make 500 rotis in one hour, was donated by a devotee. The food will be distributed to around 1,000 patients and relatives.