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September is special for Mumbai. It is not only Ganapati time now, but also time for the week-long Mother Mary Feast that celebrates the birth of the Virgin Mary. Every year, the festivity starts from the Sunday after 8th September. Also known as the Bandra Fair, this year 8th September fell on a Sunday. Hence, the Fair started on the 8th and will get over on the 15th of September.

We figured today was a good day to go to Mount Mary’s, for, over the weekend, the place would be thronging with devotees and believers. So, soon after sending our little one to school, we took a cab to Bandra. Good decision, since there is heavy police patrolling from where the Mount Mary’s steps start and parking could take your happiness. We gladly got off our cab a little beyond Mehboob Studios and started walking towards the Church, happily soaking in the festivities and the religious fervor with every step. We had got the timings right. It wasn’t one bit crowded and we walked up in our own pace.

Should you be keen to visit Mount Mary’s during the Feast days, here’s some information that could come handy.

• Church timings During The Fair: Mount Mary’s Basilica is open for devotees throughout the day, from 5.30 am to 10 pm in the night.

• Mount Mary Fair Mass Timings: During the days of the Feast, mass starts as early as 5.30 in the morning and continues until 1pm. There’s a mass every 30-45 minutes. Remember, there’s no mass in the evenings. In case you are keen to attend a mass at the Mount Mary Church, look up the timings here — Mount Mary Feast Mass Timings

• How To Reach The Church: Park your car somewhere near the footsteps of the Mount Mary’s stairs or at Bandra Bandstand or the road near Mannat. If you notice Traffic personnel nearby, ask them where you could park. That way you save the car from being towed away. We, however, didn’t take any chance. Booked a taxi so as to save ourselves the parking hassle.

• Can Non-Christians Attend Mass Or Go To The Church? Yes. We found people from all caste and creed, every age group, making a beeline for the Holy Mother. The Church’s premises have been covered to make place for a big congregation. Enter from the make-shift gate on the left and you will reach the Basilica directly. Once you have offered prayers to the Mother, you can participate in the mass, if you so desire.

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Mount Mary Fair Canteen: The Chruch’s missionaries run the canteen. The snacks available include Sorpotel Hot Dog, Chicken Hot Dog, Samosa, Patties, Hot and Cold Beverages. Chairs and tables have been laid out at the premises of the Sister’s Convent for a relaxing snacks and tea.

Fair At The Mount Mary Steps: True to newspaper reports, the stall in the Mount Mary steps sell basic festive items to regular items. There are the stalls for rosaries, missionary books and items, as well as the stall for channa, aam papad, sweets, toys and garments too.