Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai
The Haji Ali Dargah is located on a small island off shore from Mumbai in the Arabian Sea, there is only a 500 yard causeway which connects the memorial to the shore and can only be accessed at low tide. The structure is white with Mughal domes and minaret and is a famous Muslim pilgrimage site although non-Muslim visitors are welcome. As man as 40,000 pilgrims may visit the shrine on Thursdays and Fridays. During Monsoon time it is mostly closed because of the danger of crossing the causeway which has no barriers to the rough seas.
I felt great visiting the shrine, having set off early morning to avoid mid-day crowds.
The causeway had some stalls on either side, most with the blue tarp still wrapped: a good sign - in that I WAS early ;-)
Still, there were a few visitors returning from the shrine, so it certainly draws some chaps in at that hour!
Upon reaching closer, you see these imposing gates and there are steps to climb! Funny, how from a distance you don't realise the set-up!
Swiftly moving on, the lovely mosque is there in front of you :-) And after taking your footwear off, you can actually go in the central part where the tomb of the fallen and washed ashore merchant, Haji Ali, is.
Having heard a lot about this, even as a reference point for directions, I just had to visit the shrine.
Upon my arrival in the city, passing by this place on the bridge at around 1545 hours, the causeway (footpath jutting out into the sea) was packed with pilgrims!!
However, talking to locals, I discovered that if you get there by 0730 or so, there will be no crowds. So, first thing on Monday, that was my mission.
Located in Worli, across the bay from Haji Ali Dargah, the Ma Hajiani Dargah is a mausoleum for Haji Ali's sister. Like her brother, she is a Moslem saint, revered by Moslems and non-Moslems in Bombay. Her palatial mausoleum with multiple minarets and oversized blue cupola is one of the most beautiful Moslem structures in the city. It was built in 1908 over her tomb by a wealthy local, Haji Ismail Hasham, who had made his fortune in the shipping industry. He died a few years after its completion and was buried within the grounds of Ma Hajiani Dargah.
The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and a tomb built in 1431 which floats on the water. The tomb is of Hazrath Haji Ali said to be a Muslim Sufi saint however there are at least two stories as to who or what he was. One claims that he was a local rich Muslim merchant Muslim merchant who renounced all his wealth and material belongings prior to his pilgrimage to Mecca. He then died and his casket floated back to this spot. The other is that he was an Afghan mystic who live and meditated there and that it was his request that after his death, his casket be set afloat to travel to Pakistan but unfortunately only made it to this spot where the shrine stands today
One of the more spectacular religious sites in Bombay, the Haji Ali Dargah is a shrine and mosque containing the tomb of a Moslem saint named Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Situated off the shore of Bombay, the shrine is surrounded by water in high tide and is linked to the shore by a long causeway. The Dargah (= tomb) dates from the 15th century, but the beautiful white domed shrine and surrounding structures were built in the 19th century and later. Although legends vary in specific details, all agree that Haji Ali was a benevolent man whose body ended up in the Arabian sea after his death but later washed up on this tiny island off the shore. Taken as a sign, a shrine was erected on the island, exactly where we see it today. The shrine is one of the holiest Moslem sites in Bombay, one that is also considered holy by Hindus! Thousands of Moslems and Hindus cross the long causeway on a daily basis to worship at the shrine hoping to have their wishes granted. The causeway is lined with beggars, sadly often missing limbs, as well as booths of merchants selling flowers and other goods.
(Hindi: हाजी अली दरगाह) (Urdu: ÍÇÌی Úáی ÏÑÀ)
Haji Ali is a venerated tomb (dargah) of the Muslims. Not only from Mumbai, people from all parts of India come to pay homage to this mosque. Located on an island off the shoreline of Worli, Haji Ali Mosque looks stunning amidst the blue waters of the sea.
The walkway, offering 500-yard-walk, is the highlight of this expedition, where the touch of cool waters and pleasing breeze altogether will make this a divine experience. Sprawling in an area of 4,500 meters, Haji Ali Dargah has a tomb that is always covered with a brocaded red and green sheet, supported by a delicate silver frame. The marble pillars inside the main hall are decorated with multihued mirrors and embrace the ninety-nine names of Allah.
Beautiful architecture, picturesque backdrop
It's dedicated to a Muslim saint who died on his way to Mecca and it's the Haji Ali Shrine, which there was no time to visit and which comes out in the seawater, at the end of a long pathway, in my pic during low tide.
Take a walk out to Haji Ali. You will find it to be a very meaningful and profound place to visit regardless of your religious orientation. If you have time and can find your way, the blue mosque you see to the right of Haji Ali in the same bay area is Haji Ani, a smaller mosque dedicated to a female saint. A very beautiful and quiet place for prayer or reflection. Keeping with this theme, you can also visit the Mahalakshmi Temple that you will see the red roof of just to the left of Haji Ali in the same bay area. You can access this temple by getting off at the Haji Ali bus stop and walking up the street, staying right. You will see a sign directing you down the small street to the temple, it will be a little walk.