Haji Ali Dargah
The Haji Ali Dargah is a historical landmark in Mumbai, and is also one of the most prestigious Islamic symbols situated in South Mumbai. The Haji Ali was built by a wealthy Muslim merchant who became a saint named Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. He renounced all worldly pleasures before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Haji Ali Dargah was built in his honor in 1431 AD. The whitewashed structure is situated in an area of 4,500 meters and is flanked by crisp, marble pillars that are still marveled at today. This 400-year-old structure that stands in Mumbai today has degenerated and corroded in many places and the structural upgradation of this marvelous structure began in 2008. People from all over the world visit the Haji Ali Dargah irrespective of caste, religion and creed. The Haji Ali Dargah is a popular pilgrimage site today and most tourists visit the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari to seek his blessings for wealth, health, marriage etc. On special occasions such as the death anniversary of the saint or Eid-ul-Fir, special events or programs are organized at the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. As many as 40,000 pilgrims visit the shrine on Thursdays and Fridays. Non-Muslims are also permitted to walk on the causeway and into the Masjid compound. The only area out of bounds for non-Muslims is the sanctum sanctorum of the Masjid itself.
A well-known land mark in Mumbai, the mosque of Haji Ali is located in the Arabian Sea some 500 yards from the shore. It is connected by a causeway linking it to the busy Lala Lajpat Rai Marg near Mahalakshmi Race Course and Worli. The beautiful white mosque is said to have been built in 1431 and holds the tomb of Saint Haji Ali, who died while on a Haj journey to Mecca. Behind the façade and entrance of the Haji Ali Mosque is a courtyard where the shrine lies. There is a separate area for men and women to pray and pay their respects and everyday thousands of pilgrims circle the tomb that is placed in a silver frame and covered with a green and red chaddar. The tomb itself is replete with intricate mirror work in all colours and a mosaic of Arabic patterns that spell the ninety nine different of names of Allah. The mosque can only be approached during low tide as the causeway gets submerged in the sea during high tide and during the monsoon season. During this time the mosque looks like a floating mosque in the sea.
Many thousands of pilgrims visit this holy mosque everyday and on Thursdays and Fridays it is quite crowded as people from all faiths and religions visit Haji Ali to pay homage and be blessed by the legendary saint.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The Haji Ali Mosque can be visited at anytime of the year when the tide is low. It is best avoided during the monsoon season which is from June to August.
Legend has it that Saint Haji Ali died while on his way to Mecca and the casket containing his body was washed up on this spot. Hence the Haji Ali Mosque was built here.
The Haji Ali Mosque is open from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm everyday.