Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque located in the Southern part of Mumbai. It is one of the most famous religious places in Mumbai. It is also one of the most popular and prestigious landmark of India. It is situated in the middle of the Arabian Sea and is about 500 yards away from the Mumbai shoreline. It floats like a sacred mirage off the coast in Mumbai and contains the tomb of the Muslim Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. There is a Masjid too at Haji Ali along with the tomb of the Saint. A long cause way is built in order to reach the Dargah. It is also an example of the beautiful Indo Islamic Architecture. This structure was initially built on a set of high rising rocks and in the early 19th century after the trust was legally formed as an entity in 1916 it was given its present day shape.
The Haji Ali Dargah was built in the year 1431 in the memory of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who before making his pilgrimage to Mecca gave up all his worldly possessions. He travelled the world in the early 15th century and then settled in the present day Mumbai.
According to the myths about his life it is said that once he saw a poor woman on the road crying and holding an empty vessel. When he asked her as to why she was crying, she replied that she accidentally spilled the oil from the vessel and her husband would beat her up if she went home with that empty vessel. So the saint asked her take him to the place where she had spilled that oil. Upon reaching there, he jabbed a finger into the soil and the oil came out. The woman overjoyed with that filled her vessel and went back home.
Later, the saint kept getting the same disturbing dream where he had injured the Earth by his act. Full of sorrow by that thought, he soon fell ill and told his followers to cast his coffin carrying his body into the Arabian Sea instead of burying it somewhere when he was dead. His followers followed his instructions and left his body into the sea. The coffin carrying his body floated back to the shores and was stuck in the string of rocks. And thus, the Dargah was constructed at that very spot.
The Haji Ali Dargah is a blend of the Mughal and Indo Islamic architecture. It is built using the same marble ‘Makrana’, which Shah Jahan had used to build the Taj Mahal. The Haji Ali Dargah occupies 4500 sq meters of space and it is 85 feet tall in height. While entering the Dargah complex the very first thing that you will notice is the marble courtyard with the central shrine and the mosque which is decorated using the red and green sheets. The artistic marble pillars and the mirror work in kaleidoscopic patterns makes the mosque very attractive and a beautiful sight to witness. On the mirrors of different colours there are ninety nine names of Allah inscribed on it in Arabic. The Dargah has typical white domes and minarets. But as the Dargah is very old it has started corroding at various places due to the saline winds so the Dargah trust is trying to rebuild the structure at various places that are corroded.
WORSHIP AND MUSIC
The Dargah can be visited only during the time of low tide. During high tides the water covers the cause way that is built for people to reach the Dargah making it impossible to visit it. According to the Muslim tradition, Haji Ali Dargah has two praying rooms one for ladies and another for men. Once inside some visitors frequently kiss the dressings of the tomb. The Dargah is a famous pilgrimage site for Muslims. However, Non Muslims are allowed to visit too. Thousands of people come here every day and visit the Dargah. People of all caste, creed and religion visit this place in order to gain the blessings of Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and for the fulfilment of their wishes. Some pray for health while some for wealth, children, etc and all have their wishes being granted here.
The number of visitors increases on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Lakhs of people visit the Dargah on the second day of Ramzan Eid and Bakri Eid making the pathway appear like a sea of humanity. Sometimes, especially on Friday’s special Sufi musicians come to the Dargah in order to sing and perform. They sing devotional music called Qawalli here at the Dargah. On certain important events like the death anniversary of Peer Haji Ali and the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed the food is distributed amongst the visitors, devotees and Fakirs.
Apart from visiting the Dargah and seeking the blessings you can also enjoy the local stalls outside the complex on the pathway which will give you a chance to indulge in some delicious local specialities such as Mughlai Biryani, Kebabs, Hyderabadi fast food and chat. Thus Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited and most popular attractions in Mumbai.