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Haji Ali Dargah

Located in Southern Mumbai’s islet off the coast of Worli, famous Haji Ali Dargah (tomb) plus its mosque remain a notable landmark in the region. In fact this dargah as a shrine is one of the most famous Mumbai landmarks in the heart of the crowded city area.

This tomb of the Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari is a replica of beautiful Indo-Islamic architectural style that reminds of famous legends of the past era who would admire dooms present here.

Background

It was in the year 1431 that famous Haji Ali Dargah had been constructed to dedicate that to a rich Muslim merchant namely Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who went to Makkah for pilgrimage after giving up his entire wealth and worldly possessions. He belonged to present day Uzbekistan’s Bukhara he had travelled to many parts of the world during early to mid-15th century before his final settlement in present day Mumbai of India.

Stories go on about his life and one of the notable ones is that once upon a time the pious Saint witnessed one desperate woman in dreadful condition on the roadside with an empty vessel in her hand. He made a query to know the heart of the matter. She sobbingly replied to her that due to her accidental stumbling she had spoiled the oil that she carried and she now feared her husband might thrash her due to that carelessness. He then told her to let him visit the spot where oil had spilt. Once reaching there he simply poked one finger into soil to the disbelief of woman oil oozed out and the overjoyed woman took her vessel to fill that and went home thereafter.

On later occasions Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari dreamed repeatedly the worrying nightmares reminding him how such act of him had caused an injury to the earth. He was feeling remorse and very soon fell ill. He advised his disciples to rather cast his coffin that would carry his dead body into Arabian Sea instead. While he was on the journey to Makkah for pilgrimage, he died. In a miraculous turn the casket that carried his dead body reached to the shored after floating back. Interestingly it literally got stuck into rocky islet strings nearby off the shore of Worli near Mumbai. Finally his Dargah was made on that place.

According to estimations approximately 40,000 pilgrims visit the shrine on Thursdays and Fridays. Visitors of this dargah are the followers of all religions hence irrespective of all faith or religions they come for worship to obtain legendary saint’s blessings. Most often and especially Fridays are the occasions when many Sufi musicians perform Qawwali devotional music at this dargah in devotion.

The Structure

Located at a distance of 500 meters from Worli Bay coast’s middle area on a small islet, this Dargah looks beautiful in in its vicinity. This structure is a true presentation of Indo-Islamic architecture style having been built brilliantly. A narrow causeway of nearly a kilometer (0.62 mile) long connects this islet to the famous town in the Mahalakshmi precinct that looks amazing.

The tides play crucial role for the accessibility to this dargah due to its typical location. It literally becomes inaccessible while there is high tide and causeway is completely submerged as there is no railing bound on it. Keeping in consideration such factors this dargah is made accessible on those occasions tides are low. Out of the many trip highlights a visitor’s walk on a causeway surrounded by sea on either side remain the key attraction here.

This structure is a whitewashed one who’s occupying of huge marble courtyard area houses central shrine to look amazing. Brocaded red plus green chaddar or tomb cover sheet covers this tomb near the mosque itself. Marble pillars and beautiful silver frames support it to turn it beautiful. Marble pillars in the main hall are decorated with the unique mirror work art in blue, yellow and green glass chips. They are uniquely arranged in variegated patterns to portray the Arabic patterns to beautifully spell Allah’s ninety-nine names. According to the Islamic traditions men and women visiting here are advised to pray in separate rooms and to pay respects to the saint. Without any access, this dargah literally remains isolated during the time of high tide hence it simply looks like a tiny island nearby.

Repair and Renovation

Constant erosions, regular rush of approximately 80,000 visited on weekly basis and the saline winds this six-hundred-year-old Dargah structure is thoroughly rusted. It was in the year 2008 that attempt had been made to upgrade the structure of this famous Dargah. Best of the first and second quality white marbles would be brought from Rajasthan state’s Makrana to beautify this Dargah to the best extent possible. It is that place only from where marble was fetched to construct Taj Mahal as well.

Planned to divide into two phases in next 24 months as chalked out dargah’s repairing to upgrade for the structural renovation has already been decided. The reconstruction of Minarets and Mosques is planned for the First Phase while Sanitarium Building renovation would be done in Second Phase. Once its reconstruction task reaches to completion phase its feel and look would be similar to that of the Taj hence this holy shrine in Mumbai’s brackish sea water would give amazing view.

 
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