Haji Ali Dargah

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"Haji Ali" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Haji Ali, Iran. For the vaudeville performer, see Hadji Ali. For the Ottoman American camel driver, see Hi Jolly.
Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah is located in Mumbai
Haji Ali Dargah
Haji Ali Dargah
Coordinates: 18°59′06″N 72°48′36″E / 18.985°N 72.81°E / 18.985; 72.81Coordinates: 18°59′06″N 72°48′36″E / 18.985°N 72.81°E / 18.985; 72.81
Country India
State Maharashtra
Metro Mumbai

The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and dargah (tomb) located on an islet off the coast of Worli in the Southern part of Mumbai. Near the heart of the city proper, the dargah is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai.[1][2][3]

An exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Architecture, associated with legends about doomed lovers, the dargah contains the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.


The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431[4] in memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hailing from Bukhara, in present day Uzbekistan, Bukhari travelled around the world in the early to mid 15th century, and eventually settled in present day Mumbai.

According to legends[5] surrounding his life, once the saint saw a poor woman crying on the road, holding an empty vessel. He asked her what the problem was, she sobbed that her husband would thrash her as she stumbled and accidentally spilled the oil she was carrying. He asked her to take him to the spot where she spilt the oil. There, he jabbed a finger into the soil and the oil gushed out. The overjoyed woman filled up the vessel and went home.

Later, Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari had a recurring and disturbing dream that he had injured Earth by his act. Full of remorse, he soon fell ill and directed his followers to cast the coffin carrying his body into the Arabian Sea. Haji Ali died during his journey to Mecca and miraculously the casket carrying his body, floated back to these shores, getting stuck in the string of rocky islets just off the shore of Worli. Thus, the Dargah was constructed there.

On Thursdays and Fridays, the shrine is visited by at least 40,000 pilgrims. Irrespective of faith and religion, people visit the dargah to get the blessings of the legendary saint. Sometimes, especially on Fridays, various Sufi musicians perform a form of devotional music called Qawwali at the dargah.

The Structure[edit]

The entrance to the Dargah.

The Dargah is built on a tiny islet located 500 meters from the coast, in the middle of Worli Bay,[6] in the vicinity of Worli. The edifice is a brilliant specimen of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The islet is linked to the city precinct of Mahalakshmi by a narrow causeway, which is nearly a kilometre (0.62 mile) long.

The accessibility to the dargah is very much dependent on the tides. As, the causeway is not bound by railings, when the causeway gets submerged during high tide it becomes inaccessible[citation needed]. Therefore, the dargah is accessible only during low tide. This walk on the causeway, with the sea on both sides, is one of the highlights of a trip to the shrine.

Haji Ali Dargah
The Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.
Haji Ali Dargah - Night View, it looks beautiful, a piece of architecture, that will make you awestruck by its colorful reflection in the Arabian sea
A minaret at evening.
The dargah

The whitewashed structure occupies an area of a marble courtyard contains the central shrine. The tomb within the mosque is covered by a brocaded red and green chaddar (tomb cover sheet). It is supported by an exquisite silver frame, supported by marble pillars. The main hall has marble pillars embellished with artistic mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips of glass arranged in kaleidoscopic patterns interspersed with Arabic patterns which spell the ninety-nine names of Allah. As per the Muslim traditions separate praying rooms for ladies and gents are provided here to pay their respects. During the high tide, the dargah seems completely isolated with no access. It looks more like a little island.

Repair and Renovation[edit]

The six-hundred-year-old[7] dargah structure constantly erodes, due to saline winds and the impact of 80,000 visitors per week.[8] While extensive renovations were carried out in 1960 and 1964,[9] the most recentt structural upgrade of the dargah started in October 2008. The dargah will be beautified with first and second quality white marble, which will be brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the same place from where marble for the Taj Mahal was brought.

The repair and structural work is envisaged to take twenty-four months to be conducted in two phases.[10] "Phase One" will involve reconstruction of the mosque and minarets, "Phase Two" will involve renovation of the sanitarium building. When the reconstruction work is complete, the holy shrine will have the feel of a taj right in Mumbai’s brackish sea water.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thomas, Amelia (2012). Goa & Mumbai (second ed.). Footscray, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-1-74179-778-7. 
  2. ^ Parab, Kanika and Poddar, Mansi (30 January 2010). "World's Greatest City: 50 reasons Mumbai is No.1: 43. The floating mosque". CNN. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Clara (11 February 2011). "Dargah devotees against sea link landing". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "Haji Ali dargah was built in 1431 » Haji Ali Dargah , Mosque in Mumbai". Hajiali.org. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "History of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.)". Haji Ali Dargah Trust. Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai". TheMumbaiCity. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Thomas, Shibu (25 July 2009). "Court dismisses plea challenging Haji Ali revamp". the Times of India. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "About Mumbai: For the Tourist". Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Siapa Sangka India Punya Masjid Suci di Tengah Laut" (in Indonesian). Detiktravel Inside. 1 July 2015. Archived from the original on 20 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Restoration of Haji Ali Dargah". Haji Ali Dargah Trust. Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]