Haji Ali Dargah - Historical landmark in Mumbai




Haji Ali Dargah is a famous sufi mazars in India located on an islet in Southern Mumbai, surrounded by the Arabian sea, this religious Dargah is amongst the most notable attractions of Mumbai. Near the heart of the city proper, the dargah is one of the most recognisable landmarks of 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. he 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.


History of the temple

The mosque (Masjid) inside the complex and the Dargah were built in 1431 AD. It is believed that on the way to Mecca, Haji Ali perished and the casket that carried his body floated back to the 'Dargah' on its own. However, another legend states that Haji Ali drowned at the point where the Dargah now stands today. Haji Ali Dargah is one of India’s most famous and prestigious landmarks situated about 500 yards from the Mumbai shoreline in the middle of the Arabian Sea off Lala Lajpatrai Marg. The structure was erected on a set of high rising rocks and was given its present day shape in the early 19th century after the Trust was legally formed as an entity in 1916. A magnificent example of such spread of Islam by an Iranian saint was that of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. In the propagation of Sufism, he travelled all the way to Mumbai leaving all his earthly belongings behind in his home town of Bukhari according to the tradition of Sufi Qalanders. It is a belief of the Muslims that the holy saints who sacrifice and devote their lives in the way of Allah are immortal. The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 it seems. On Thursdays and Fridays, the shrine is visited by atleast 4,000 pilgrims of respective faith and religion. People visit the Dargah popularly known as Haji Ali, to get the blessings of the legendary saint Pir Hazrat Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. 


Architecture

The architecture of this monument reflects the styles and patterns of Mughal and Indo-Islamic architecture. The Haji Ali Dargah occupies 4,500 sq. meters space and is 85 feet tall. A marble courtyard with the central shrine, and the main mosque brocaded with a red and green sheet are the first structures you see while entering the Dargah complex. Artistic marble pillars, mirror work with kaleidoscopic patterns and minarets sentinel the shrine in the center, making the monument a grand sight for all. The Haji Ali Dargah is a 400-year-old structure and is corroding in various places. 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.