Home A Complete Guide to Haji Ali Dargah – Mumbai

A Complete Guide to Haji Ali Dargah – Mumbai

by Dhriti
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Overview Haji Ali Dargah

Haji Ali Dargah, floating like a sacred mirage off the coast of Worli in Mumbai, is an Indo-Islamic shrine, dedicated to Muslim saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. This Islamic pilgrimage site was built in 1431 and is home to a mosque and the tomb of the saint. Legend has it that Pir Haji Ali was on his pilgrimage to Mecca when he died and his casket miraculously floated back to this place.

 

This white Islamic edifice nestled on a small islet far from the city’s shoreline, has earned immense recognition across the globe. This sacred shrine receives a huge footfall of devotees annually, who come here to offer homage to the saint, irrespective of their religion, caste, and creed.

Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari

The shrine was built in the memory of a wealthy merchant Syyed Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, hailing from Bukhara, the present-day Uzbekistan. He was an avid traveler, who traveled around the world during the 15th century, and finally settled down in Mumbai. He gave up his worldly possession before making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

There are several legends surrounding the holy saint, which state that Pir Haji Ali Shah had magical powers. He dedicated his life spreading the knowledge of Islam among devotees and did several social works. He died during his pilgrimage to Mecca. Miraculously his casket floated back to the spot where the shrine is located. His devotees decided to build the Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai and an eye-catching tomb here.

How to Reach Haji Ali Dargah

The shrine is connected with the mainland of Mumbai by a causeway. However, it is only possible to visit the site during low tide, so check the tide times locally.

By Train

There are three railway stations near the shrine- Mahalaxmi Station, Byculla Station, and Mumbai Central Station. Haji Ali Dargah nearest railway station is Central Station, which is just 3 km from the shrine. From the station you can get taxis, cabs, and autos to reach the spot.

By Sea

The shrine is located near the Worli Sea Link, and is accessible by ferries and other water transport means.

By Air

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport connects Mumbai with the rest of the world. You can board a flight from your city to here. From the airport, you can get several cabs, taxis, and other public and private owned transportation services.

Best Time to Visit The Shrine

To have a more sacred experience, visit the shrine on Thursdays and Fridays, when devotees from far and wide come to the shrine to offer homage. During these two days, the shrine also organizes qawwali and devotional songs.

Highlights

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Admire the Indo-Islamic Architecture

The shrine may not look as marvelous as other historic sites of India, but its charms lie in its simplicity. The main structure and the courtyard of the mosque were built with pure white marble, which looks ethereal from far. It has four small spiers in the corners, which supports the massive central dome. Furthermore, its standout feature is the main hall, which is supported by the marble pillars. Striking artistic mirror works are embedded on these pillars. If that’s not enough, you will find blue, green, and yellow pieces of glass, which are sprinkled with Arabic motifs that spell 99 names of Allah. There are separate praying rooms for male and female devotees, and a ‘Qawali Khana’, where you can listen to qawali or devotional songs.

Offer Prayers at the Shrine

The dargah is dedicated to Saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and devotees, irrespective of their faith, visit the shrine to offer their homage. His tomb is covered with red and green chadar. The reason behind the huge footfalls of the devotees is the magical powers the dargah has that heals illness and the prayers are answered here. The rose water they sprinkle to devotees is considered holy and known for its healing properties.

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Listen to Qawali

On Fridays, the shrine organizes Qawali nights, when famous Sufi musicians play devotional songs, known as Qawali. It takes place in open-air Qawali Khana, where devotees and musicians sit together and immerse themselves in devotion. The experience is sacred and divine. If you are in Mumbai, visit the Dargah on a Friday and enjoy a Qawali at Haji Ali Dargah at night.

Nearby Attractions

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Siddhi Vinayak Temple

The Shree Siddhi Vinayak Ganapati Mandir, dedicated to Lord Ganesha, is a Hindu Temple. It was built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patin in 1801. It is one of the richest temples in India, and every year millions of devotees from far and wide come here to seek blessings. It is one of the most revered and richest temples in India. It is just 6.2 km from Haji Ali Dargah and can be accessed by bus, taxis, and cabs.

The Long Island Bar/Bars & Lounges

Marine Drive

No trip to Mumbai is complete without taking an evening stroll around Marine Drive, a four kilometer long promenade in South Bombay. It is just 5.2 km away from the Dargah. It comes alive in the evening, as locals as well as tourists visit the drive to enjoy a cool, breeze sunset, and the view overlooking Arabian sea is kind of therapeutic. You will find several street food carts on the road side, where you can relish Mumbai’s favorite vada pav, pav bhaji, etc.

Bemelmans Bar/Bars & Lounges

Chowpatty Beach

Chowpatty Beach is just 3.5 km from Haji Ali Dargah and is a major tourist attraction in Mumbai. During weekends and holidays, the beach gets crowded with locals and tourists. Make your way to the beach in the evening to admire the ethereal sunset views over the Arabian Sea. The streets are packed with food carts that serve various drool-worthy Indian or Maharshtrian snacks. You can also enjoy some amusement rides on Ferris wheel, Merry-Go-Round, and Pony’s Ride.

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Elephanta Caves

Elephanta Caves is eight kilometers from Haji Ali Dargah and is a designated UNESCO world heritage site. It was created between AD 450 and AD 750. These labyrinths of cave temples represent some of India’s most striking temple carvings. It spreads across a 6,000 ft sq area and houses a central chamber, courtyard, several subsidiary shrines, and various rock-cut sculptures carved on the walls.

Timings

The opening Haji Ali Dargah timings start from 05:30 am to 10 pm every day, throughout the year. So whenever you are in Mumbai, you can visit the dargah as per your convenience. However, try to visit during Thursdays and Fridays for a more spiritual experience. Moreover, the months between October and March are considered the best, when the tides remain lower, allowing easy access.

Final Takeaway

Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most popular Indo-Islamic shrines in the subcontinent, which has been visited by a large number of devotees annually. But before you visit, remember it is a sacred place and hence wear something, which covers you. Revealing clothes are considered inappropriate here.

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