The Haji Ali Dargah is a historical landmark in Mumbai, and is also one of the most prestigious Islamic symbols situated in South 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. The Haji Ali Dargah was built in his honor in 1431 AD. The whitewashed structure is situated in an area of 4,500 meters and is flanked by crisp, marble pillars that are still marveled at today. This 400-year-old structure that stands in Mumbai today has degenerated and corroded in many places and the structural upgradation of this marvelous structure began in 2008. People from all over the world visit the Haji Ali Dargah irrespective of caste, religion and creed. The 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.
The Haji Ali Dargah was built by a wealthy merchant known as Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who decided to renounce all worldly possessions and turned into a saint just before going for a pilgrimage to Mecca. 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. Since then, the monument has been a custodian of the shores of Mumbai.
The Haji Ali Dargah is made of 'Makrana' marble, the same whitewashed marble that Emperor Shah Jahan used to build the Taj Mahal. The Haji Ali Dargah houses two important monuments-tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and a mosque. 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. With the permission from the Central Government, the Dargah Trust is now trying to source the Makrana marble to rebuild the structure in various places.
Things To Do
Apart from visiting the Dargah, offering prayers and seeking the blessings of the saint, there are various other things to do in and around the Dargah. Local stalls outside the complex of the Haji Ali Dargah will give you the opportunity to indulge in some delicious local cuisine and local specialties such as Kebabs, Chaat, Ice-cream, Mughlai Biryani, Hyderabadi fast food and even American fast-food. Apart from food, there are markets located close by if you are an avid shopper-the best places would be Crawford Market and Fashion Street. If you enjoy serenity and happen to be a nature lover, you can decide to unwind at the beach at Mahim Bay.
The Haji Ali Dargah is located in South Mumbai, off Lala Lajpat Rai Marg. Some of the most prestigious landmarks are situated close to the Haji Ali Dargah. The Mahalakshmi Race Course Stadium is located 11 km from the Haji Ali Dargah while the Worli sea-link lies at a distance of 6 km. The sea-link will help you get to Worli and Bandra, both of which are located close by.
How To Reach
The Haji Ali is well-connected by rail networks. One needs to either get off at Mahalakshmi Station, Mumbai Central Station or Byculla Station to get to the Haji Ali Dargah. Once you disembark at the station, local transport such as B.E.S.T buses, auto-rickshaws and even taxis will help you reach the destination.
The Haji Ali Dargah comes on the way to Worli and is situated right next to the Worli sea-link. One can reach the Haji Ali Dargah via Ghatkopar (Eastern Express Highway) or even from Shivaji Park. Local transport such as B.E.S.T buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis can be hired to reach the spot. Some of the bus route numbers are 33, 84,124 and 521.
The Haji Ali Dargah is a popular pilgrimage destination in Mumbai. Every week over thousands of devotees, Muslims and non-Muslims, flock the Dargah to seek the blessings of saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Apart from its religious significance, the Haji Ali Dargah is famous for being pleasing to the eye and is the best place to head towards, if you are seeking solace and serenity.