Haji Ali Dargah — Of beauty and majesty
The Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai is an embodiment of unwavering faith, beauty beyond words and sheer majesty. A perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and tomb and one of the most important landmarks in Mumbai. Constructed in 1431, the mosque is dedicated to the memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who gave up all his materialistic possessions before making a life-changing journey to Mecca.
Legend goes, once the Saint saw a woman crying on the road and asked her what the problem was. The woman told him that she stumbled and spilled the oil that she was carrying and her husband would beat her for this. The Saint then asked her to point out the spot where she spilled the oil. Then he jabbed a finger into the soil where the oil had spilled and the oil gushed out! The relieved and ecstatic woman filled up her vessel with the oil and went home.
The mosque and dargah feature marble pillars embellished with stunning mirror work that reflect red, yellow and green light in a kaleidoscopic manner and intricately designed silver frames. On Thursdays and Fridays this peaceful shrine is visited by over 40,000 pilgrims of all faiths and religions to get the legendary saint’s blessings. Sometimes on Fridays, Sufi musicians perform a beautiful form of devotional music called qawalli at the dargah. The mosque is situated on a tiny islet in the Worli bay and is connected to Mahalaxmi with a causeway. The walk on the causeway, with the sea on both sides is one of the highlights of visiting Haji Ali. And since the causeway does not have railings, the mosque is accessible only during low tide.
The atmosphere surrounding the mosque and the faith that emanates from within it makes one feel safe, serene and joyful. Even though this 600-year old mosque has corroded with time, it still remains one of the most beautiful religious structures India has ever seen.