|Haji Ali Dargah|
in Mumbai and India</center>
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
The Haji Ali Dargah (Hindi: हाजी अली दरगाह, Urdu: حاجی علی درگہ) is a mosque and dargah (tomb) located on an islet off the coast of Worli in Southern part of Mumbai. Lying as it does in the heart of the city, the dargah is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Mumbai.
An exquisite example of Indian 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 by a rich Muslim merchant, Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari Hailing from Bukhara, in the ancient Persian Empire and now in Uzbekistan, Bukhari travelled around the world in the early 1400s, and then settled in Mumbai.
As per the legends, surrounding his mystique, 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 that her husband would thrash her since she had stumbled and accidentally spilled the oil she was carrying. He asked her to take him to the spot where she lost 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, Bukhari had a recurring - and disturbing - dream that he had injured Mother 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.
Other stories state that the great saint, Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and miraculously his casket carrying his body floated back to these shores. 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, specially on Fridays people may find various sufi musicians performing a form of devotional music called “kawwaali” there at the "Dargah".
The dargah is built on a tiny islet located 500 meters from the coast, in the middle of Worli Bay, 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 (0.62mile) 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 the tides high tides it becomes inaccessible. 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.
The whitewashed structure occupies an area of 4,500 square metres, and an 85 foot (26 m) tower is the architectural highlight of the edifice. Behind the sculpted entrance, 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 artful 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
The five hundred year old Dargha Structure has corroded, due to constant erosion, saline winds and constant flow of 80,000 people per week. The structural upgradation of the Dargha has 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 which marble for the Taj Mahal had been brought.
The repair and structural upgradation work is envisage to take 24 months, which is being divided in two Phases. Phase One will involve reconstruction of Mosque and Minarets, Phase Two will involve renovation of the Sanitarium Building. When the reconstruction work is complete, the holy shrine will give the feel of a Taj right in Mumbai’s brackish sea water.
- Haji Ali to be razed, rebuilt, Manoj R Nair, pg 1, Mumbai Mirror; Sunday, August 28, 2005.
- Haji Ali Dargah, Muslim Pilgrimage
- Haji Ali Mosque, Pilgrimage-India.com
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</center>hi:हाजी अली की दरगाह