The Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai

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The tomb and mosque complex appears to float in Worli Bay, giving it an unusual feeling of importance and mystique

Haji Ali Dargah is one of Mumbai’s most iconic and sacred spots. The dargah (tomb) and mosque complex appears to float in Worli Bay, giving it an unusual feeling of importance and mystique. Of course, in reality it’s built on a tiny island situated a little way off shore.

Throughout the day 10-15,000 pilgrims pack the 500-metre (550-yard) long causeway that provides the only access to it (consider timing your visit away from Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, when as many as 30,000 visit). Queuing reverently, they stretch from the gates of the complex gates all the way to the mainland.

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The dargah was built in 1431 in memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Legend has it Haji Ali died at the spot where the dargah now stands shortly after departing on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

For such an ancient construction built in such an inhospitable place (the Arabian Sea lashes the island and causeway during rainy season) the complex has stood the test of time remarkably well.

Sadly there are concerns about how much longer it will last. The Trust responsible for it want to underpin its foundations with the same marble that the Taj Mahal is built with. How they will achieve such an incredible feat of engineering is anyone’s guess. Best visit sooner rather than later is all we’ll say.

Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
At high tide the only access is by causeway
Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
Beggars line the causeway
Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
The dargah at the heart of the complex
Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
Crowds pack the causeway
Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
Beggars are as much a fixture as pilgrims and law enforcement
Haji Ali Dargah - Image Gallery
The sun must set, even over such a holy place
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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Images: nehasingh7; my hovercraft is full of eels; lecercle; Paul Carvill; Tom Spender; Shreyans Bhansali; travelwayoflife)

The Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai was last modified: November 4th, 2015 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (1167 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to momondo.com.