Mumbai, does have its own share of old structures and monuments that still stand tall in their charm. Furthermore these buildings are an example of the rich history of this city. The whole Muslim Community knows the significance, relevance and importance of the Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai. Other than being a very important site for worship, this is also one of the major sightseeing spots in Mumbai.
This is the reason why a major chunk of the tourists in Mumbai visit the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. So if you are interested in knowing everything about this particular place then keep on reading this article. I will mention all the details about this place that you will need to plan a visit to Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.
Where is Haji Ali Dargah?
Dargah Road, Haji Ali, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Haji Ali Dargah Timings:
The regular timing of the Haji Ali Dargah is from 5:30 am in the morning to 10 pm at night.
Namaz Schedule in Haji Ali Dargah
The Namaz or prayer is offered 5 times in a day.
First time is during dawn. It is known as Fajr which means dawn in Arabic. This prayer is offered even before sunrise.
Second is Zuhr which is a prayer offered at noon when the sun is just above the head.
Third is Asr, which is prayer offered during late afternoon.
Fourth is Maghrib, a prayer offered just after the sunset.
And the fifth one for the day is Isha which is prayer offered during night.
Entry fee: No entry fee is required to enter the Dargah. However you can make donations here according to your wish. It is not mandatory.
How to reach Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai
If you are travelling via Western Line then to reach Haji Ali Dargah near railway stations are Mahalaxmi and Mumbai Central. Distances from both the railway stations are around 1 km. From there you can either walk for 20 minutes or take a cab to reach the Haji Ali Dargah. Furthermore, if you are travelling on the Central Line then you can reach the Byculla Station. The distance is about 3.6 km. You can take a taxi from there to reach the Dargah in about 15 minutes. However if you are traveling on the Harbour Line then you should change into the Central Line at Kurla to reach the Dargah.
The area of the Haji Ali Dargah is located at a convenient spot that can be accessed through private buses as well. Vatsalbhai Desai Chowk is the bus stop that is near the Dargah. From there you will have to walk a few minutes to reach there. You can also drive through within the city or hire a car or take a cab to reach there.
About Haji Ali Dargah
Located on an islet on the Worli Coastline, Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque where the Muslims come to pray and offer their prayer. This mosque is a tomb which was erected to commemorate Saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari in 1431. There is a beautiful pebbled pathway that leads the way to this Dargah. Furthermore the location is one of the highlights of this majestic structure. With the waters of Arabian Sea gushing over, the ambience of the location is really peaceful.
Moreover, it is not mandatory for a person to be a Muslim to enter the Dargah. However, mostly the place is frequented by people from the Islam Community though. The donations received here are used for the scholarships of students in Madrassas and also their maintenance.
History of Haji Ali Dargah | Who built Haji Ali Dargah?
Haji Ali Dargah or Mosque is an old structure that was built during 1431. There was a famous Saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. He spent his last few years in Mumbai. Pir Haji Ali Shah had dedicated himself completely for the spread of Islam and he has done a lot to spread his religion. Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari was a rich merchant belonging from present day Uzbekistan. He was a well known sufi saint who was known for his kindness.
However, there was a story that once the saint came across a distressed woman sobbing on the streets. While being asked about the reason for her crying the lady told him that she had spilled all the oil on the street which she was carrying back home. Furthermore, to help her, the saint accompanied the lady and then with a press of his thumb on the ground he made the ground spew the spilled oil. The woman was happy that the saint had solved her problem. However, Pir Haji Ali Shah was distressed and heavily affected as he felt that he had hurt the Earth. So he left for India.
Saint Haji Ali had spent the early years of his life travelling the whole world during the 15th century. He also renounced all his possessions before he made a visit to Mecca. Later he settled in India and stayed there till his last breath. Moreover he used to stay in the location very near to the present day location of the Dargah where the tomb is placed today. During his stay in Mumbai he spent his time spreading the faith of Islam in India. Furthermore, he taught people in India about the religion and dedicated his life to the spread of Islam.
However, before his death he had one wish. He had wished that his Kafan or Shroud should be dropped into the ocean. Furthermore he wanted his body to be buried at the spot where his Kafan would be found. However, that happened near Worli Bay in Mumbai. When his shroud was found his followers decided to build a tomb just in the middle of the Sea where it was found, to commemorate the last wish of Saint Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. In the same complex they also built a mosque.
Later in 1916, this Dargah was taken over by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust. Furthermore in 1950 a sanatorium and an entrance gate were added to the complex. In 1964 renovations were done and the Dargah went through a massive transformation. Many new structures were added and major portions of the mosque were re-done. At present the structure that we see is the result of those architectural developments. Furthermore, the area at present comprises 5000 square metres.
Architecture of Mumbai Haji Ali Dargah
You can spot this in the Haji Ali Dargah photos that the Dargah is made following an Indo Islamic style of architecture. The domes and minarets itself shows a huge inclination towards the architecture from the Mughal period. The main gate or the entrance was constructed later in time. However, you can see a smooth layer of marble on it which gleams from the reflection of the sunlight.
Inside the complex there is a minaret that stands at a height of 85 feet. From the top of this minaret the Muezzin or a person of good character addresses the people following Islam to worship during all the 5 times designated in their religion. The Muezzin is appointed by the authorities of the mosque. Moving on there is a courtyard in the centre. This area is made with marbles. Furthermore, in the centre the pristine structure of the Dargah stands tall.
As soon as you enter the Dargah you can see a tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Furthermore, this tomb is wrapped in a Chaddar which is a piece of ornate carpet with Zari and brocade work on it. The carpet looks gorgeous with works done in red, green and golden on it. Visitors mostly offer flowers and other things on it.
Moving on you can see a touch of silver over the entire structure of the tomb. And the main structure is supported by eight pillars made of marbles. On top of that there is a crown. Furthermore, there is a main hall inside the tomb. The ceilings are beautifully decorated with mirror patterns. Along with that you can notice Quran verses written on the ceilings. Also ninety nine names of Allah were written on the ceilings.
Furthermore, on the side of the main hall there are other halls as well. There are specific prayer rooms for both male and female in the complex. You can find 3 halls other than this, namely the East Hall, West Hall and the South Hall. For the male worshippers the East Hall is designated and the West Hall is for the women. Furthermore there is a Qawwal Khana where Qawwali performances happen.
Some interesting points about the Haji Ali Dargah
The causeway leading to the Dargah gets submerged in water during the high tides. It almost looks as if the islet is floating amidst water. However because of this during high tide there is no point of communication from the Dargah to the mainland and vice versa. This means that people who are in the Dargah cannot reach the mainland and similarly nobody can reach the Dargah from the mainland as well. Therefore, during high tides the Dargah remains closed to the public. You need to wait for the low tide to reach the Haji Ali Dargah.
The Haji Ali Dargah is huge and can accommodate at least 1000 people at the same time. Also on the long stretch of 700 meters that leads to the Dargah there are many beggars who beg for sustaining their lives.
There is a sanatorium inside the complex that has about 30 apartments with either one or two bedrooms. However these apartments are open for renting. You can rent them for a maximum period of 3 months. Moreover the rate of rent is unbelievably low. The rate ranges from Rs. 150 to Rs. 600. This low rate is almost shocking as a basic apartment in the nearby area with a sea facing view can cost a fortune in South Bombay.
The Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most crowded and popular sites of worship for people of Islam faith. During Ramadan, Eid-ul-Uzha and Bakri-Eid the foot fall touches more than a few lakhs each day. Furthermore on a daily basis a footfall of almost 10, 000 devotees are recorded here. The number increases to even 30,000 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Many devotees visiting here have confessed how their wishes had been fulfilled after a visit to this Dargah. It is believed by many that the Dargah is ultimately powerful in its power. If someone wishes for something with pure heart, like wealth, growth, job, marriage, child, wedding etc their wishes have been granted.
Nearby places to visit from the Haji Ali Dargah
There are some places near the Haji Ali Dargah that you can visit. These are:
Located only within a kilometer from Haji Ali Dargah, the Nehru Planetarium is one of the popular spots for sightseeing in Mumbai. This is one such place that can be enjoyed by the children as well as an adult. Here you will get to see many exhibits on scientific theories, developments and discoveries. There is a dome shaped theatre inside the complex as well that hosts shows on astronomy. Furthermore, one of the interesting activities here is star gazing that a lot of people enjoy.
With the help of a giant telescope you can learn a lot about the stars and other heavenly bodies like planets and satellites. If you are a science lover or someone who holds interest in physics and astrophysics you will really enjoy this place. The visit to this place is entertaining and engaging at the same time. So definitely check this place out with your whole family.
This temple is located just 500 metres away from the Haji Ali Dargah. This is Hindu Temple dedicated to the Goddess of Wealth Mahalaxmi. Along with that the temple also has idols of Mahakali and Mahasaraswati. You can surely visit this temple nearby.
Mahalaxmi Race Course
This is one of the posh and sophisticated places in Mumbai. More popular among the elite crowd of Mumbai, this horse racing track spreads across 225 acres. Furthermore, this place is the only available Helipad for the civilians. You can learn how to ride a horse here or visit here during any of the horse races to have a great time. However you must take care of the dress code here as that is strictly followed here.
This is the unique open air laundry in Mumbai and also the largest open air laundry in the whole world. This is a wash house in Mumbai where you can take a tour to see how clothes are washed here using unique techniques. Mostly the pieces of clothes that are washed here belong to the big restaurants and eateries and textile business. If you visit here you are surely going to enjoy this experience for sure.
Things to remember while visiting the Haji Ali Dargah
- You can only take pictures of the main structure from outside or while you are going through the 640 metre long stretch of the causeway. After that photography is not permitted inside the complex.
- If you are driving to the Dargah, it can be a little bit of a hassle to park the vehicle. The area is really crowded all day and therefore parking is mostly very inconvenient at the spot.
- It is advisable that you wear decent outfits. Both men and women should cover their head while entering the mosque.
- Take note of the correct gates to enter as there are separate halls for men and women.
- Do not make loud noises inside. Make sure you are talking in a lower tone.
- Don’t unnecessarily talk on your mobile phones. If possible switch them off or keep them on silent mode.
- You should remove your shoes before entering the shrine.
- Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the peak days of visit and mostly these days are over crowded. So if you are visiting there as a sightseeing spot it would be better to avoid these days. So plan accordingly.
- The causeway gets submerged in water during the times of high tides. Do follow the instructions of the guards as they would ask you to not cross over during that time. You must wait for the time of low tide when the water would subside and the pathway would be visible again.
- The sun can be too intimidating during the afternoon. So wear sunscreen and keep yourself hydrated.
- While talking about hydration, you can surely try the tasty juices from the nearby Haji Ali Juice Centre located before the causeway. It’s a popular spot where people stop for some refreshment.
- If you are visiting on a day when the Qawwali performance is happening make sure you attend that. Because it is an extremely peaceful experience and feels devotional to attend this. The musicians and the singers sit on the floor while performing and that makes up a great ambience.
- The area has a lot of street side shops and eateries that sell delicious food. You can surely stop there and grab some food. But keep in mind the area is really busy and mostly crowded.
- If you are there before the sunset, then make sure you observe the beautiful sunset. The colour of the tomb also changes with the colour of the sky and that looks majestic as a sight.
Places like Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai are not just sites of worship. Even though it is an important sight for the people who believe in Islam as a faith, as a sightseeing site also this Dargah holds a lot of importance. The stories attached to it, the relevance of the place and the faith that the devotees have on the power of this Dargah further makes this a more important site. Furthermore the location is something that makes a visit to this Dargah even more engaging. You can simply observe the architecture here or enjoy the tranquility of this place. If you are a believer of Islam then you must visit here at least once.
However, even if you belong to any other religion you can visit the Haji Ali Dargah as religion is no bar here to pay a visit. So if you are in Mumbai then you must plan a visit to the Mumbai Haji Ali Dargah. And if you are planning to make a visit to Mumbai then you must include this spot as a part of your itinerary. I am sure you will enjoy the peaceful ambience there once you visit the spot. Do let me know what you think of this location and when you are planning a visit there. I would love to know that from you.