Monday, 11 January 2016

Famous Sufi shrine Haji Ali dargah (1431), Mumbai


Haji Ali Dargah during high tide,Mumbai. www.indiantravellers.co.in
Haji Ali Shrine is one of the Mumbai’s important land marks.  Built in Indo-Islamic architecture, on a tiny islet  500 meters  off the coast of Worli, South Bombay, it is a combination of mosque and dargah. The shrine contains the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari,  a rich Muslim businessman.
 

 This famous Sufi shrine was built in the year 1431 in memory of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari who under took pilgrimage to Mecca by selling all that he had possessed then. Business man by profession, he traveled many parts of the world. Hailing from Uzbekistan, at last, he settled in India in the 15 th century in the place which later came to be known as Bombay during the East India company rule.
Haji Ali,dargah, Mumbai. during Low tide.www.padhaaro.com
It is believed that Haji Ali Shah Bukhari had some mystic powers. One day  upon knowing from  a sobbing poor woman that she had spilled the oil accidentally  on the way home and if her husband came to know about it she would be severely punished, he stuck his finger into the spot where she spilled the oil and recovered the oil afresh for her. Subsequently he had a bad dream linking his act of sticking his finger in to the Earth and after this incident he fell ill seriously. Predicting he might die soon, he asked his disciples to cast his coffin off in the Arabian sea. He died on the way to Mecca and the coffin that was thrown into the sea, at last,  floated  back to the shore at Worli. This is the reason why the dargah was built here.

Standing in the midst of blue waters of the Arabian sea just off the coast,  the dargah is  connected by a causeway without railings on both sides and can be accessed only during low tides.  In spite of this poor access, roughly 40,000 people visit this holy place; Thursdays and Fridays are busy ones. There are separate rooms for men and women to do their Namaz. The tomb is covered with brocaded red and green cover called Chadder. The artistic works in glass include ninety nine names of Allah in Arabic.

The historical place of veneration made of white marble
Haji Ali,dargah, Mumbai. tourmet.com
requires frequent renovation because of erosion caused by the sea. During the high tide, it became an islet. Extreme care is taken to renovate this 600 years plus dargah with out disturbing its heritage value.
 

This is the only dargah that is built in the middle of the sea surrounded by saline water. Baring the difficulties to access the shrine more and more people, including Hindus visit  to seek the blessings of Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a good hearted saint

Tit-Bits:

 In November, 2012, for unknown reasons, the dargah authorities banned the entry of women in the sanctum and there was wide spread protest from a section of Muslim women and other groups.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haji_Ali_Dargah