Haji Ali Dargah
Location: The exquisite monument pertaining to Sayed peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, where sentiments of every pilgrim meet ultimate destination, is located on an island off the Worli coast in the southern portion of Mumbai. It’s a sanctified place where Tomb as well as Durgah, both, is enticing the holiness of the place. It is 500 yards from the Mumbai coast, which appears as an ivory pearls encrusted in the middle of the Arabian Sea off Lala Lajpat Rai Marg.
Construction Period: 19th Century, in 1431
Legend: It is widely known that the religious monument was built to immortalize a wealthy Muslim merchant ‘Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari’. He was a unique being who dumped every precious material and worldly possession when he was set off to Mecca for pilgrimage. He belonged to Bukhara, a region of ancient Persian Empire, which is presently in Uzbekistan.
As the legend goes, Haji ‘the peer’ was on his way when the cry of a poor woman cemented his feet. An uninterrupted shower of tears was coming out her eyes since her vessel full of oil was spilt on the ground and now, she was trembling with fear of getting a good thrashing from her husband. The heart of peer melted and he asked her to take him to the place where oil was spilt. Then, the miracle happened. The saint poked his finger into the soil and the spring of oil shot out. Dumbstruck woman filled the vessel and depart for home with joy.
But his act of poking finger was seen as sinful act of hurting the earth in his dreams. This nightmare continued to recur. Soon after, he fell ill and urged his followers to cast his coffin in the water of Arabian Sea. The followers did as directed after his death. Haji’s soul left his body while he was on his way to Mecca. One miracle took place again when his discharged body struck the shore of Worli in a casket. Thereafter, this Dargah was constructed there.
Practices at Dargah: Devotional music with Qawwali is sung on every Friday at the Dargah. People storm to this Dargah every Thursday and Friday and the number of thronging devotees from diverse religion reach to 40,000.
Architectural style: Indo-Islamic style
Material used: White Marble (brought from Makrana, Rajasthan. It is the same lace from where marble for Taj Mahal was ordered.)
Passable: The narrow path on the island, where tomb of Haji ji is, is linked to city Mahalakshmi’s precinct. It is a kilometre (0. 62 mile) long causeway. It seems that accessibility to this Dargah depends on the consent of the tides since the soaring tides cover the passable passage during any time a year. Thus, it becomes impossible to reach there. The causeway glues eyes of the devotees and visitors.
Central shrine: The central portion of a marble courtyard has shrine that appears like an ivory drop.
Tomb: A brocaded red and green cover sheet or chaddar are veiling the tomb. An amazing silver frame and marbles on pillars are adorning the beauty of this pious place.
Mirror work in main hall: There are rainbow colour mirrors encrusted in the marbled pillars dispersing illusive patterns. Like kaleidoscope, the patterns form 99 names of Allah in Arabic transcript through chips of yellow, blue and green chunks of glass.
Prayer rooms: There is a provision of separate prayer room for males and females for discharging their religious rites comfortably.
Renovation: The saline tides of water corrode this beautiful religious masterpiece where 80,000 people throng each week. The beauty of this structure will be uplifted with the first and second quality white marble. The marbles will be brought from Makrana, Rajasthan.
The revivification will take place in two phases. The minarets and mosques will be revamped in first phase while in second phase, Sanitarium building will be renovated. The renovation will give it reflection or illusion of Taj Mahal.