Constructed in 1431, the Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and tomb (dargah) situated on a small islet, 500m from the coast in the middle of Worli Bay in Mumbai.
Access to the mosque and tomb is only possible at low tide, as the causeway is submerged during high tides. You can view the high and low tide times for Mumbai here.
The mosque was built in memory of a wealthy merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Shah Bukhari, who was born in Uzbekistan and travelled widely in the 15th century before settling in present-day Mumbai.
There are many miracles attributed to Sayyed Peer Haji Shah Bukhari both during his lifetime and after his death. One such story has the Saint praying in his hometown when a lady passed by crying and screaming. When he enquired about her crying, she pointed to an empty vessel in her hand and said that she had dropped some oil, and if she went home without the oil her husband would beat her. The Saint asked her to be calm and went with her to the place where the oil had been dropped. He then took the vessel from the wailing lady and pushed the earth with his thumb. Oil immediately came out like a fountain, and the vessel was filled. The Saint gave her the vessel full of oil and she went away happy.
Shortly afterwards, the Saint was troubled by dreams of having wounded the earth by striking it in this manner with his thumb. Full of remorse and grief, and with the permission of his mother, he travelled to India with his brother and finally reached the shores of Mumbai, near Worli. His brother went back to their hometown with a letter from the Saint informing his mother that he was keeping in good health and that he had decided to stay at this place permanently in order to the spread the word of Islam.
Before his death he advised his followers that they should not bury him at any proper place or graveyard, but should instead drop his shroud (kaftan) in the ocean and he should be buried by the people where it is found.
His followers obeyed his wish, the shroud came to rest on a small mound of rocks rising above the sea, from where his tomb and mosque was subsequently built.
With thousands of visitors each week and exposed to the saline winds, the structure is in a state of constant erosion. Extensive renovations have been undertaken in 1960, 1964 and again in 2008, with the building now clad in white marble from Makrana (Rajasthan), the same source of marble used for the Taj Mahal in Agra.
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