Voted as one of the 7th wonders of Mumbai, Haji Ali is a popular religious and historical landmark located in South Mumbai. It’s one of my favorite site to be recorded photographically.
The monument was built on 1431 AD to honor a wealthy Muslim merchant who became a saint named Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. There are numerous legends associated with the saint himself and the location where the marble monument has been built. Composed of ‘Makrana’ marble, the same white-washed marble that Emperor Shah Jahan used to build the Taj Mahal, the mosque spans an area of 4500 sq. feet, housing two important monuments – the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari and the Kinara mosque. Representing the finest of Indo-Islamic architecture, the core of the structure is composed of white domes and minarets.
Numerous reconstructions has helped in maintaining the architectural essence of the complex. As per the Islamic customs, a separate room is located for the ladies for prayers and paying homage to the dargah. My mom believes that when you are called by Pir Haji Ali, you have to listen to it and visit him. We were fortunate to have the support of one of the local patrons who agreed to place the chaddar (pashmina shawl) as an offering to the saint.
There is no entry fee to visit this place. However, it is always advised to maintain decorum and dignity when entering any place of religious significance. Indians are apparently very touchy when it comes to their religious sensibilities. It is always advised to wear full-sleeve clothes. Unlike the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi where you have to adorn Abbaya with Burkha and Dishdasha before entering the premises, the only rule for entering Haji Ali complex is the Womenfolk are advised to cover their head with scarf or dupatta. Most men usually cover their head with their handkerchief.
There are couple of ways to reach Haji Ali:
- From the airport, any public transport will readily take you to the holy shrine.
- Via Local train (if you are of the braveheart kind)
Option 1 – Get down at Mahalaxmi station or Mumbai Central station if you are using the Western Line.
Option 2 – Get down at Byculla Station, if you are using the Central (main) line. Numerous Taxis or buses are available to take you to the holy destination.
- B.E.S.T City buses are of course there to take you to the dargah. However you need to know which bus number will take you to the place. Apparently bus numbers 33, 84,124 and 521 should take you to the place. However, I am a very reluctant traveler when it comes to Mumbai buses, so I can not be 100 percent certain about it. I usually prefer to take a Taxi from Victoria Terminus (V.T)
Honestly, there is not a single perfect time which you can relate to Mumbai tourism. The city is always busy, and people are always there. However, the best time to visit the Dargah is during Eid-E-Milad-Un-Nabi festival and the Urs (death anniversary) of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bhukari, which is celebrated on the 16th of every Islamic month. During Eid-E-Milad-un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohamed, the trust organizes a function and puts in display the sacred relics of Prophet Mohamed after Namaaz-e-Zuhr.
The dargah is open from Monday to Saturday between 9.30 AM – 5.30 PM and is open to all. However, it is advised to be careful during the Monsoon season, since the pathway is often prone to the play of the tides and has a tendency to be submerged.
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