Haji Ali Dargah

sights / Religious

Haji Ali Dargah information

Lonely Planet review

Floating like a sacred mirage off the coast, this exquisite Indo-Islamic shrine is one of Mumbai’s most striking symbols. Built in the 19th century on the site of a 15th-century structure, it contains the tomb of the Muslim saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Legend has it that Haji Ali died while on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket miraculously floated back to this spot. A long causeway reaches into the Arabian Sea, providing access to the dargah and mosque, but at high tide, water covers the causeway and the mosque becomes an island. Thousands of pilgrims, especially on Thursdays and Fridays (when there may also be qawwali, devotional singing), cross it to make their visit, many donating to beggars who line the way. Once inside, pilgrims fervently kiss the dressings of the tomb – or at least some do. In 2012, the dargah controversially adjusted its layout to bar women from entering the inner tomb. Discussions are ongoing.