The Haji Ali Dargah (Urdu: حاجی علی درگاہ , Marathi: हाजी अली दर्गा, Hindi: हाजी अली दरगाह, Gujarati: હાજી અલી દરગાહ) is a mosque and dargah (tomb) located on an islet off the coast of Worli in Southern part of Mumbai. Lying as it does in the heart of the city, the dargah is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Mumbai.
An exquisite example of Indian Islamic architecture, associated with legends about doomed lovers, the dargah contains the tomb of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of a rich Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.), who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hailing from Bukhara, in the ancient Persian Empire and now in Uzbekistan, Bukhari travelled around the world in the early to mid 15th century, and then settled in Mumbai.
As per the legends, surrounding his life, once the Saint saw a poor woman crying on the road, holding an empty vessel. He asked her what the problem was. She sobbed that that her husband would thrash her since she had stumbled and accidentally spilled the oil she was carrying. He asked her to take him to the spot where she lost the oil. There, he jabbed a finger into the soil and the oil gushed out. The overjoyed woman filled up the vessel and went home.
Later, Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.) had a recurring - and disturbing - dream that he had injured Earth by his act. Full of remorse, he soon fell ill and directed his followers to cast the coffin carrying his body into the Arabian Sea, once he died. Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and miraculously the casket carrying his body, floated back to these shores, getting stuck in the string of rocky islets just off the shore of Worli. Thus, the Dargah was constructed there.
On Thursdays and Fridays, the shrine is visited by at least 40,000 pilgrims. Irrespective of faith and religion, people visit the 'dargah' to get the blessings of the legendary saint. Sometimes, especially on Fridays, people may find various sufi musicians performing a form of devotional music called Qawwali at the Dargah.
The five hundred year old Dargah Structure has corroded, due to constant erosion, saline winds and constant flow of 80,000 people per week. The structural upgradation of the Dargah started in October 2008. The Dargah will be beautified with first and second quality white marble, which will be brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the same place from where marble for the Taj Mahal was brought.
The repair and structural upgradation work is envisaged to take 24 months divided into two Phases. Phase One will involve reconstruction of Mosque and Minarets, Phase Two will involve renovation of the Sanitarium Building. When the reconstruction work is complete, the holy shrine will give the feel of a Taj right in Mumbai’s brackish sea water.
taken from wiki
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