Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai

By Mridula Dwivedi March 1, 2015 38 Comments , ,

It all started with a visit of Nisha and her husband to my 28th floor room at the Palladium Hotel, Mumbai. We were there to attend 2015 Discover Thainess event. I had a room with the view. Over tea, they pointed out that the structure in the water was the famous Haji Ali Dargah. Now that got my attention for sure. I got an opportunity to visit the dargah the next morning.

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Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai- As Seem from my Room

Now that I could see the shrine from my room (this is through a zoom at 300mm) I had to go there. I was staying in Lower Parel and I decided to hail a taxi right outside the hotel. Now I was in for a pleasant surprise here. The taxi went by meter, the bill came to 46 rupees and the driver gave back the exact change! People who live in Delhi/NCR would sure understand why I am surprised. That was a good start to the trip.

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The Path to Haji Ali Dargah

The weather in Mumbai was surely warmer than Delhi but it was still quite mild. As a rule I like to walk but I am not so sure about the paths full of hawkers and destitutes. However, once again, people did try to sell things or ask for alms but no one was pushy even when it was obvious that we were tourists.

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Flower Shops on the Way to Haji Ali Dargah

At the beginning of the path, there is a concentration of shops selling flowers, chadar and other such things. People invariably asked if I would like to buy something, but I didn’t. They were quite alright when I stopped to click a picture even without buying anything. I was either ignored or the shop owners commented on their excellent display which compelled me to stop and click pictures!

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Mumbai

All my recent trips to Mumbai have been for events and one night affairs! This one was no different. And yet, I am getting more attracted to it with each trip. I do find it claustrophobic with all its high rises standing next to slums. The traffic makes me feel nervous but there is something about the city which surely attracts me. What it is I know not yet, but the attraction is there, it is unmistakable.

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The Haji Ali Dargah

The dargah is said to be built in 1431 AD in the memory of Peer Haji Ali. It is about 500 meters inside the sea and I am told at high tide the path becomes inaccessible. So, at high tide there are chances of getting stuck within the dargah as well. It didn’t happen to me though.

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Women at Haji Ali Dargah

There is a separate enclosure for women at the dargah. It looks like women can’t visit the main shrine but then even this vantage point gives a good view of the main shrine. Like many religious places in India, it is required that you take off your shoes to enter the main complex. You are also required to cover your head. The shrine welcomes people from all religions.

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Make a Wish!

People tie a thread to the outer walls if they wish to make a wish to the saint. If your wish is granted you are supposed to come back and remove the thread.

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Haji Ali the Main Shrine

I am told that photography at the main shrine is not allowed. However from the women’s side no one said anything when I photographed the shrine.

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Shops along the Haji Ali Path

Even though I had very little time, the shops were so colorful that I would stop to click a few pictures even on my way back.

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Sweets for Sale

One of the last pictures I clicked was of this bright orange sweet dish. After looking at this mouth watering picture I realized that I should have actually tried the stuff as well. I will surely do it next time. one of the pictures I didn’t dare to click was of a person sitting by the road, he was wearing a green kurta and his white beard had orange tinch of henna. I am still so timid when it comes to clicking people.

My visit to Haji Ali Dargah was truly memorable. So long Mumbai, till we meet next.

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38 thoughts on “Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai”

  1. I love watching Haji Ali from afar – a speck in the sea, connected to the shore with what looks like a faint white line from that far away. I’ve often wondered how visitors keep safe on monsoon days when the sea suddenly gets tempestuous! Oh, and ever since that AR Rahman song ‘Haji Ali’ (from Fiza?), I get reminded of it whenever I hear of or see the dargah. 🙂

    1. I kept thinking there is some song Ami, thank you for reminding me. Will now go and search for it on youtube.

  2. Wow Mridula, beautiful post. As soon as I opened your post, hubby was next to me and wondered, where from the view was, in the first pic, only to read, it was from Palladium. I am timid even to click the photographs of the shops, when I am not buying anything from them. Thank you for the beautiful photo series.

    1. Meghana I was lucky with the room and that Nisha pointed out the landmark! Shops I can click but people I am way too shy. We both need to get out of it 😀

  3. I visited this place last year. It didn’t impress me. Maybe because of the large crowd which was there at the time. Your pics and writing make it look more impressive.

    1. I too don’t like crowded places but I was lucky, when I went it was not crowded at all. Hence there was scope for taking pictures as well.

  4. Hey Mridula ! Finally you reached at one of my most preferred location in Mumbai. I very often go there. 3-4 years ago this shrine was even more interesting as there were no repair wok and construction done that time and the site had that something really special feel that now seems to lost somewhere. Never the less it is still very beautiful place specially in monsoon when the sea level increases and water washes away the dirt. You can check one of my video that I made on Haji ali (http://youtu.be/bbLIFVPBqzk) Suman Saurabh (Mumbai)

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the video Suman. It is such a nice video. I wish I had seen the shrine before as well but even now it was, as you said, it was a lovely place.

  5. So finally it happened. 🙂
    I read all the comments & I can see most of the people living in Mumbai, including me, have not visited it. That gave me some solace. Next time I am coming with you. 🙂

    Regarding the taxi wallas, the other day I went to meet my friend from Finland who was staying in Colaba area and the first thing he mentioned about Mumbai was that the cabbies go by meter! After so many years, I have also started falling in love with this city.

    P.S.- It was such a pleasure to meet you. In fact it was V who noticed you with “Look, Mridula!” and then I saw you. 🙂

    1. Nisha you finally mentioned V! 😀 It did happen and it was lovely. Yes next time we should go together. Living in NCR for quite sometime now I almost fell off when the taxi went by meter and the driver rendered the exact change!

  6. Oh! I remember Fizaa movie song very well! Is it that place?! Wow!
    The pictures are very beautiful, Mridula… Especially the first one. I have never been to a darga… So, that was an interest read 🙂
    TC! Keep smiling 🙂

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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