Haji Ali Mosque, detailed description and photos

Through Mumbai – from the Marina Drive seafront to the Haji Ali Mosque.

From the morning I started slowly moving towards the Mumbai waterfront, which stretches for many kilometers along the Indian Ocean, but first I had to walk three kilometers from my hotel – through the neighborhoods of the old center of Bombay.

Yesterday I walked through the center and noted that Mumbai (Bombay) is quite similar to a European city – beautiful buildings, including neo-Gothic style, spacious squares, parks, monuments. But there is an Indian specificity – can not do without it – and it is quite noisy, dirty in some places, a lot of vendors – some sell their stuff right on the sidewalks.

-Tuk-tuks are banned in downtown Bombay, which has had a positive effect on this part of town

-Going strictly west -I soon came out onto the Marine Drive promenade.

-Marina Drive is one of the symbols of Mumbai -it’s a huge rounded promenade where the local youth hang out.

-There are views of skyscrapers – but in the morning it was hard to see them – there was a haze (fog).

-Many Indian movies have been shot here.

-It’s clean enough, though I didn’t risk going swimming in the sea.

-I headed along this promenade-watching the locals.

-The architectural ensemble in the style of Constructivism was built here in the 30s of the 20th century, because of the planned development of the area reclaimed from the sea.

-The houses here are all homotypic – respectable buildings without any extravagances of 5-6 floors with rounded corners. Each house has its own name, not a number.

-For Bombayites, it’s a place of mass festivities, especially for young couples.

-One of the local customs is to be photographed with Europeans – so I had to take two pictures with Hindus.

-I gradually approached the beaches -with a long and wide strip of sand.

-There were a huge number of seagulls on the beach – which are fed by the locals.

-The promenade is nice and it is necessary to walk along it (tuk-tuks) are also prohibited here. There is a lot of greenery and palm trees.

-I went down to the beach.

-It was warm, but I did not risk a swim (because the next day I was leaving for Goa, where I will have a beach vacation).

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-In the green zone near the beaches – there are cafes and toilets. In general, this beach is not bad, just need to clean the sea from the dumping of raw sewage and just trash, and then it will be a super place in Bombay.

-I headed along the promenade again, which was gradually rounding off.

-The houses like this (pictured) are mostly inhabited by rich Bombayites. And Bombay itself is the most economically developed Indian metropolis.

-Mumbai is one of the most contrasting cities in the world. Here the antiquity is adjacent to the modern, poverty and luxury. The city is full of nightclubs and temples, secular people and religious fanatics.

-Mumbai has the largest slums and the most expensive real estate in Asia.

-When I got to the end of the promenade I saw such a pile of garbage – how do Hindus manage to pollute even beautiful places (they seem to enjoy it) – I realized that I was right not to bathe in this sea.

-Then my way was to one of the main historical landmarks of Bombay – the Haji Ali Mosque.

-In the meantime, I headed on foot through the modern districts of Bombay with numerous high-rise buildings.

-However, here too, the birthmarks of India were showing.

-A little background on Bombay (Mumbai) – it is the most populous metropolis in the world in 2016 and its population has exceeded 21 million inhabitants!

-Some Bombayites live in tall skyscrapers and posh mansions, others in horrible slums.

-Mumbai is home to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, who has built himself a 27-story, one billion dollar mansion, with a staff of 600 people to serve his six family members. At the same time, the city is home to one of the largest slums in the world. Nearly half of Bombay’s population (10 million people) live in slums in abject poverty!

-The colonial history of Bombay began with the capture and formation of the Portuguese colony in 1509. In 1661 the city was granted to England as part of the dowry of the Portuguese princess Catherine of Bragan when she married Charles the Second. The British crown got the city but didn’t know what to do with it and leased it to the East India Company for ten pounds a year!

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-Bombay began to grow rapidly during the American Civil War when cotton exports from the American South stopped. The opening of the Suez Canal transformed it into the most important and largest seaport on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

-The city has always been called Mumbai in the Marathi language (the state’s main population), and it owes its name Bombay to the Portuguese. They decided to give up the old colonial name in 1995, although many locals (including cab drivers) continue to call the city Bombay.

-Mumbai in India is a dream for many people in the country, a place of great opportunity.

-Mumbia produces more than 7 percent of the country’s GDP, accounts for 25 percent of industrial production, 70 percent of maritime trade, and 40 percent of foreign trade. The Reserve Bank of India and the National Stock Exchange are located here.

-Bombay is the richest city in India and has the highest GDP compared to other megacities in Central and South Asia.

After walking through many blocks of high-rises (I walked about an hour) – I again went to the beach, but already on the other promenade at the Haji Ali mosque (on the photo).

-On the way to it there were numerous trading rows – the sellers were Muslims.

-Hadji Ali Mosque stands on a tiny island – connected by a narrow dam – one kilometer long

-All around was just terribly polluted – it was very unpleasant to walk on this dump. I’m not a nationalist or racist, but here I had to curse the Hindus for their ability to bring our planet and the ocean to the toilet.

-And outside the mosque itself are piles of decomposing garbage- there’s food cooking and eateries right next door.

-Haji Ali Mosque – built in 1431 in memory of a rich Muslim merchant, Haji Ali, who donated his entire fortune and then made a pilgrimage to Mecca. He fell ill and willed to throw his coffin into the Arabian Sea. Legend has it that the coffin landed on an island off Bombay, where it was buried, and a mosque was erected on the site of the grave, which is now visited by thousands of pilgrims.

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-I walked back along the causeway and visited some more Hindu temples, which were nearby and also on the seashore.

-I didn’t feel like walking back, so I took a cab and drove for 200 rupees (3 USD) to the center of historic Bombay (not far from my hotel) to Victoria Station, which is now called Chhatrapati Shivaji (founder of the Maratha Empire in the 18th century) – in the photo

-This is the most crowded station in India. The design of the station bears some resemblance to St. Pancras Station in central London. It took 10 years to build and was opened on Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

At a cost of 260 thousand pounds, it was the most expensive building at the time in Bombay. In 2004 the station was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2008, it was featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards.

-I didn’t get inside-it’s currently undergoing restoration work. Next to the station is a flea market and a city bus stop.

-And from this station (next to the right side of a large terminal) – tomorrow morning, I went to South Goa – for 15 days of travel in India, I’m already quite tired and the body demanded a stupid beach holiday, but about this in the next report, which can be read – here – “All that you need to know about the railroads in India.

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Mosque in the middle of the sea: Haji Ali Dargah in India

The Haji Ali Dargah complex, the main Muslim attraction in Mumbai, consists of a mosque, a dargah (burial place) of Haji Ali and a sanatorium. This architectural marvel, located right in the sea on a small island near the Woorli coast, attracts a huge number of tourists every year. The island is connected with the Mumbai suburb of Mahalakshmi by a narrow kilometer-long road that is built across the Arabian Sea. So you can get to the complex only by this pedestrian causeway and only at low tide. The unique architectural monument that is the complex was founded in the 15th century and reflects the main features of Indo-Islamic and Mughal styles.

The complex was founded in 1431 by a rich Muslim merchant and righteous man named Hajji Ali, who gave up his worldly possessions before making the pilgrimage to Mecca. However, on the way to the hajj, Hajji Ali died and his body was carried to this island, where he was buried with honors and a tomb was built. It is noteworthy that during his lifetime Hajji Ali bequeathed his body to the sea after his death, and his wish, thus, came true. And already in the nineteenth century, an elegant mosque of the complex was built.

Syed Pir Hajji Ali Shah Bukhari was originally from Central Asia and traveled extensively until he came to India, where he stayed in the port area of Mumbai. In India, Haji Ali was active in spreading Islam. Many legends are associated with the life of this revered man. One of them tells how one day Haji Ali met a woman crying in the street. Pir approached her, and the woman told him that she had spilled oil from a vessel, and now she feared her husband’s wrath. Then Hajji Ali poked the ground where the oil had spilled with his finger, and it gathered back into the vessel.

Pictures by haji ali dargah

Haji Ali Darga / Source: pinterest.com

Haji Ali Dargah Mosque has separate prayer rooms for men and women. Men can enter through the south entrance, while women have an entrance on the west side. There is also a separate women’s hall in the mosque.

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The complex covers an area of 4,500 square metres and the minaret of the mosque, which is the architectural dominant of the whole complex, is 26 metres high. Haji Ali’s tomb is covered with red-green brocade framed in silver. The main hall of the mosque is decorated with elegant marble pillars lined with colored glass. There are also ninety nine names of Allah written in calligraphy on the pillars.


Haji Ali Dargah can only be reached at low tide / Source: terra-z.com

It is noteworthy how the Haji Ali Dargah complex has steadfastly survived various natural disasters. It is known that during the monsoon season, almost all roads in Mumbai become uneven and have potholes. The shoreline near the complex has been damaged many times by the elements, but the road to Dargah has never been damaged and has always remained safe for people. This has been called a true miracle.

In 1949, there was a major storm in Mumbai during which almost every building in the city sustained some form of damage. However, neither the Haji Ali Dargah complex itself, nor the causeway leading to it, nor the people who were inside the mosque during the tsunami were damaged.


The flow of worshippers to the Dargah is uninterrupted / Source: terra-z.com

Further, the heavy torrential rains of July 26, 2005, which caused significant destruction in the city, also did not damage the unique Muslim complex.

The mosque receives about 10-15 thousand visitors a day, and up to 40 thousand on Thursdays and Fridays, when you can hear the traditional spiritual chants of qawwali here. The fact is that the mosque complex also has Kavval Khan – a place where visitors can rest, and on occasions this place is used for Sufi music programs. The picturesque view of the Arabian Sea and the unique architecture make the Haji Ali Dargah complex one of the most popular places in Mumbai among tourists of all faiths.

The best time to visit is considered the winter period from October to March, when the tides are not as strong.

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