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Haji-Ali Dargah, Annie Besant Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra - India | by Humayunn Niaz Ahmed Peerzaada
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Haji-Ali Dargah, Annie Besant Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra - India

The Haji Ali Dargah (Hindi: हाजी अली दरगाह) is a mosque and dargah (tomb) located on an islet off the coast of Worli in Mumbai. Lying as it does in the heart of the city, the dargah is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Mumbai.


The dargah was built in 1431 by a wealthy Muslim merchant and saint named Haji Ali who renounced all his wordly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Legend has it that Haji Ali died on his way to Mecca and his body, in its casket, floated back to Mumbai. However, some believe that Haji Ali drowned at the place where the dargah stands today.


As many as 40,000 pilgrims visit the shrine on Thursdays and Fridays. People from all faiths visit & pray at the "dargah"


The whitewashed structure occupies an area of 4,500 metres, and an 85 foot (26 m) tower is the architectural highlight of the edifice. The tomb within the mosque is covered by a brocaded red and green chaddar (tomb cover sheet). It is supported by an exquisite silver frame. The main hall has marble pillars embellished with coloured mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips. The ninety-nine names of Allah are also written on the pillars.


Most of the structure is corroded due to saline winds blowing from the surrounding sea. It was last repaired in the 1960s, but civil engineers say the structure is beyond further repair. The Dargah Trust is awaiting permission to raze the structure and rebuild it with Makrana marble, the same marble used to build the Taj Mahal.


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Taken on December 26, 2005