Honoring the Muslim saint Haji Ali this mosque
was built in the middle of the sea with only a narrow path leading to it
giving it an ethereal look. As per the Muslim traditions separate praying
rooms for ladies and gents are provided here to pay their respects. It is
set 500 yards into the sea and can be reached only in low tide. The Haji Ali
mausoleum has an offshore location, opposite the Mahalakshmi racecourse.
During high tide, the connecting causeway is submerged in water giving the
impression that the mosque and tomb are floating out at sea in splendid
isolation. This is The Haji Ali Dargah, the floating tomb of a wealthy
Mohammedan merchant who renounced his worldly ways before embarking on a
pilgrimage to Mecca.
structure is a slim solitary minaret. It is linked to the mainland by a
tenuous causeway, which is practically nonnegotiable during rough monsoon,
tides. Behind the sculpted entrance, a marble courtyard contains the central
shrine. Hundreds of worshippers stoop to press their forehead against the
richly brocaded red and green chaddar covering the tomb, lying in an
exquisite silver frame supported by marble pillars and is decorated with
artful mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips of glass arranged in
kaleidoscopic patterns interspersed with Arabic patterns which spell the
ninety-nine names of Allah.
The legend goes that Haji Ali died on a pilgrimage to Mecca and
miraculously his casket floated back to these shores. The mosque is
picturesque with a vast courtyard and refreshment stalls. It contains the
tomb of the Muslim saint Haji Ali. The saint is believed to have been a
wealthy local businessman who renounced the material world and meditated on
a nearby headland following a pilgrimage to Mecca. His devotees built the
mosque and the tomb in the early 19th century. Alternate version says that
Haji Ali died while on his pilgrimage to Mecca and his casket surprisingly
floated back to Mumbai (then Bombay).
Attractions of the Mosque
The mosque can be reached only during low tide. The whitewashed mosque also
has a cool courtyard generally full of people and refreshment stalls. The
rocks exposed during low tide at the rare end of the mosque are a favourable
spot to catch some cool sea breeze. There's nothing somber about the
building's cool courtyard, which is generally full of chattering families
and refreshment stalls.