A mosque and a tomb situated on an island off the coast of Mumbai was a good opportunity to explore – even though I got splashed as I made my way over the water!
Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1421 in honour of a wealthy Muslim merchant who gave up all of his possessions to the locals before making his pilgrimage to Mecca. The white marble mosque looks mightily impressive even from across the water, despite being just 500m from the mainland. I liked the fishing boats in the foreground as this just struck me as being typically Mumbai!
If the wind is pretty strong, as it was on the time of my visit, then it you will probably get wet as you walk across the stone wall out to sea and up to the mosque itself. It was pretty rough as the waters crashed against the side of the wall, and I got splashed quite a bit. The locals take it all in their stride, though. I am told that at high tide, the walkway to Haji Ali Dargah is completely submerged, which must play havoc to the Muslim prayer schedules!
As always with any tourist attraction in India, you can be sure of the sight of pigeons and sometimes larger birds that fly around above you. I remember visiting Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and was really irked by the size of the vultures swopping around me. I guess these birds just associate Humans with food, and anywhere we congregate, the birds will come in hope of an easy lunch. I do think something should be done, however, about preventing pigeons from nesting on the actual building.
What with this being an Islamic place of worship, all visitors were required to take off their shoes before they entered (I was told that photography wasn’t allowed inside the actual mosque). I had a little trouble finding my plimsolls when I exited Haji Ali Dargah, but ultimately they turned up in the end. Haji Ali Dargah was indeed a nice place to visit, and one of the highlights for any tourist in Mumbai.