Visiting Mahalaxmi Mandir & Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai

It was one of those usual heavily packed train in the harbour line of the city’s lifeline, the Mumbai local train. From GTB Nagar I reached Masjid, the second last station only before, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (called CST by Mumbaikars and VT or Victoria Terminus by last generation which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India).

Dargah Road to visit Haji Ali Dargah with sea on both sides

From Masjid station it was a taxi ride to Mahalaxmi Mandir, the famous temple. It is a very new temple just built in 1785, located at the beach. Well, as someone who is a history buff and prefers less-crowded, unique, unusual temples, I wasn't really fond of this place much. Being a major tourist attraction in Mumbai, Mahalaxmi Temple Mumbai is always a tight security zone. After body and handbag checkup, I went in. The crowd was less and I could get a good darshan. Just behind the shrine, was the typical ‘if your rupee coin sticks, the wish will come true’. I didn’t even try. After buying ‘prasadam’ to distribute among friends and family, I came out. I didn’t even want to visit Siddhi Vinayak, yet another modern temple, which is again a high security region. I left to Haji Ali.
Even since, I saw heart-throb Hrithik walking over to the dargah in Fiza with the BGM of the famous Qawali “Piya Haji Ali’, I had this severe crush on Haji Ali Dargah. And when I got a chance, how would I let it slip away. Yes, this is the filming location of the Hrithik Roshan starring Bollywood Movie, Fiza.

Ladies allowed inside Haji Ali Dargah

Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai

People said it was at a walkable distance from Mahalaxmi. I walked it up. It was a 20 mins walk in scorching sun at 12 noon. I walked it up. Haji Ali Dargah (हाजी अली दरगाह) too is one of the top places to visit in Mumbai for its very unique setting as the Mumbai Dargah in sea! 

Being a popular place, again, here too, like everywhere else, after passing through the security check up, I entered the Dargah Road, and I walked up through the market. With skull caps, chaddars (blankets to be laid on the shrine), holy offerings, Holy threads, Pics, Holy Qurans, and lots other things from car decors, home decors, key chains that could be taken as a memento. My idea was to get a darshan first, so I just kept walking past the market area. Then came the scenic region. The long pathway, around half a kilometer, to the Dargah, through the sea. The view itself was breathtaking. The English equivalent of this unique location is St.Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England which is also located in the sea and has a passage to reach that open only during low tides. This is the main reason for why Haji Ali Dargah is famous. 
Haji Ali history is that the Saint Haji Ali departed this worldly life during his journey to Holy Mecca and the casket carrying his body floated and sailed all the way to Mumbai to this place where the dargah stands today. So, this is the Haji Ali mazar. This Dargah was built in 1431 making this one of the oldest Dargah in Mumbai as well as the most important Mumbai Dargah. Its also called Hazi Ali ki Dargah. This is definitely one of the top places to visit in Mumbai.
The path had to be walked with great care. High heels would easily slip. Sturdy, water proof footwear is a bare essential to walk up this place. Or just bare feet with do the trick. And another fact is that this place has to be visited in spring or summer. Monsoon is a big no no. Well, even if you did, it would be impossible to reach the Dargah, with water covering the pathway completely. There were people all the way. Some who keep singing the holy hymns of Allah. It is believed that some diseases can be cured by the sea water which keeps splashing all the way. Some handicapped people could be seen all the way hoping to cure their ailments. The roar of the mighty waves were fascinating. I just loved the walk way. The way the waves dashed the pathway and scattered high up in the air and then sprinkled down. Wow, an excellent treat to eyes. Then as I reached the Dargah, it was again a soul stirring moment with the devotional qawalis playing always combined with the mighty roar of the waves, being there itself was a way to feel the attachment with the universal one. Though it was crowded, being surrounded by sea so well on all sides, made the crowd feel negligible. 

Haji ali Dargah Chadar offerings

Haji Ali Dargah Mumbai

The white Dargah was covered with several, umpteen shawls and scarves. It was so colorful and lively. But unfortunately, it was day of filming again, at the Dargah with the entire camera and lightings fixed everywhere which absolutely disrupted my enjoyment. People were surrounded to see the cast and crew, of which I was least, bothered. I seriously wished they weren’t there, whoever it was.
Being a Dargah (and not a mosque), this is open to all, meaning, women are also allowed inside as well as people of all religions & nationalities. I went inside. It was the Haji Ali shrine covered with several layers of shawls and softly stroked with the peacock feathers. It was that stroke with the peacock feathers that was a blessing to the devotees as well. I got the blessings and walked and roamed all over the place. I sat there for some time, absorbing the blessings and observing the devotion of the people. Then, it was around 2 pm when I thought of starting back again. I walked back again in that long pathway. People told me it was a high tide day and from 2 pm the sea waves are freaky. They were indeed. It was far fiercer than my forward trip. The height of the splattering waves was around one and a half times as me!!! It was a great feeling to be rinsed and showered by the waves taller than me. Walking on this path is one of the best things to do in Mumbai!

Both are religious sites still in function, prayers happens in both the places regularly. So keep in mind the religious sensitivities of the people, even though your personal opinions may be different. Wear appropriate clothing meant for religious sites (think covered shoulders & below knees). If you want to buy something in the little kiosks that form a market outside both the places, haggle - haggle a lot. 

Nearest metro station: Mahalaxmi (1.5km)
Nearest railway station: Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus - CST (VT) 
Mahalaxmi Mandir to Haji Ali Dargah - Its a 10 min walk from Mahalaxmi Mandir to the starting point of Dargah Road and another 10 mins walk on the Dargah Road, which is the passage that goes through the sea. The first 10 min walk, can be instead done by hiring an auto if its too sunny. (If its too rainy, visiting Haji Ali is pointless as with the tides, the path through the sea would be covered)!

HAJI ALI DARGAH TIMINGS: 5:30AM to 10:00PM, but properly accessible only during low tides when the path is clearly open.

Dedicated to my aunt, Kalyani

Haji Ali Dargah Pinterest Haji Ali Dargah Pinterest


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. superb.. I went to Mumbai and missed mahalakshmi mandir and this durgah.... cuz it was a state bandh on that day.. unlucky me :P

  2. @Sowmi,

    Make sure to make it next time...

  3. B,
    Sometimes it makes me wonder. Why do we go to temples or other places of worship? What forces us to go over there? The chasm between science and religion seems to be growing inorganically for me. I guess, religion was 'invented' to reduce chaos. Ironically, we are abusing them to increase the chaos. Going to temple or going to a bar is one and the same unless we ask what propels you to do it.

    Its a nice article BTW. Makes me to think. Good going. Keep them coming, B.


  4. Avi,

    //religion was 'invented' to reduce chaos. Ironically, we are abusing them to increase the chaos//

    That is true. Absolutely true.

    //Going to temple or going to a bar is one and the same unless we ask what propels you to do it. //

    So, tell me. What propels u to go to bar. I know u don't go to temple.

  5. You really are a travelling geek ! From Malaysia to Mukkombu to Mahalaxmi in double quick time. Keep it up.
    Mahalaxmi & Haji Ali are two of the oldest landmarks in Mumbai and any visit to Mumbai is incomplete if you do not visit these places. Other places to visit are CST, Crawford Market, Hornsby Road,Colaba,Marine Drive, Gateway of India,Taj Mahal Hotel(scene of the recent terrorist attack)Hanging Gardens & the shoe house,Juhu Beach, Chowpatty Beach and of course to eat bhelpuri, panipuri(or golgappa as they call it in Delhi) and the famous Chandu Halwa.
    I spent some of my younger years in Mumbai(late 1950's) and always remember my times with nostalgia.

  6. Ramakrishnan Sir,

    I've visited CST, Crawford, Marine Drive, Juhu Beach (at post midnight, 1 am... :D), and eaten all Chat items and the speciality Vada Pav as well... Loved it all as well... Will write soon about Juhu beach and Marine drive..

  7. nice to see u expressing ur views abt the travelogue... helps to know more abt u...

    i have made a trip to the dargah and found the beggars as the most irritating part of the journey.. but i never had a seas to help me make my experience was a real hot day with calm seas..

    hey... i just went to Hogenakkal water fall yesterday...simply superb..

  8. Hey Krish,

    Long time. No C... So sad u couldn't enjoy Haji Ali so well.
    And yeah, I had almost forgot that lovely trip to Hogenakkal Falls. Would update on that soon. It was a great trip, but the stink of fish bajji was one thing I wished, did not exist in Hogenakkal...

  9. after reading this i also wish to go to HAJI ALI were i have never been......
    Thanxs for sharing ur experience and information....

  10. @Shikha,
    Its a beautiful place. One of the serence places in Mumbai... Do make a visit..


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