The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of a rich Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.), who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hailing from Bukhara, in the ancient Persian Empire and now in Uzbekistan, Bukhari travelled around the world in the early to mid 15th century, and then settled in Mumbai.
Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.) had a recurring – and disturbing – dream that he had injured Earth by his act. Full of remorse, he soon fell ill and directed his followers to cast the coffin carrying his body into the Arabian Sea, once he died. Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and miraculously the casket carrying his body, floated back to these shores, getting stuck in the string of rocky islets just off the shore of Worli. Thus, the Dargah was constructed there.
On Thursdays and Fridays, the shrine is visited by at least 40,000 pilgrims. Irrespective of faith and religion, people visit the ‘dargah’ to get the blessings of the legendary saint. Sometimes, especially on Fridays, people may find various sufi musicians performing a form of devotional music called Qawwali at the Dargah.