Did you know Mumbai is actually on an island connected to the mainland by bridges? Also on an islet is the city’s most famous mosque — Haji Ali — a glittering white vision out to sea that’s connected to the city by a narrow causeway.
A classic example of Indo-Islamic architecture, and one of South Mumbai’s most iconic landmarks, Haji Ali Mosque and dargah (tomb) was built in 1431 as a place to honor the Muslim merchant-turned-saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Legend has it that when Haji Ali died while making the pilgrimage to Mecca, the casket containing his body floated to this very spot.
For the best atmosphere, it’s worth visiting Haji Ali Mosque on Thursdays and Fridays when thousands of pilgrims come to sing qawwali devotional songs and pay their respects to the tomb of their saint. Do check the tides before you go, as on high tides the causeway becomes immersed in the Arabian Sea, turning Haji Ali Mosque a virtual floating island.
Open Monday through Saturday from 9:30am to 5:30pm, the easiest way to get to Haji Ali Mosque in South Mumbai is to take the Western line to Mahalakshmi or Mumbai Central. Women cannot enter the inner tomb of Haji Ali for now, and your head should be covered on a visit here.