Worli is one of the seven islands which once existed where, stands today this bustling city of Mumbai. Worli is one of the busiest office areas in Mumbai with lot many companies having offices here.

Although Worli is primarily a commercial district, parts of it have major residential areas of people from all strata of society.

While BDD (Bombay Development Department) chawls form the largest and is one of the earliest residential areas in Mumbai, Worli sea-face is home to many of the rich and popular people of Mumbai.

Originally a fishing island which was gifted by Portuguese to the British Prince Charles II along with the six other islands, as dowry when he married the Portuguese princess, Worli today has a fishing village and a British fort in ruins. Worli Fort was built by British in 1675 to keep a watch out for enemy.

Later, the island of Worli was connected to the main island of Bombay as part of Hornby Vellard Project which aimed to build a causeway to connect all the seven islands to form one. The project was conceived in 1782 by the then British Governor William Hornby and was completed in 1838.


Mahalakshmi Temple

An interesting story is linked to the causeway’s construction. It is said that during the construction of the causeway, the sea wall would keep on collapsing over and over again.

While all care was being taken each time to avoid the lapses, nothing helped. And then, one night the chief engineer of the project had a dream in which he saw an idol of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi lying in the sea. When searched for, the idol was actually found.

Thence a temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi was built and the idol was installed in its sanctum sanctorum. Thereafter came no hurdle and the project completed successfully in 1838.


Haji Ali Dargah

Not very far from Mahalakshmi Temple is another popular shrine ‘Haji Ali’. Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most revered and most visited places of worship in Mumbai. The Haji Ali Dargah is dedicated to an Iranian Muslim saint ‘Pir Haji Ali Bukhari’.

As the story goes, once Haji Ali Shah was praying silently when he heard a woman crying. When he asked her what the matter was, the woman showed him an empty vessel and shared that she happened to spill the oil her husband had asked her to fetch. And now if she goes home empty-handed he would beat her.

Haji Ali asked her to take him to the place where the oil was spilled. On reaching there he dug his thumb in earth and a fountain of oil erupted out. The delighted woman filled her vessel and left.

However, later Haji Ali had upsetting dreams telling him that he had pierced the earth in doing so. This filled him with remorse and guilt took toll on his health. He kept feeling sick perpetually.

Then he travelled to India and landed on the shores of Mumbai where he lived and preached Islam until before his death. During his last days, he decided to go for a pilgrimage to Mecca. He told his followers not to bury him at any place but to leave his casket afloat in the sea when he dies so that his body is buried by whom and where it is found.


Haji Ali Shah died on his way to Mecca and as instructed his followers set his casket afloat in the Arabian Sea.

Miraculously his body found its way back to Mumbai shores and got stuck on a small mound of rocks a few hundred meters away from the shoreline. Haji Ali Dargah was built at the spot to pay tribute to the saint.

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