Bombay Wanderings in Mahim

Mahim Dargah, Bombay India

Traffic on Mumbai streets does not ebb and flow like the tides of the Arabian Sea. There is always a constant torrent of vehicles travelling the citys' many thoroughfares and when things stop it is usually bad news or traffic jams, which to many is one and the same. Many a time I find myself a pedestrian in Mumbai, in a world full of pedestrians dominated by a minority of fast moving cars and buses. The object of my attention lies patiently on the other side of road and I wait impatiently on this - waiting for a small gap in the traffic to sprint across the warm concrete road. What is in my sight you ask ? In one of the oldest parts of Bombay on what was once Mahim the island - the dargah of Makhdoom Ali Mahimi.

Chaddars and Flowers
[Chaddars, blanket of flowers and sweet incense rising]

The man you asked for soap
[Photograph me if you wish this man told me, but on one condition. No not money but a bar of soap. Why? you ask because I want to wast my face, hands and feets so that I can pray. I have my photograph he has his soap.]

Mecca Is Newer Far.
[A shopkeeper and his Mecca]

It is a green and crème single domed mausoleum to this Suffi saint that surrounds itself with a chaotic mix of devotees, beggars, people, the arbit taxi and a line of shops selling the most peculiar coterie of colourful chaddars [shawls], incense and flowers. The chaddars [shawls] are placed on the tomb to pay respect to the saint and gain his blessing. This dargah like its more famous city counter-part, Haji Ali is steeped in urban legend. For Makhdoom Ali Mahimi is the respected patron sufi saint of the Mumbai Police.

Wikipedia tells me,

During the annual ten day Urs festival celebrated on the 13th day of Shaval,[sometime in December] the Muslim calendar, millions of devotees visit his dargah. The highlight of this is a procession of around eight thousand begins at the Mahim Police Station, believed to be the site of his residence. Two policemen from each of the eighty four city police stations represent the police whose association with the saint dates back to the saint's era. A representative of the Mumbai police who is the first to offer the "chaddar" (shawl) at the tomb on the first day of the festival. Legend has it that it was a police constable who gave water to the dying saint from his cap. Another story points to some miraculous assistance policemen once received from an old man, whom they believed was the saint, in fighting smugglers.

A room adjacent to the office of the senior inspector of police station contains a steel cupboard that houses the saint's preserved belongings such as his chair, a pair of sandals and his hand-written Quran which is considered to be a calligraphic work of art. The room is opened once every year to the public. In 1920 the cupboard was purchased by a senior British police inspector, Raymond Esquire as a tribute to the saint he revered.

Orange Juice  -  Rs2
[If I were the copywriter on the Hutch account :Orange (Hutch) ka chota re-charge for RS 2.]

Sunday Brunch Mumbai estyle
[A large Sunday Brunch on a lazy evening - the small pleasures of like]


Biryani Cooking
[Biriyani is cooking]

What lead me here wasn’t the green lights of the dargah but the slow rising glint of smoke from the charcoal that lit the kebabs red. Yes food is my first concern and on Sunday evenings just like the lanes that surround the dargah play host to a khao gulli [food lane] of sorts. A food lane that answers your every gastronomic prayers from baida rotis to kebabs to rich ghee filled rava halwas [sweet] served with crispy parathas and sweet faloodas.

In India food and spirituality are never far apart..... and I'm not complaining.

Hi, We are templateify, we create best and free blogger templates for you all i hope you will like this blogify template we have put lot of effort on this template, Cheers, Follow us on: Facebook & Twitter


Kaushal said...

another brilliant post! love the soap deal :)

miko said...

what amazing faith it must be, that makes one ask for 'soap' so one can wash and pray...and not 'money' cuz ones hungry, or simply poor..

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Your pictures and write-ups are wonderful. as always

arZan said...


great post.

I love the mahim mela that takes place every year. The food at these events is amazing.

Melody said...

Akhsay, here's a suggestion, cover all the suburbs & in fact different areas of Mumbai...

Save all the pics you take & the stuff you write alongside it, someday you will have a GREAT coffee table book on Mumbai :)

Keep at it!


Mridula said...

You only sometimes take pictures? You planning to become full time photographer or are you already one? Loved the pictures and your write up.

aparna said...

how on earth did the ppl in the 6th snap get place to put chairs and sit n hv food on space meant for pedestrians???????am not complaning just fact this snap does not look like its mumbai.
khao gullis are a big hit among aam jaanta who are lookin for variety and reasonable food.

livinghigh said...

hmmm.. now all we're waiting for is a song on mahim dargah, like de one on haji ali... i LOVE dat song, by de way!.. and yes, de soap mention was nice.. kinda sad, but strangely nice.

Sakshi said...

Yaar...this post make me hungry again...and I just had Biryani as evening snak...

Anonymous said...

very nice, i am originally from mahim, brought back nice memories. next time take a picture of parsi mahim or catholic mahim or sindhi mahim. mahim is an amalgamation of all. right in the heart of mumbai.

bluegreenflysplat said...

its lovely. (dont approve this comment naa)

Harry said...

Love the snaps!

Anonymous said...

Which camera do you use


Viewer said...

I must say u present mumbai very beutifully... a very nice presentation i must say.

Sid said...

Dude, awesome pictures!!!

The guy with the soap still reminds me of the Saki story we had in school. :) Won't ever forget that one. How's stuff wtih you in Mumbai? Coming down to Pune anytime soon?

Prakriti said...

On your blog after a long time today, Akshay.

Stunning perspectives you have behind your lens.

Accept my humble awe.

CAR said...

Akshay. Fantastic Blog! Being 8000 miles away from home and almost completing a year since i had anything that resembles the food you potrayed, your pictorial blog left me in a sad sullen state. Yet, i shall visit again. Please keep posting!

Anonymous said...

loved your pictures! i'm originally from mahim so it brought back nice memories.

rashmi said...

hi akshay,
nice post!!
its good to know dat people still have time to actually visit such places..n actually observe such things which otherwise is a nuisance to most of the MUMBAI people..
hey would you have more pictures of the mahim mela..
am an architecture student n need it for my study..
would really appreciate it..
lemme know thru mail if u can my mail id is
thanks n keep up the good work!!