Mumbai, Mar 3: After the Centre cleared the proposal for the renovation of Haji Ali in February, the trustees of the dargah have lost no time in setting things in motion.
Abdul Sattar Merchant, a trustee, said, the dargah will be renovated with imported marble.
Blueprint for a new-look Haji Ali
“With marble cladding, it will look like the Taj Mahal,” said Merchant. The proposed renovation will cost nearly Rs 5 crore.
The trust plans to increase the height of the dome and the minaret, so that it is visible even more prominently from the main road. They also plan to demolish the second floor of the existing sanatorium and erect a viewer’s gallery, since it distracts from the picturesque view of Haji Ali in the backdrop of the sky and the sea.
Haji Ali is in dire need of the renovation, as salinity and high moisture content in the atmosphere have corroded the dargah considerably. The paint has been peeling and cracks are visible at several places in the structure.
Architect Chetan Raikar, who is heading the project, said, “Renovating the dargah will be a challenging project. There will be no use of concrete and cement. The entire construction will be in brick masonry, marble cladding, supported by stainless steel reinforcements to prevent corrosion. We will give it the Taj look.”
About 500 years ago, the Mazar-e-Sharif of the Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari was laid on the island in the middle of the Arabian Sea. Members of the Kutchi Memon community who were devotees and regular visitors of the dargah constructed the dome, mosque and the sanatorium building.
The existing structure was constructed between 1948 and 1980. About 5,000 to 10,000 people belonging to various castes, communities and religions visit Haji Ali every day. The number increases tenfold on auspicious days.