Visakhapatnam: The 17th century dargah of the Sufi saint Syed Ali Ishaq Madani on a hill facing the sea is a place where both Muslims and Hindu come to offer prayers.
According to historians, in earlier times, ships would lower their mast thrice while sailing past the dargah as a mark of respect to the saint.
Legend has it that Hazrat Ishaq Madani migrated from Madina along with his followers almost 600 years back and was one of the first great Muslim saints to settle along the AP coast. He was a friend of the poor, especially fishermen.
Even after centuries of facing the salt deterioration and pollution from the Visakhapatnam Port, the walls and roof of the dargah are intact. The walls have been covered with marble plates.
The small dome shaped inner ceiling of the dargah is decorated with semi-precious stones and colourful stone chips.
Mohammad Aziz, who has been maintaining the dargah for 40 years, said, “The dargah has not been damaged by natural calamities, even the recent Cyclone Hudhud by the grace of the saint. The saint had ordered the sea and also prayed that this place would never be damaged by its turbulence.”
Emperor Aurangzeb saw the place in his dream. He found that the place has miraculous powers, said Mr Mohammad Aziz. He claimed that the city was originally known as Ishaqpattan after the saint which over time changed to Visakapatnam.
Tourists come to the dargah and offer prayers as it is believed that wishes made here come true. A little above the dargah on the same hill is the Aurangzeb Masjid; the Mughal emperor’s army is believed to have prayed at the masjid.
Interestingly, a grave stone found here on the dargah and recorded by the Epigraphy Department of India indicated that the saint’ burial took place in the year 1257 AD. This indicates that this holy place was in existence before that year.