The management of Mumbai's iconic Sufi shrine Haji Ali Dargah has restricted the entry of women.
As per its order, women will not be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum that houses the tomb of 15th century Sufi saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
However, the trust has allowed women to roam freely within the dargah's compound.
"They can offer their prayers, do namaaz and offer shawls and flowers. We are only requesting our sisters not to enter the dargah," said Rizwan Merchant, trustee of the Haji Ali Dargah and also a noted criminal lawyer.
The decision to ban entry of women has evoked sharp criticism from several quarters, including the film fraternity.
The revered dargah is located on a bed of rock 500 yards into the Arabian Sea and off the coast of Worli in south central Mumbai. The dargah is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai.