Ajmer is known throughout the Muslim world for the Dargah (the
burial place) of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, a famous Sufi
saint. He claimed to descent from the son-in-law of Mohammad.
Seven pilgrimages to Ajmer are considered as equivalent to one
pilgrimage to Mecca. Thousands of pilgrimages descend on this
ancient town during the Islamic festivals of Id and Muharram.
Ajmer is a small town with Anna Sagar Lake flanking it on one
side and barren hills of Aravallis ranges on the other.
Streams of Luni River flow south westwards from Ajmer and
tributaries of Banas River flows eastward from it. Ajmer is
also known as its beautiful landscape created various
geographical features created by the nature. Pushkar, one of
the holiest Hindu pilgrimages is located just 11 km from Ajmer
and the town is the main transportation center for any visit
A small and secular town with the history going far back in
the time, this in short is Ajmer. Ajmer is a place where Garib
Nawaz (protector of the poor), Sufi Saint, Khwaja Moin-ud-din
Chisti laid himself to the eternal rest in 1236 a.d.
Ajmer always remained the bone of contention between Rajputs,
Mughals, and Marathas. Ajmer was founded by a Rajput chieftain
Ajayapal Chauhan, who also built first hill fort in India, the
Tara Garh. As the fort was supposed to be invincible, it was
named Ajai Meru (the Invincible Hill). Ajmer was brought under
the control of Delhi Sultanate in 1193, when Prithvi Raj
Chauhan was defeated by Mohammed Ghori. It was later returned
to the local chieftains albeit for a small tribute.
Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, the famous Sufi Saint and patrol
saint of Ajmer, reached Ajmer from Persia in AD 1192 and left
for the hi heavenly abode in AD 1236. Ajmer was an important
military center of the Mughals and worked as the base from
where campaigns were initiated against local Rajput
chieftains. Jehangir, the son of Akbar and his heir to the
throne of India stayed here from 1613 to 1616 in the Daulat
Bagh, mostly in ruins now.
Ajmer also played an important role in paving the way for
British East India Company in India. In 1616, Jehangir met
ambassador of King James, Sir Thomas Roe. That was the first
meeting between any Mughal Emperor and representatives of
Britain. In the 17th century, Shahjahan built marble pavilions
around the Ana Sagar Lake. The Taragarh Fort was damaged badly
during the Mughal war of succession between Aurangzeb and Dara
Shikoh. Schindi Rulers of Gwalior took over Ajmer in the mid
18th century, to be handed over to the British in 1818. Mayo
College, a prestigious school for the wards of colonial rulers
and local gentry was founded in 1875.
Climate: Jaisalmer is given to extremities in weather.
With temperatures in summer ranging from a minimum of 20░C to
a maximum of 49░C, summers are not the preferred months for
travel. The winters though, with temperatures hovering between
maximum temperatures within mid twenties to 5-6░C at the
lowest are a great time to visit.
Best time to visit: An extensive green cover ensures a
pleasant season during spring and early winter. The best
season to visit the city though remains between October and
Places of interest
Dargah of Garib Nawaz - Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti
The dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti is located at the
foot of a small and barren hill in Ajmer. It is said that
Mughal Emperor Humayun built the shrine and the Buland Darwaza,
carved in silver, was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad. The
tomb of Khwaja is surrounded by a silver railing and there is
a separate women's praying room, said to be built by Chimni
Begum - the daughter of Shahjahan.
There are two huge cauldrons in the courtyard of the dargah
with a capital of 2,240 kg and 4,480 kg respectively. Kheer
(sweet porridge) and Khichri (savoury porridge) are cooked in
these cauldrons to be distributed among the devotees. An
interesting custom related to the cauldron is the looting of
the kheer. Akbar Masjid and Shah Jahan Masjid are also inside
the same complex.
Tara Garh Fort
The first hill fort of India was built in 1100 by Ajayapal
Chauhan. The fort gives excellent views of the town below and
also known as the Star Fort. It has a thickness of four and a
half meters and a winding uphill path leads to this
rectangular fort. Most of the fort is now in ruins though at
the time of its construction, it was supposed to be the
invincible fort and so named as Ajai Meru (invincible fort).
Arhai-din-ka-Jhonpra (two-and-a-half-day shelter) is
considered as the first important Islamic structure to be
built in India. According to the legends, Arhai-din-ka-Jhonpra
was a Sanskrit College initially and Mohammed Ghori converted
the college into a mosque within two and a half days, hence
the name. According to another legend, the structure is named
after a festival, which carried on for two and a half days.
The monument has seven arched walls with Islamic calligraphy,
though most of it now remains in ruins.
The Urs Festival -
Urs Ajmer Sharif:
Held in the holy town of Ajmer in honour of the Sufi saint,
Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, special prayers are offered at the
mosque, and huge amounts of consecrated food offered from the
large, steaming cauldrons that were a gift from Akbar. While
quwwallis are sung at night, the celebrations unite people of
all faiths, and the complete town is decorated with buntings,
and wears the spirit of festivity.
It is an occasion
for thousands of believers to congregate at the shrine and
offer their prayers. All of Ajmer seems to take on a festive
air and several programmes are organized to mark the