Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage center for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti,which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims.
Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major center of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. when Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri.since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties, which came and left leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the city’s history, converting it to an amalgam of various cultures and blend of Hinduism and Islam. Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar(11 km.),the abode of Lord Brahma,lying to its west with a temple and a picturesque lake.The Pushkar lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik(Oct./Nov.),devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
The Dargah: At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India’s most important pilgrimage center for people from all faiths. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti more popularly known as Khawaja Saheb or Khawaja Sharif. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Median for the Muslims of south Asia. Akbar used to make a pilgrimage to the Dargah from Agra once a year.
The mausoleum has a gigantic gate,which was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad.The two massive cauldrons in the courtyard are of particular interest and on the right side of the courtyard ins the Akbari Masjid built in white marble. There is another mosque in the courtyard built by Shahjhan.
A view of the Dargah of KhwajaMuinuddin Hasan Chishti, a sufi saint. The saint’s tomb with a splendid marble dome is in the centre of the second courtyard which is surrounded by a silver platform. The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims during the Urs-commemorating the death anniversary of the Saint, held from the 1st to 6th day of the Islamic month of Rajab. A colourful fair that springs up during this time is the major attraction.
Shahjhan’s Mosque: In the corner of the inner court of the Dargah, is a magnificent building in white marble with a long (30.5m) and narrow court having low arcade and delicate carvings with trellis-work.It is the most marvelous of all the sanctums within the sanctuary of the Dargah.
Adhai-din-ka-jhonpra: A remarkable structure, this is a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture located on the outskirts, of the city, just beyond the Dargah. As the legend goes, its construction took two and a half days (Adhai-Din) to complete. It was originally a Sanskrit college, built within a temple. In 1193 A.D. Mohhamed Ghauri conquered Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque by adding a sevenarched wall in front of the pillared hall in just two-and-half days(adhai-din) and hence the name. The distinct pillars-and arched "Screen" with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.
Taragarh Fort: A steep one and a half hour climb beyond the Adhai-din-ka-jhopra leads to the ruins of the Taragarh Fort, perched on a hill.One can have an excellent view of the city from here. The fort was the site of the military activity during the Mughal period, later used as a sanatorium by the British
The Museum: Once the royal residence of Emperor Akbar ,the museum houses a rich repository of the Mughal and Rajput armour and exquisite sculptures.
Mayo College: Mayo College has been called the “Eton Of India” since its founding in 1870 AD. This is best expressed in the words of Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India on his visit to Mayo as the Chief Guest on the Annual Prize Giving day on 5th Dec. 1879.
Pushkar Lake (11km.): The lake is situated on the edge of the desert and surrounded by hills on three sides, is separated from Ajmer by ‘Nag Pahar’-the snake mountain. On this mountain the Panchkund and the cave of the saint Agastya are located. It is believed that Kalidas-the 4th century sanskrit poet and playright , chose the setting for his masterpiece Abhigyanam Shakuntalam in this forest heritage.
According to legend , the origin of Pushkar dates aback to the time when lord Brahma was on his way in search of a tranquil land to perform a Yagna. A lotus fell from the hands of the lord into this valley. A lake sprang up on this spot and was dedicated to him. A Brahma temple located here is a popular place of pilgrimage.
Pushkar Fair: It is one of the most colorful fairs of India. Lakes of pilgrims throng the lake during the annual cattle fair. Besides trading of horses, camels, cows and bulls, there are exciting camel-cart races and cultural events. Cloths, household items and leather goods are for sale during the fair. On the full moon of Kartik(Nov.) pilgrims take a holy dip in the lake.
Man Mahal: Along the banks of the Pushkar Lake is the former residence of Raja Man Singh of Amer, Man Mahal. Presently it is converted to RTDC Sarover Tourist Bungalow ensuring convenient accommodation to travellers.Pushakar palace ( Kishangarh House) adjoining it is a heritage hotel.
Foy Sagar(5km) : A picturesque artificial lake named after the engineer for who created it under a famine relief project.
Shopping : Shopping in Ajmer is an enjoyable experience. One can shop for antiques, curios, fascinating gold and silver jewelry in contemporary designs, colorful tie-and-dye sarees and embroidered jodhpuri ‘Jutis’. Especially during the annual Urs fair, a range of colourful items and marvellous creations of traditional folk aristsans are for sale.
TRAVEL INFORMATION HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Jaipur 132 km is the nearest airport.
Rail: Regular train services link Ajmer with important cities.Some important train connections are: Gujrat Mail (Mumbai-Ajmer-Delhi Sarai Rohilla);
Jodhpur Mail (Marwar-Ajmer-Jaipur): Delhi, Express(Ahmedabad-Ajmer-Jaipur);Shatabadi Express(New Delhi-Ajmer-New Delhi).
Road: A good network of bus services operate from Ajmer to key destinations around.
Local Transport: City bus service operate in the city and to Pushkar. Unmetered taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, and cycle-rickshaws are also available.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Banks/Money Changers: Bank of Baroda,Prithviraj Marg, Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur,Station Road, Bank of India,Kaisarganj, Bank of Rajasthan, Mayo College, Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Prithviraj Marg, State Bank of India, near Collectorate, Also,authorized money changers are
available in the leading hotels.
Hospitals: J.L. Nehru Hospital
Club: Ajmer Club
Tourist Reception Centre: Assistant Director,Tourist Reception Centre, Hotel Khadim(RTDC), Tourist Information Counter at Railway Station.
Guide Service: Approved guides may be hired through the Asstt. Director, Tourist Reception Centre
Important Telephone Numbers: Police Control Room
Roadways (Central Bus Stand), Railways, 131 (Enquiry), 132 (Reservation), General Post .
: 55.76 sq.km.
Altitude : 486 meters
Climate : Mean Max.
Summer : 38.1degree C
27.7 degree C
Winter : 23.3 degree C
05.5 degree C
Rainfall : 38 to 51 cms.
Clothing : Summer: Light Tropical
Best Season : July-March
Languages : Rajasthani, Hindi, Urdu, English, Sindhi.
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