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Ajmer

 

Visitor’s Checklist

Ajmer district:

135 km (84 miles) SW of Jaipur

Total Population

485,200

More tourism information:

RTDC Hotel Khadim Tel.: 0145-2627426/1364 Fax : 0145-2431330 or Tourist Information Counter, Railway Station. e-mail: trcajmer@rajasthantourism.gov.in

Dargah ,Ajmer
 

 

South west of Jaipur, Ajmer is an oasis wrapped in the green hills. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. Then Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghori, after which Ajmer became home to many dynasties. Today AJMER IS FAMOUS throughout the subcontinent for the holy Muslim shrine, Dargah Sharif, the tomb of the great Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (1141 -1235). Located in the southwest corner of the city, dle saint's marble-domed tomb is at the heart of the Dargah complex, which is viItually a township in itself.

It includes a bazaar and two marble mosques, built by the Mughal emperors Akbar and Shah ]ahan in the 16th and 17th centuries. Akbar was Chishti's most famous devotee, and once walked barefoot all the way from Agra to Ajmer, a distance of 363 km (226 nmes), as thanksgiving after the birth of his son Salim, the future Emperor Jahangir. Millions of pilgrims come to Ajmer for the saint's annual Urs (death anniversary) in October, when spirited Sufi musicians sing the saint's praises in front of his tomb. A special rice pudding, cooked in giant iron cauldrons in the Dargah's courtyard, is offered to devotees.


West of the Dargah Sharif is Ajmer's architectural gem, the Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra, or "Hut of Two-and-a-Half Days". This strange name is said to derive from the duration of a religious fair that used to be held here. Though in ruins, the early 13th-century mosque complex, built into a hillside, is most impressive. Its main glory is its exquisite seven-arched screen in front of the colonnaded hall. Each arch is different, and the numerous columns have elaborate calvings.In the southeast corner of Ajmer is Mayo College, one of India's best public schools. An excellent example of Indo Saracenic architecture, it was set up in 1875 by the viceroy, Lord Mayo, as an "Eton of the East" for Rajput princes. Its early students came accompanied by family retainers and private tutors, and some, like the prince of Alwar, even brought along their own elephants. Behind the 19th century Nasiyan Temple, in the heart of the old city, is the Calligraphy, Adhai- Svarna Nagari Hall,decorated with coloured-glass mosaics and large gilded wooden figures, recreating scenes from Jain mythology.

Rajputana Museum

The Rajputana Museum, also in the old city, is located in Emperor Akbar's fort and palace. Its exhibits include impressive sculptures dating from the 4th to the 12th centuries. Around Anasagar Lake, to the northwest of the city, are elegant marble pavilions built by Emperor Shah jahan in the 17th centuly. They are set on the lake's banks, in a pretty garden called Daulat Bagh. North of the city, on the summit of Beetli Hill, is tile ruined 12th-century Taragarh Fort, which affords spectacular views of Ajmer and the surrounding countryside.

Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (14 km.) which has the distinction of having the only Brahma temple in the world. The Picturesque Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct/Nov), devotees throng in large numbers to take a dip in the sacred lake.