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Considered as an important Islamic pilgrim site Ajmer is where the dargah of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti lies. However, besides the dargah itself Ajmer is steeped in rich history and has been a center of discourse for many dynasties and rulers. It also often acts as the stepping stone to visit the Hindu pilgrim Pushkar which is merely 16km away. Surrounded by the gorgeous Aravalli Mountains and situated around the Ana Sagar Lake Ajmer is a packed tourist destination with its usual bustle and pace.
Located in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, Ajmer was first established by Shakambhari Chahamana a Chauhan ruler and served as the dynasty’s capital till the 12 th century. Ajmer was originally known as Ajayameru.
How to reach
Air: Jaipur is the nearest airport 135km away.
Rail: Ajmer is well connected by rail to various major cities such as, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Allahabad, Kolkata and more.
Road: Ajmer is also well connected by roads to major cities of Rajasthan.
Things to do
The Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is the tomb of the saint who came from Persia and died here in 1236. The Mughals gave a lot of significance to the tomb and added different constructions in the complex too. Humayun completed the construction of the shrine, whereas the gate was added by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Akbar is said to have undertaken the pilgrim from Agra to Ajmer each year. The Akbari Masjid was built in 1571 and the Shahjahani Gate was later built by Shah Jahan. Within the courtyard lies the domed tome of the saint who is believed to be a beacon of hope for those suffering from illness or various problems. The Dargah is visited by many believers, especially on the saint’s death anniversary. The Adhai Din ka Jhopra which means the two and half day hut according to history was originally a Sanskrit college later seized by Mohammed of Ghori and converted into a mosque. The mosque arches are said to have been built in two and a half days giving this beautiful structure its name. The exquisite calligraphy, arches, domes and pillars are the main attractions of this magnificent feature that though in need of repair does not fail to impress. Akbari Fort and Museum was once the residence of Akbar’s son Salim. This magnificent structure is an example of fine Mughal architecture and acted as the administrative headquarters in the Mughal and Maratha times. Built in 1570 this pleasure retreat was turned into an arms magazine during the British rule and is home to the government museum today. Taragarh Fort built by Ajaipal Chauhan is a wonderful fort structure that offers some commanding views of the surrounding landscapes. The fort was in use during the Mughal rule where many wars and battles were fought from here. Nasiya Temple or the Soniji Ki Narsiya is a Jain temple built in 1865 and is also called the Golden Temple due to its golden diorama. The temple is unlike any other Jain temples of Rajasthan and its depiction of the Jain beliefs and concepts in the diorama as well hall decorations are worth taking a look at. Ana Sagar the lake created on the Luni River is a great hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. The two green parks Subash Bagh and Dault Bagh give good views of the city especially during the evening and one can also hire boats to take a cruise along the lake. The Foy Sagar is another artificial lake in the city that was built as a part of famine relief operations. Mayo College is actually a school built by the British and remains one of the most prestigious schools of the country. The marble façade, the central tower and the small domes on the rooftops make the building an architectural delight as well as the college also houses a museum within its premises.
Food and Shopping
The area around the Dargha known as the Dargah Bazaar is a bustling market area and paradise for food lovers. The area is fraught with hotels and lodges and sight of the women dressed in colorful Rajasthani attire will make your day. The streets are filled with the aromatic smells of kebabs, jalebis, kachoris and the popular street food called dal pakwaan. The sohan halwa is a sure delicacy that one can pack for home. The Mahila Mandi is a great place to shop for traditional clothing and home items.
Ajmer is very close to Pushkar known for the famous Pushkar Lake and the 14 th century Brahma Temple. Other Rajasthan cities that one can visit from Ajmer include Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and more. Ajmer is a precious gem in Rajasthan’s tourism treasure and is visited by numerous people each year due to the presence of the spiritual dargah. However, Ajmer also has a lot more to offer in terms of other tourist attractions, monuments and the vibes of a small town balancing its various aspects.
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