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Holidays for Soul - Ajmer

 
 
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Spiritual Holidays - Ajmer
| Places to see | Places Nearby | Places to Stay | How to Reach |

Ajmer may not be your usual off the beaten track destination but this small pilgrimage town nonetheless reverberates with a kind of spiritual energy that attracts both Hindus and Muslims alike. Ajmer is the final resting place of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the great Sufi saint of the Chisti Silsilah who is revered by people of all caste, creed and religion. The Khwaja’s resting place becomes a melting pot of various communities during the annual Urs celebration when people of all faith and creed visit the shrine to pay homage, seek a boon, a blessing or just simple peace of mind.

Ajmer

In fact, the very experience of the dargah with its khadims, dervishes and qawwals with their music is such that one is simply moved by the ambience that it creates.

The city of Ajmer is located in the heart of Rajasthan on the lower slopes of Taragarh hill, in the Aravalli range. The city along with its nearest neighbour Pushkar brims with certain kind of spiritual fervour during the annual Urs and Pushkar fair when people in thousands visit the towns to pay their respects. It is really a sight worth experiencing to see people of diverse background - rich and poor, Hindus and Muslims, Asians and Europeans forget their prejudices and become one in their quest to achieve peace and salvation.


Places to see in Ajmer
The Dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti

The Dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti is the nerve center of the city and one of Ajmer’s better known landmarks. The dargah of Hazrat Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti is the final resting place of 'Gharib-Nawaz'- the great Sufi saint of the Chisti Silsila. Thousands of devotees from all parts of the world converge at the dargah to pay their respects during the six day annual Urs celebration held in the Islamic month of Rajab.

The Mughal emperor Akbar is also said to have made a pilgrimage on foot from Agra in accordance with the terms of a vow he had made when praying for a son. The giant cauldrons (degs) that were gifted by the emperor as a mark of gratitude are still used to make the sweetened rice for the devotees. However, it is the evenings that the dargah witnesses a total transformation when the sobriety of the mornings is gradually transformed and the atmosphere reverberates with devotion, when the Qawwals take the stage to sing songs in praise of the saint in the typical Sufi style. These concerts with their divine messages touch the delicate cord of human heart and inspire a kind of spiritual awakening that brings man to a sense of peace.

Don’t forget to remove your shoes to enter the dargah and cover your head. If possible, it is good to follow the Sufi dress code - Kurta Pajama and a turban for men and black veil for women.

Adhai Din-Ka-Jhonpra, Ajmer

Jama Al-Tamish or Adhai Din-Ka-Jhonpra beyond the dargah, on the outskirts of town is Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhonpra mosque designed by Abu Bakr of Heart. The mosque is a masterpiece of early Indo-Islamic architecture and was built on the orders of Sultan Shahabuddin Ghori from the masonry taken from broken down Hindu and Jain temples. Subsequent additions were later made to it by Sultan Shamsuddin Altamish of Delhi. According to legends, the mosque was constructed in two and a-half days (Adhi-Din).

Taragarh Fort
is generally considered as the first fort to be built on a hill in India. Built by Raja Ajairaj Chauhan who also founded the city of Ajmer, the Taragarh or the 'Star Fort' looks like a star from the city. Also known as Ajameru Doorg, the fort covers an area of 2 to 3 km and offers a spectacular view of the city. The fort has six gates and was the site of many historic battles and nerve-wrecking sieges during the Mughal times and was later used as a sanatorium by the British for its troops stationed at the British cantonment town of Nasirabad. The fort also has Miran Saheb ki dargha who was the governor of the fort and laid down his life in an encounter.

Nasiyan Temple, Ajmer

A beautiful red temple that is highly revered by the Jain Digambar sect, the Nasiyan Temple is dedicated to Adinath -the first Jain Tirthankar. Also known as Soni Ji Ki Nasiyan and as the Siddhkut Chaityalay Nasiyanji it is built entirely of red stones and hence the epithet Lal Mandir (Red temple). The temple consists of two parts, the first is the worship area for Jain community with the idol of Lord Adinath and the second is the museum section where the five stages (Panch Kalyanak) in the life of Lord Adinath have been depicted in the form of statues. The Nasiyan Temple is one of the finest Jain temples in Rajasthan after the temples of Ranakpur and Mount Abu and is open to visitors from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Ana Sagar Lake, Ajmer

Other places worth visiting in Ajmer are the Old and New Rangji Temple famous for their gracious south Indian style of architecture. The Khobra Behroon Temple located on the south bank of the Ana Sagar Lake is another temple that is a must visit for any newly wed. Akbar's Palace now the Ajmer Museum is also worth visiting for its rich repository of the Mughal and Rajput armour, miniature paintings, ancient rock inscriptions and exquisite stone sculptures that date back to the 8th  century AD. The majestic Jami Masjid of Shah Jahan sans its dome is located in the eastern corner of the inner court of the dargah. It is said that Shah Jahan held Khwaja Moin-ud-din in high esteem, and while building his own mosque ensured that it was devoid of a dome to allow the main shrine to be the dominant one in the complex. The Sola Khamba Tomb located outside the dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti is also worth a visit largely due to its spectacular trio of cusped arches leading up to the flat roof out of which rise four slender minarets from each corner.


Places Nearby
Things to do
When at Ajmer, visit the Ajmer dargah in the evening for a lifetime experience of the hypotonic Sufi Music. The ‘mehfil khana’ where the Qawwalis are held resonate with a poetic frenzy as people moved by the devotion, hymn and clap to the rhythm of the music.

Not too far from Ajmer is the holy town of Pushkar, well known for its annual camel fair, the lone Brahma Temple and the Temple of Savitri and Saraswati are located here. Kishangarh, a small sleepy little town located 27 Km from Ajmer is the center of one of the finest schools of miniatures paintings - the Bani Thani style of painting whose distinguishing feature from other schools of miniature paintings is its depiction of Radha and Krishna as divine lovers, who are often portrayed in courtly surroundings with a massive backdrop as compared to the figures themselves.

Roopangarh Fort, Ajmer

Roopangarh Fort, 25 km from Kishangarh was built by Maharaja Roop Singh. The fort contains a number of fine miniature paintings of deities and religious epics, and it was through these paintings that the region became famous during early 18th century. Parts of the fort have now been converted into a hotel. Baghera Archaeological Site famous for its ancient archaeological relics is located 107 km southeast of Ajmer.


Places to Stay

Accommodation is not a problem in Ajmer for there are many hotels from luxury hotels to mid range and budget hotels. Some of the recommended stay options in Ajmer include Hotel Mansingh Palace, Hotel Embassy, RTDC's Hotel Khadim, Hotel Ambassador, and Hotel Regency. Check hotels in Ajmer

 
How to reach

By Air: Although Ajmer does not have an airport of its own, there is an airport at Jaipur (130 km away), from where regular buses and taxis ply.

By Rail:Ajmer is a railway junction on the Delhi-Ahmedabad section of the Western Railway. Regular train services link Ajmer with important cities. There are frequent (in many cases daily) trains to and from the city to other destinations in India, including Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur. Delhi is connected to Ajmer by the Superfast Shatabdi Express, easily the quickest and most comfortable way of getting to Ajmer.

By Road: A good network of bus services link Ajmer to other parts of Rajasthan and many important cities in India. Ajmer is well connected by road to Agra (370 km), Bharatpur (312 km), Delhi (444 km), and Jaipur (138 km). During the Urs, special buses ply from cities all over India carrying people to Ajmer and back.

Check Driving Directions to Ajmer from Delhi

Check Driving Directions to Ajmer from Jaipur

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Ajmer from October-March and that to the dargah during the annual Urs of Moinuddin Chisti in May.


About Ajmer: Ajmer Information & Fact File
Altitude 486 meters
Temp
Summer 45 (Max) & 27 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 23(Max) & 5 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go October – March & May
Monsoon November to February
Summer April to June
Winter November-February
Clothes Cottons in summer & woolens in winter
Nearest Airport Jaipur Sanganer Airport, 138 km
Nearest Railway Station Ajmer
Bus Station Ajmer
Hospital & Doctor

Govt. and Pvt. hospitals are fully equipped to handle medical emergencies.

Places to see Tomb of Moinuddin Chisti, Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra, Mayo College,  Taragarh Fort …
   
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