Ajmer City Guide
Garlanded by the beautiful Aravalli Range, the city of Ajmer is known worldwide for the Dargah or tomb of the Sufi Saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisti. The city was founded by Ajai Pal Chauhan and was initially known as Ajayameru, meaning ‘the invincible hill’.
Every nook and corner of Ajmer speaks of the chivalrous exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan, one of the brave Rajputs, who ruled Ajmer till 12th century, after which the city was under Mughal rule. Ruled by different rulers at different points of time, Ajmer is the seat of cultural blend, which is well evident in its brilliant architectural artifacts and the different fairs and festivals like the Pushkar fair.
Ajmer lies at the center of Rajasthan, its exact geographical location being 26° 27” N. latitude and 74° 44” E. longitude. It is positioned in the Aravalli Range in the descending slopes of Taragarh Hill. Towards the north, there is a beautiful man-made lake named Anasagar. Ajmer’s distance from the two major cities Jaipur and Delhi is 131 km and 389 km respectively.
Being a desert region, Ajmer experiences very hot summers and cool winters. In both these seasons, there are extremes of temperature with days and nights having great differences in temperature. From April to June it is summer in Ajmer, the maximum temperature being 45° C and the minimum being around 28° C. Summer is followed by the monsoons, when the city has its first brush with greenery. The monsoons last from August to October and the average rainfall is around 45cm. Winters last from December to March, and are fairly cool with the mercury falling as low as 5°C.
Ajmer has a variety of things to offer to the shoppers. The specialities of the city include Bandhini (colorful tie-and-dye Saris), Embroidered Jodhpuri Jutis (footwear), fashionable gold and silver jewelry, antiques, ornaments, home décor articles and Ittar (a unique local perfume). If you happen to be on Rajasthan tourism during the Urs Fair or the Pushkar Fair, you can buy small paintings, beautifully designed wooden articles, traditional clothes and the like. Two important shopping places in Ajmer are Dargah Bazaar and Mahila Mandi.
Places of interest in Ajmer
Dargah Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti
Both the Hindus and the Muslims consider this place sacred. It is the tomb of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, a Sufi saint who renounced all worldly pleasures and devoted his entire life to the service of the poor. The main tomb has a marble dome encircled by a silver podium.There is a massive gate with doors made of silver. The entire structure speaks of the architectural splendor of the Mughals.
This building is so called because it was built in ‘adhai din’ (two and a half days). A brilliant materialization of Indo – Islamic culture, this mosque is a beholder’s delight. The gateway is flanked by seven arches made of yellow limestone. The interior portion of the mosque has a unique design, where three pillars lay one over another, reaching the roof which is placed on a square structure.
A huge fort with six entrances, it offers a spectacular view of the entire city of Ajmer from its top. A tour around this entire architectural splendor would definitely give you a wonderful majestic feeling. The fort has immense historical importance as it was one of the military strongholds of the Mughals, a fact well evident in Bhim Burj, a colossal battlement within the fort which houses a large cannon. The fort also contains Miran-Saheb-ki-Dargah, the tomb of Miran Saheb, the fort’s governor, who sacrificed his life protecting the fort from enemy invasion.
Ana Sagar Lake
The Ana Sagar lake is an artifical lake, built by Anaji Chauhan grandfather of Prithvi Raj Chauhan ,in 1135 -1150 AD for the welfare of the people, is an added jewel to the treasury of Ajmer’s beauty and is named after him. This beautiful lake is surrounded by other attractions like the Daulat Bagh, a garden built by Shah Jahan with marble.
It was a palace built by Akbar to serve as an accommodation for his temporary stays in the city. A royal beauty in every aspect, the intricately designed palace houses a massive collection of stone sculptures, weapons and miniature paintings.
Nasiyan Jain Temple
It is also known as the red temple and is the seat of architectural magnificence. The temple has two storeys. In the second storey, there are beautiful gold plate replicas of all the Jain temples of India and sites of Ayodha and Prayag, which in their totality depict different aspects of the Jain mythology. The interior is mainly made of silver and other precious stones.
Places of interest around Ajmer
Pushkar (11 kms)
Considered one of the most sacred places by the Hindus, Pushkar houses the only temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. According to Hindu mythology, Pushkar is the dwelling place of Lord Brahma, who is regarded as the creator of the World. Legend also goes that the sacred Pushkar Lake was born out of a lotus that fell from the hands of Brahma. Thousands of devotees gather here on Kartik Poornima (during October- November) to take a holy dip in the lake, which is believed to wash away all sins.
Kishangarh (27 kms)
The city, established by a Rathore prince named Kishan Singh, is the seat of 18th century miniature paintings, which rose to the zenith of fame with the support of Savant Singh. A special category of painting depicting Savant Singh as Krishna and his beloved Bani Thani as Radha is popular even today.
Best time to go
The best time to go to Ajmer is between the months of October and March when the climate is conducive to outings. The city also looks beautiful during the rains of August to September, and this is the right time to visit if you want to enjoy the rains.