Located in the heart of Rajasthan, Ajmer, founded in the 7th century A.D. by Raja Ajai Pal Chauhan has a very interesting past. It was from Ajmer that the last Hindu ruler of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan, controlled a major part of northern India. Today, Ajmer is more important as the final resting place of the great Sufi Saint –Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti and is one of the revered places in India for the muslims.
Just as the Muslims revere the Dargah here, the Hindus accord the same sanctity to the holy town of Pushkar. Located just 11 kilometers from Ajmer, the holy lake of Pushkar is believed to have been created by lord Brahma himself. Devout Hindus believe that it is essential to visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime.
The Chauhans dominated Ajmer for many years and it was only toward the end of 12th century that Prithviraj was killed in the battle with Muhammad Ghori. This totally changed the history of the region. The importance of Ajmer diminished with the death of its most valiant ruler and Ajmer passed under the Delhi Sultanate. From then on, Ajmer saw many upheavals until Emperor Akbar came to the throne in 1556 and gave Ajmer the status of a full-fledged province. He also used Ajmer as a base for his operations in Rajputana. But Ajmer saw some more turbulence when the Mughals, the Marathas and British all tried to interfere in the affairs of this province.
However, from 1818 AD onwards, the British Empire gained full control here and it remained so until India’s independence. The British left behind a legacy that still lives on in the fine education institutions, the colonial bungalows, the clubs and the old railway quarters.
The Dargarh of Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti :
Today, Ajmer is more important as the final resting place of the great Sufi Saint –Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Muslims from all over the world revere the Dargah Sharif, where the saint lies buried. This has been so for centuries now. The Dargarh of Saint Khwaja Moinuddin ChistiEven Akbar walked to the Dargah all the way from Agra. Every year lakhs of Muslim devotees gather here to pay homage to the Garib Nawaz, the protector of the poor. If you want to see an altogether different side of this of this sleepy little town then make sure you’re here during the annual URS. This town where very little activity seems to be going on, on normal days, suddenly booms into a bustling, lively place. While you’re around the dargah, don’t miss seeing the beautiful Adhaidhin-ka-jhonpra with its ornate calligraphic inscriptions. There are other areas of interest like the Taragarh fort and the Ana Sagar lake with its marble pavilions.
Ana Sagar : According to “Prithviraj Vijaya” Arnoraja or Raja Anaji (1130-1150 A. D.) the grandfather of Emperor Prithviraj Chauhan, had built the picturesque lake of Anasagar at Ajmer in order to purify the land which was alleged to have been despoiled by the spilling of the Mussalman blood in a battle fought at this place.
No pilgrimage is considered complete without a dip in the holy Pushkar lake. Pushkar has as many as 400 temples and 52 ghats and the only temple in the country that is dedicated to Brahma is found here. While Pushkar is a haven for the religiously inclined, it is also the venue of one of the country’s most colorful cattle fairs – the Pushkar fair. This annual fair is an unforgettable event when the entire little town is taken over by lakhs of animals and visitors. This is certainly the right time to be in Pushkar. Just relax and let yourself go, you’ll be carried away by the heady exuberance that is so much a part of the mela. Ride camels, shop at the colorful market, watch the sunset over the sand dunes. you can even try donning the local outfits–gorgeous odhnis (scarves) and turbans. Do what you will,
Pushkar fair is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will want to repeat. Pushkar lake: It is surrounded by hills on three sides and desert on the other side. The cave of Saint Agasthya was located on the snake mountain here. There is one belief that Kalidasa, the Indian counterpart of Shakespeare, had this place as his locale for his Sanskrit drama, Shakuntalam. According to a legend, the lake was formed when Lord Brahma wanted to perform a yagna here. A temple dedicated to him can be seen here.
Pushkar fair: It is one of the best known fairs in India. The pilgrims take a holy dip in the Pushkar lake. The fair falls in Kartik Poornima in Oct-Nov. Horses, camels, cows etc are traded at this cattle fair. There are also races and other events.
A large number of markets come up selling various items as is usual with all fairs and festivals. Other Sites: Savitri temple: a temple dedicated to the wife of Lord Brahma. It is situated behind the Brahma temple; Brahma temple (See under Pushkar lake above); Man Mahal: The palace is near Pushkar lake, it was built by Raja Man Singh Nasiyan – The Jain Temple.
Places To Visit
- Adahi-Din – Ka Jhonpra
- Taragarh Fort
- Baradari (Anasagar)
- Mayo College
- Prithviraj Smarak
- Luvkush Garden
- Saibaba Temple