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. When Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties. Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims. It is a centre of culture and education, the British chose Ajmer for its prestigious Mayo College a school exclusively for Indian nobility.
Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (11 km.), the abode of Lord Brahma, lying to its west with a temple and a picturesque lake. The Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
Ajaipal Chauhan founded Ajmer in the seventh century. He constructed a hill fort "Ajaimeur" or the invincible hill. The Chauhans ruled Ajmer till the 12th century when Prithviraj Chauhan lost Mohammed Ghauri. Thereafter it became a part of the sultanate of Delhi. Ajmer was also favourite residence for the great Mughals. One of the first contacts between the Mughal King Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe took place here in 1616. The Scindias took over the city in 1818 and then handed it over to the British and it became one of the only part of Rajasthan controlled directly by the East Indian Co.
Major Attractions of Ajmer
Adhai-Din-Ka Jhonpara : This is a masterpiece of Indo - Islamic architecture. As legend goes its was constructed in two and a-half days (Adhi-Din). It is a relic of an old mosque consisting of a quadrangle with a front screen wall of seven pointed arches. The distinct pillars and arched screen with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.
Ajmer-E-Sharief Dargah : At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India's most important pilgrimage center for people from all faiths. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti more popularly known as Khawaja Saheb or Khawaja Sharif. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Median for the Muslims of South Asia. Emperor Akbar used to make a pilgrimage to this Dargah from Agra once a year.
Taragarh Fort : The giant fort stands guarding the city. It has six gates. The fort also has Miran Saheb ki Dargha who was the governor of the fort and laid down his life in an encounter. It gives a panoramic view of the city situated in Nagpahari of Aravalli ranges, this fort has immense archaeological and historical importance.
Ana Sagar Lake : It is an artificial lake named after Anaji Chauhan. The catchments were built with the help of local populace. The 'Baradari' pavilions was built by Shah Jahan, to facilitate his long stays in Ajmer. the Baradari and the adjoining parks are the lungs of city and favourite outing spot.
Places to Stay in Ajmer
The RTDC has done a lot to retain the traditional flavour in its hotels in and around Ajmer. Hotels like RTDC's Khadim, come with AC Deluxe rooms as well as ordinary rooms, which give a comfortable stay in the city. There are also Sarai facilities for the pilgrims. The government sponsored paying guest scheme makes the visitor feel at home.
Shopping in Ajmer
While Shopping in Ajmer , one can go on a buying spree of various kinds of items representing Rajasthani culture and style. The 'Ittar' (perfume) is a major specialty of Ajmer. One can purchase here amazing old silver jewellery with designs of a totally different era.
How to Get there
Air : The nearest airport is that of Jaipur.
Rail : The city is well connected by trains with all the major places in India.
Road : The state transport has its bus services from all over Rajasthan and also from Delhi. However, during the Urs, large number of people arriving in Ajmer, it is advisable to plan your trip in advance during this time.
Local Transport : City bus service operate in the city and to Pushkar. Unmetered taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, and cycle-rickshaws are also available for commutation.
Climate of Ajmer
Pretty hot in summers and becomes green with first rain as all its small mountains become green, in winters temperature is chilled.