When one thinks of visiting princely state of Rajasthan, one immediately thinks of Jaipur, Raipur and Udaipur. But Ajmer goes under the radar. While visiting Rajasthan, Ajmer is a must see .
Ajmer, the land of cultural diversity and rich history is located at the heart of Rajasthan. A small city which hits you with its bustling pace, one cannot help but let themselves be gripped by the city’s aesthetics and culture.
The city of Ajmer was founded by Raja Ajay Paul Chauhan in the 7th century A.D. In 1193, Muhammad Ghauri invaded Ajmer and won the battle against Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Ajmer has also been the city of the Mughals. From Shah Jahan to Akbar, Ajmer is loaded with many great works of Mughal era.
Dargah Sharif – Ajmer’s name is synonymous with Dargah Sharif of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. It’s one of the most sacred places, where every year lakhs of devotees come to pay their obeisance and seek blessings of the Saint. Open to people of all sects, the Dargah is adorned with many historical settings and important events. Annual Urs festival (held in the 7th month of the lunar calendar) is celebrated to commemorate the last days of the Saint’s life.
Nasiyan(Red) temple – This Digambar Jain temple has a double – storey hall. The hall has a series of large gold plated wooden figures depicting the times and people of Jain mythology. Also known as ‘Soni Ji Ki Nasiyan’, the temple is replete with precious stones, gold and silver work plaques adorned magnificently.
Adhai-Din-Ka-Jhonpra– As the name goes, it was constructed in two and a half days. An archetype of Indo-Islamic architecture, it consists of an old mosque consisting of a quadrangle with a wall of seven pointed arches. The beauty of this place, with ancient history attached to it, makes it a marvel.
Taragarh Fort– The giant fort has 6 gates and gives an all encompassing view of the city. Situated in Nagpahari of Aravalli ranges, the fort has an immense archeological and historical importance.
Pushkar– Pushkar is located 11 km to the north-west of Ajmer i.e. just a 20 minutes drive. Pushkar is famous for its festival and also for the Lord Brahma’s temple, the only one of its kind in this world. As the saying goes, Brahma is supposed to have performed sacrifice at the lake, thereby consecrating the place. Every year in the month of October/November thousands of devotees take a dip in the sacred lake.
The Museum– Ajmer was once was the royal residence of Akbar. The Museum, established in 1908 by Lord Curzon and Sir John Marshall, houses a rich repository of Mughal and Rajput armour. Exquisite sculptures and murals beautify the Museum.
There are many more places which are equally important and beautiful to see, like the ANA SAGAR Lake.
I stayed at Hotel Regency just 1km from the Railway station. The best time to visit Ajmer is in winters (Nov-Feb) or the 7th month of lunar calendar for Urs festival. A caveat – during Urs festival there’s a lot of rush. So, if you’re planning to a visit Ajmer that time then make advance reservation in hotels.
Ajmer has a lot to offer in terms of its unique cuisine. The local Rajasthani flavour offers a unique sense to the palate which leaves a long lasting impression on you, leaving one wanting for more. Try out Kikoda ki Sabzi, Moranga ki sabzi, Kicha ki sabzi, Mohan maans and Safed maans in non-veg and Churma, Ghevar and Besan chakki in sweets. The list is endless if you ask me, but the above ones are some of the must- haves.
On the shopping front, one can buy traditional handicrafts and woven fabric items. The city is famous for its hand block prints tie and dye embroidered with mirror framework. Or the famous pottery with floral and geometric patterns, there’s a lot on offer for a shopping aficionado.
How to get there?
Ajmer is a well connected city by all the 3 mediums of transport.
By Air- Jaipur is the nearby airport, 138 kms(86 miles). From there, one can take the public transport or can ferry a taxi.
By Rail- Ajmer is connected to Delhi, Jaipur and all the other intercity and major cities of India. Two of the best trains of Indian Railways, Pink City Express and Shatabdi Express ply to Ajmer from Delhi and Jaipur respectively.
By Road- From Jaipur it’s an approximate 3 hour ride. Delhi is 342kms and Ahemadabad 526kms away.
So, these holidays plan for Rajasthan and try out Ajmer. You will come back with long lasting and cherished memories.