Ajmer – The Invincible Hill Land
Location : North western part of India, in Central Rajasthan
Founded in : 7th century AD
When to visit : October to March
Transport in Ajmer : Unmetered taxis, auto-rickshaws, Tongas, cycle-rickshaws
Important places of Interest : Anna Sagar Lake, The Dargah, The Dargah Urs Fair, Adhai Din ka Jhonpra, Akbar’s palace, The Red temple.
Religious Importance : The tomb of Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti, Month of Rajab awaited at the Holy Shrine of Ajmer.
Souvenir : The Sufi culture, metal ware, cane chair, attar.
In the 7th century, Ajaipal Singh Chauhan founded a city amidst the Aravalli Mountains in the northwestern part of India. He built a hill fort there and named it the Invincible Hill or Ajaimeru. “Ajai” meaning undefeated and “Meru” meaning mountain. In 1193 A.D Mohammad Ghori attacked the city and later founded the Delhi Sultanate. The Chauhans ruled the internal administration in place of paying heavy taxes to the conquerors. The almost invincible Rajput Prithviraj Chauhan, ruled Ajaymeru till the 12th century. In the 16th century, after a long sabbatical, Ajmer the invincible hill land came into prominence when the Mughal emperor Akbar annexed it as part of his kingdom. The link between Ajmer and the Britishers happened when Sir Thomas Roe met Jahangir in the year 1616. In 1818 it went to the Scindias and finally to the British. The beautiful city of Ajmer has stood the time tested chivalry of the Rajputs, the Royal Mughals and the great Marathas.
Ajmer the invincible hill land is a proud city which has its exquisite structures to boast of. The town has become a very important religious pilgrimage centre for all the followers of the Islam religion.This is because of the presence of the tomb of Khwaja-Muin-ud-din Chisti. He was the founder of the Chistiya order in the Indian peninsula. It was a major route of trade between the ports of Delhi and Gujarat. This magnificent city was also the military base for the Mughals before it got converted into a pilgrimage centre for the Muslims. Attar the famous perfume from Ajmer takes its origin from the Mughal empress Nur Jahan cultivating roses to make this exotic perfume.
Today Ajmer stands tall as one of the stupendous, grand and beautiful cities on the banks of the artificial lake Anna Sagar. Drenched in the aroma of attar, and the ecstatic Sufi culture, the holy shrine at Ajmer is always seen filled with activities in the Muslim month of Rajab. All the Muslims wait for the moon to appear and for all the programs and ceremonies to start. Striking fact is the sight of seeing all the doors of the shrine open day and night in this month. The last day of Urs, sees a ceremony called Qul. This ceremony involves tying a headgear called a turban on the head and then praying for harmony and peace.
Yes, if you are looking for artifacts, decorative pieces to take back home, as gifts, as decoration, as mementos, you have reached the right place. Pitchers, urns in metal, beautiful chairs made out of cane, exotically perfumed attar all add to your travel kitty. Shopping here is a shopper’s delight. There are lot of gold jewellery and silver trinkets with contemporary designs. Ajmer is famous for its colorful tie and die materials, embroidered shoes called jodhpuri jutis and many memorable antiques and curios. Breathe the air, spend the time, and fill your kitty while shopping till you drop here.
Set in a picturesque background with the grandeur of Mughal architecture looming large, the sheer ecstasy of watching the monuments around in Ajmer the invincible hill land is the joie de vivre or joy of living in Ajmer. The city has bloomed over the years, from the time it was founded till it was nurtured by the Mughals and then the Marathas and then the British. With a religious history that would send a historian’s heart pounding with excitement, and a religiously inclined individual at peace, Ajmer still stands testimony to the battles fought earlier and the valour and chivalry shown by the people then. The important places of interest in Ajmer are:
The Dargah : The Dargah Sharif is the final resting place of the great religious saint Hazrat Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti. The Mughals were his greatest disciples. The Indian Muslims surely make it a point to visit this monument and it is one of the most prominent pilgrimage spots for them. History has it that the Mughal Emperor Humayun had a shrine constructed here and the Nizam of Hyderabad added a gate to it. The great Mughal Emperor Akbar had the practice of visting Ajmer once a year.
Akbar’s Palace (Government Museum) : In the year 1570 the Mughal Emperor Akbar constructed a great magnificent monument which took shape of a Government museum today. This monument shows some of the best inscriptions on ancient rock and srciptures on stone dating back to 8th century A.D. It also shows a lot of ancient weapons used in the earlier times.
Taragarh Fort : The ruins of this historical fort are a beauty in themselves. Built by Ajaipal Singh Chauhan, this fort gives the best view of the city from the top. In the Mughal period, this fort was used as a sanatorium by the British.
Ana Sagar Lake : Named after the person who made this Ana Sagar Lake, King Anaji, this is found in the northern part of the city. King Anaji was the grandfather of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and he made this lake in the 12th century A.D. There are two places of interest worth seeing when one comes to the lake. They are the Daulat Bagh gardens and the Baradari. The Daulat Bagh gardens were built by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and the Baradari by Shah Jahan.
Adhai Din ka Jhonpra : Literally translated it means “two and a half days shed”. Legend has it that the construction of this mosque was over in two and a half days. It was earlier the biggest Indian mosque. It is found on the outskirts of the Ajmer City. What is left today for us to see is the relics of the earlier grand mosque.
Nasiyan (Red Temple) : This is a temple which is made for the people who follow Jainism, Jains. WE have wooden images from the Jain mythology which tell the story of the Jain concept in the ancient times. There are embellishments of gold, silver and precious stones in the hall. The stories here are antediluvian.
The Pushkar Fair : This is a fair held every year. It is a jamboree of folk dancers, folk musicians and a lot of camel tours and a market place for the camels.
Ajmer Dargah Sharif Urs Fair : Noted amongst all activities in Ajmer, the Ajmer Dargah Sharif has the URs Fair which is a major attraction for all the pilgrims coming to this divine city every year. Urs is considered to be the death anniversary term for the great Saint. It is the seventh month of the lunar calendar and this fair is organized in memory of the death day of the Saint. Sufi saints and innumerable pilgrims come in large number during the Urs. This is the time when a traveler or a person in Ajmer can buy the best creations of color of the traditional work of the Ajmer artisans. Tilonia village and Kishangarh host the best the colorful clothes and products and miniature paintings respectively. There are also a variety of wood crafted items found in this fair.
Thus the city of Ajmer offers the best entertainment quotient by way of being a shopper’s paradise and a voyeur’s delight.