A glimpse of the Sacredness of the city
The Dargah Sharif or the resting place of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a sacred place of worship for not only followers of Islam and Sufism but to everyone who reveres the teachings of the saint. It is believed that wishes come true when you worship wholeheartedly at his Dargah. The entire place is flooded with offerings from people who’ve received his blessings or are yearning for them.
Similarly, the Jain temples in Ajmer offer solace and strength to people from the community who visit these shrines to pay their respect to the Jain Tirthankaras/Enlightened Ascetics.
Ajmer is also an integral part of the Hindu pilgrimage to Pushkar, one of the very few places where there is a temple for Lord Brahma. It serves as a pit stop before an ascending climb to Pushkar.
Fairs and Festivals
The Annual Urs at the Dargah Sharif is an austere yet vibrant event drawing pilgrims from across the world. Traditional Qawwali music known as Faryad is presented with great devotion. The Festival of Eid is also celebrated with religious fervour.
Hindu festivals such as the Teej, Holi added to the list of annual celebrations and so does the Pushkar Fair in November. The Pushkar Fair draws a large number of people from the neighbourhoods. Apart from attracting pilgrims, the fair also serves as an important trade hub for local merchants.
Local Food and Eateries
While the traditional Rajasthani Thali or full meal is a local speciality like several other regional dishes, it is the non-vegetarian fare in Ajmer that is quite special. Given the influence of Mughal cuisine and the predominantly Muslim community, this is no surprise. Non-vegetarians have a wide variety of local specials they can indulge in.
- Vegetarians too have a decent choice as they can indulge traditional vegetarian dishes.
Street food – Samosas, Kachoris, and lip-smacking Chaats as well as the famous Sohan Halwa and other sweets available here. Dargah Bazaar is “the place” for foodies to satisfy their palates.
The Mango Masala Restaurant serves only vegetarian food, while the Honey Dew, Sheesh Mahal and Ambrosia are but few multi-cuisine restaurants that feature both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies.
Ajmer has a delightful array of local markets that you can’t afford to miss. Be it window shopping or hunting for souvenirs, or shopping for offerings at the Dargah Sharif, choices are aplenty.
The Mahila Mandi caters exclusively to the needs of women shoppers, featuring an exhaustive array of readymade clothing, traditional tie and dye fabric, artfully embroidered bags, mojaris (footwear) and jackets, printed dupattas and scarves, perfumes and other items.
Traditional “Chadar” (Blanket) offered at Dargah Sharif shrine is best purchased at the Dargah Market where exquisitely crafted chadars (of fine silk, scented flowers), incense, garlands and sweets are also sold. The Dargah Market also happens to be the best place to relish a hearty non-vegetarian fare and local street food.
The Nalla Bazaar is popular for clothes and accessories, while the Churi Bazaar for its impressive collection of Bangles.
The perfumes, miniature paintings and other artefacts at the Naya Bazaar draw a lot of visitors as this bazaar is close to the Raghunath Temple. Visitors heading to the temple often purchase their offerings here.
Lac, silver, black metal, wood and marble artefacts, miniature paintings and colourful apparel are a hit with tourists. It is, of course, a must to bargain to strike a reasonable deal.
You can visit Ajmer’s ancient monuments and holy places quite comfortably during a short visit. Spending time at the scenic spots and historical museum as well as at the different bazaars or marketplaces offer much-needed relaxation and fun for holidayers.
Day 1- Start off your tour of the city with a visit to the Ajmer Dargah and offer your respects to Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, the Sufi saint who originally was from Persia. Explore the complex and take time to appreciate the Mughal architecture featured here- the tomb, artistically crafted using marble and gold, the prayer halls, courtyards and the majestic gates as well. Make sure to dress conservatively and cover your head with scarf/shawl when at the Dargah Sharif.
You may then proceed to Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra, an ancient mosque built during the 1190’s. Though partly in ruins, you can observe the beautifully carved screen pillars, platforms and arches that reflect a blend of Indo-Islamic architectural styles.
Break for lunch, treat yourself to the best of regional cuisine at the restaurants nearby and rest a while before heading to Akbar’s Fort and Museum. The fortified yet immense, a beautiful palatial structure is full of gorgeous artwork and interesting inscriptions on the walls and ceilings. Check out the miniature paintings, sculptures, vintage artefact and weapons on display here.
Spend the evening at the Daulat Bagh gardens, enjoying excellent views of the Ana Sagar Lake or visit the Lake itself and go for a delightful boat ride before a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Day 2- After a sumptuous breakfast, make your way to Soniji Ki Nasiyan, the richest of Jain temples with exquisite sandstone exteriors housing the “City of Gold”, an impressive gold plated representation of religious artefacts. You can also see images of different Tirthankaras meticulously depicted in this temple dedicated to Lord Adinath.
Proceed to the Taragarh Fort close by to explore one of the oldest forts in the region, which also happens to showcase the Rajasthani style of architecture. Visit the Dargah of Miran Sahib and check out Bhim Burj, the battlement area atop the fort before heading to Nareli Jain Temple nestled amidst the serene Aravalli Hills.
Frequented by Digambar Jains, this temple at Nareli crafted out of stone and marble houses a large statue of Adinath Ji. You can unwind and relax in this tranquil settings and return to the city for some souvenir shopping at the different bazaars here.
Day 3- Based on your travel preferences, you could either visit Pushkar or check out other attractions in Jodhpur including the several temples here. The Sai Baba Temple, Chamunda Mata Temple, Vaishno Devi temple, Mahakali Temple, Shani Mandir are but a few temples you could visit.
Sample street food and sweets when travelling through the city. Check out the impressive structure of the Mayo College, a boarding school established in 1875.
Enjoy an afternoon at the Birla City Water Park to experience different fun rides at this comfortable resort-style theme park. The park is a haven for children who are set to have a great time here.
Spend the evening at the Foy Sagar Lake and catch the Laser show at the Maharana Pratap Statue to complete your trip.