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Adventure Tourism || Tourist Circuits

Ajmer || Bikaner || Bharatpur || Bird Sanctuaries || Bundi || Chittaurgarh || Camel Safari || Jodhpur || Jaisalmer || Jaipur || Mount Abu || Nagaur || Ranthambore || Sariska || Udaipur || Kunchaman Fort || Jhalawar || Ahhichatragarh Fort || Kesroli || Bairat || Adhai-din-ka Jhonpra || Alwar || Barmer || Banswara || Dungarpur ||

AJMER

Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hill has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajai Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major center of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. when Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Ghauri. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties, which came and left leaving behind indelible marks of their culture and traditions on the city’s history, converting it to, an amalgam of various cultures and a blend of Hinduism and Islam.

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 Chishti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims.

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.), devotees throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.

What to see around Ajmer

The Dargah
At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India’s most important pilgrimage centre for people from all faiths. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, more popularly known as Khwaja Saheb or Khwaja Sharif. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Medina for the Muslims of South Asia. Akbar used to make a pilgrimage to the Dargah from Agra once a year.The mausoleum has a gigantic gate, which was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad.The two massive cauldrons in the courtyard are of particular interest and on the right side of the courtyard is the Akbari Masjid built in white marble. There is another mosque in the courtyard built by Shahjahan.The saint’s tomb with a splendid marble dome is in the centre of the second courtyard, which is surrounded by a silver platform.The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims during the Urs – commemorating the death anniversary of the Saint, held from the 1st to 6th day of the Islamic month of Rajab. A colorful fair that springs up during this time is the major attraction.

Shahajan’s Mosque
In the corner of the inner court of the Dargah, is a magnificent building in white marble with a long (30.5 m) and narrow court having low arcade and delicate carving with trellis – work.

Adhai – din- ka- Jhonpra
A remarkable structure, this is a masterpiece of Indo Islamic architecture located on the outskirts of the city, just beyond the Dargah. As the legend goes, its construction took two and a half days (Adhai-Din) to complete. It was originally a Sanskrit college, built within a temple. In 1193 A.D., Mohammad Ghauri conquered Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque by adding a seven arched wall in front of the pillared hall in just two-and-a-half days (adhai-din) and hence the name. The distinct pillars and arched ‘screen’ with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.

Taragarh Fort
A steep one and a half hour climb beyond the Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra leads to the ruins of the Taragarh Fort, perched on a hill. One can have an excellent view of the city from here. The fort was the site of the military activity during the Mughal period, later used as a sanatorium by the British.

The Museum

Once the royal residence of Emperor Akbar, the museum houses a rich repository of the Mughal and Rajput armour and exquisite sculptures.

Mayo College
One of India’s best public schools, located in the south-east of the city. It was founded in 1875 A.D. only for the princes. Each prince along with his entire retinue and an English tutor had his own house within the spacious college grounds covering 81 hectares. Now it is a Public School open to all.

The Circuit House
The former British Residency, overlooking the artificial lake, Ana Sagar, has now been converted to the Circuit House. The lake and the cenotaph and the shrine of the Hindu reformer Swami Dayanand, founder of the Arya Samaj movement in India, can be viewed from here.

Shopping
Shopping in Ajmer is an enjoyable experience. One can shop for antiques, curios, fascinating gold and silver jewellery in contemporary design, colorful tie and dye sarees and embroidered jodhpuri ‘Jutis’. Especially during the annual Urs fair, a range of colourful items and marvelous creations of traditional folk artisans are for sale.

Around Ajmer

Kishangarh (Rajasthan)

Kishangarh. The name is derived from the founder, Kishan Singh, the son of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Located 27km from Ajmer and founded in 1597, this rather small and sleepy town on National Highway 8 is famous for its miniature paintings. Originally a tiny Rathore fiefdom flanked by the powerful kingdoms of Marwar, Amber and Mewar (Udaipur), Kishangarh was a part of first, the Mughal and later the British empires. In the 18th century, the Bani Thani style of miniature painting in Kishangarh surged and was probably the Golden Era when under Nihal Chand, a painter in the court of Raja Sawant Singh.

The Bani Thani style of painting got its name from a romantic story set in the Kishangarh court during the 18th century. The ruler a poet-king called Raja Samant Singh (1699-1764) had eyes only for Bani Thani, a court singer and poet. Bani Thani’s eyes were what drew Samant Singh to her, and so did her singing. Seeing and listening to her sing in his court each day drew the king deeper into her web. Samant Singh wrote poetry under the name of Nagari Das, and since Bani Thani was a poet in her own right too, love was not far behind.

The romance was much talked about, and Samant Singh was fortunate to have an artist by the name of Nihal Chand in his court who immortalised their love in a miniature painting to start with. Eventually Samant Singh gave up his throne to retire to the forests of Vrindavan with his beloved, and Nihal Chand painted away in his unique style, immortalising the lovers.

The Bani Thani style essentially deals with Radha and Krishna with the royal lovers as muses. This school of painting depicts Radha and Krishna as divine lovers, a form which emphasises on subtlety and not exaggeration. Radha and Krishna are often portrayed in courtly surroundings with a massive backdrop as compared to the figures themselves. The divine pair are mostly shown with long noses, large wavy eyes and rangy chins, a style which may have seemed a little offbeat even for those times.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was already a big name the world over, and the people of Kishangarh picked up this name and began calling Bani Thani the `Mona Lisa of Rajasthan’!

Roopangarh 25 kms away is also . Known for the fort called Roopangarh fort after Roop Singh Rathore, the fort is situated on the banks of Lake Gandalan which holds an almost perfect reflection of the edifice. The fort contains a number of fine miniature paintings of deities and religious epics, and it was through these paintings that the region became famous during early 18th century. The main entrance to the fort is through a pointed arched gateway painted with elephants and guards. Parts of the fort have now been converted into a hotel by the maharaja and maharani of Kishangarh. Tours of the fort are pretty interesting as is the common folklore attached to it. The other place of interest near Kishangarh is Phool Mahal Palace which has also been turned into a hotel by the present Maharaja Kishan Singh.

Baghera
Baghera is located 107 kms from Ajmer in the southeast of Ajmer. It is famous for its ancient archaelogical relics. Founded by the Chauhana king Someswara, Baghera’s was originally called Vyageraka as mentioned in a rock inscription in Bijoliya dating back to 1226 AD.

Like most of Rajasthan that is strewn about with many ancient monuments and ruins, Baghera too is mainly known for its ancient monuments, especially the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Varaha Avatar temple, as it is known, depicts Vishnu in the form of a boar, his third avatar (incarnation). The temple is now located within a fairly new building near the Varaha Sagar, a sacred tank. Towards the west of the Varaha Sagar is a ruined 10th century temple as well as a decorated gateway leading into the house of the chief of Baghera.

A little distance away from Baghera are Jain images hewn in rock. They seem to loom straight out of the ground. In ancient times the Jains had built a temple here of which these rock statues are the only things that have survived.

Makrana
110 Kms from Ajmer Who hasn't heard of the famous Makrana marbles? Famous the world over, that is really the only real thing to see in Makrana - the marble quarries. Marble has been mined in Makrana for centuries, and it was from here that the marble used for building the amazing Taj Mahal and Victoria Memorial in Calcutta was quarried.

Numerous marble workshops dot the town, and guess what, you can have a marble trinket made to order while you wait. You could lose your marbles over the intricately designed marble jewellery. Traditional artisans still work in tiny rooms, carving deftly, surely and intricately marble pieces to be sold all over India. Close to Makrana is the huge Sambhar Salt Lake, which complements the marble quarries beautifully. Founded sometime in the 3rd century AD, the town of Sambhar was the capital of the Chauhana dynasty and was later made famous by Prithviraj Chauhan. Legend has it that the site for Sambhar was discovered by a king called Vasudeva on one of his hunting expeditions. Saratha, the original old city, lies at a distance of about 18km from the main town of Sambhar. Saratha’s name comes from the goddess Sakambhari and was initially located near a temple dedicated to the goddess. Devyani tank here is an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus.

How To Get There


Air: Jaipur (132 km) is the nearest airport.

Rail: Regular train services connect Ajmer with important cities. Pink City, Chetak and Shatabdi Express, are the best trains for tourists from Delhi and Jaipur.

Road: A dense network of bus services operates from Ajmer to key destinations around.

To Stay

Standard Hotels
: Hotel Mansingh Palace, Hotel Regency, RTDC Hotel Khadim, Hotel Ajaymeru

Budget Hotels: Shobraj Hotel, Hindu Hotel, Hotel Anand, Hotel Malwa, Hotel Payal, Hotel Prithviraj, Hotel Surya.


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