About 135 kilometers southwest of Jaipur is Ajmer, the most
sacred of all Muslim places of pilgrimage in India. The revered
Sufi saint, Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti, who came to Ajmer from
Persia in 1192, died in 1236 and was buried here. His tomb,
the Dargah is visited by thousands of devout Muslims every
year. The shrine was erected by Humayun. The Dargah also has
mosques which were built by rulers such as Shah Jahan, Jahangir
and Akbar. Akbar used to make a pilgrimage to Ajmer every
year from Agra.
The entrance to the complex is from the Dargah Bazaar which
leads to the first courtyard. This courtyard has a mosque
built by Akbar and two cauldrons known as degs in which donations
are made. These donations are later divided among the poor.
The saints's tomb is in the centre of the second court. It
is enshrined in a domed marble chamber and is surrounded by
silver railings. The tomb attracts hundreds of thousands of
pilgrims every year on the anniversary of the saint's death,
which falls in the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It
is also the venue for the famous Urs festival.
How to get there
The nearest airport to Ajmer is at Jaipur. Ajmer is also connected
to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Abu Road and Jodhpur
by regular trains. There is regular bus service to Ajmer from
all the major cities of Rajasthan, Ahmedabad, Agra and Delhi.
Where to stay
The good hotels to stay in Ajmer are Hotel Mansingh Palace
(091-145-425855), and Hotel Regency (+91-145-30296).