Ajmer situated in the green oasis wrapped in the barren hills has been a witness to an interesting past. The city was founded by Raja Ajay 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 blend of Hinduism and Islam.
Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage center for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti,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.),devotes throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
The Dargah: At the foot of a barren hill, is situated India’s most important pilgrimage center for people from all faiths. It is the splendid tomb of the Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti more popularly known as Khawaja Saheb or Khawaja Sharif. The shrine is next only to Mecca or Median 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 ins the Akbari Masjid built in white marble. There is another mosque in the courtyard built by Shahjhan.
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 colourful fair that springs up during this time is the major attraction.
Shahjhan’s Mosque: In the corner of the inner court of the Dargah, is a magnificent building in white marble with a long (30.5m) and narrow court having low arcade and delicate carvings with trellis-work.It is the most marvelous of all the sanctums within the sanctuary of the Dargah.
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. Mohhamed
Ghauri conquered Ajmer and converted the building into a mosque by
adding a sevenarched wall in front of the pillared hall in just
two-and-half days(adhai-din) and hence the name. The distinct
pillars-and arched "Screen" with its ruined minarets make it a
splendid architectural masterpiece.
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, Ajmer