Ajmer is the 5th largest city in Rajasthan and is the centre of the eponymous Ajmer District. Ajmer has a population of around 551,360 in its urban agglomeration and 542,580 for the city (2011 census), and is located 135 kilometres (84 mi) west of Jaipur, the state capital, 190 km from Kota, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from Delhi.
Ajmer is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains. 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.
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.), devotees throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.
Prime attractions of Ajmer
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 Dargah Sharif in Ajmer is the place where the Saint's mortal remains lie buried and is the site of the largest Muslim fair in India. More than five lakh devotees belonging to different communities gather from all parts of the subcontinent to pay homage to the Khwaja on his Urs (death anniversary) during the first six days of 'Rajab' (seventh month of the Islamic calendar.)
Built in the 7th century by Ajaipal Chauhan, the fort gives a bird's eye view of the city. Taragarh Fort or the 'Star fort' is situated on a hill and to reach there, one has to take winding bridle path.
One of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture, this mosque was a Sanskrit college in the 12th century. In 1193 CE Mohammad Ghori destroyed the college and a mosque was built in its place. The mosque is built on pillars and surprisingly no two pillars are alike. The archways are finely engraved with Kufi and Jughra inscriptions from the Holy Quran (also spelt as Koran).
Ana Sagar Lake
This lake was built by Anaji during 1135-1150 CE. Later the Mughal Emperors made additional constructions to beautify the lake. The 'Baradari', a marble pavilion was built by Shah Jahan and the Daulat Bagh Gardens were laid by Jehangir. This lake is located towards the north of Ajmer city.
Govt. Museum - Ajmer
The Rajputana Museum as it is significantly named, has in its galleries important exhibits from almost all the princely states. There is a library attached to his museum, which contains rare books and important historical publications.
One of the India¿s best public schools, located in the south-east of the 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.
Nasiyan (Jain Temple)
This red coloured Jain temple was built in the late 19th century. The wooden gilt in the double storeyed hall depicts scenes from the Jain mythology. The beauty of this temple is widely acclaimed.
Excursions from Ajmer
Pushkar is an ancient city and has seen history being made since the Ramayana period. The account of this city can be found in the 4th century writings of the Chinese traveller-- Fa-Hien and also in the scripts written during the era of Muslim invasions. The city is considered by Hindus to be one of the most sacred places in India and has, perhaps, the only existing temple in Asia, dedicated to Lord Brahma.
This town is located 54-km from Ajmer and is famous for the Badshahi procession festival held on the next day of Holi.
This artificial lake was built during a famine relief programme. Named after the engineer responsible for its construction, the picturesque lake is 5-km from Ajmer.
On the road to Jaipur, 27-km from Ajmer is located this medieval treasure house of art. This place had one of the finest schools for miniature paintings during 18th century.