One of the largest cities of Rajasthan, Ajmer has the vibe of an old and peaceful city. The renowned ruler Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from Ajmer. During the Mughal dynasty, the rule of the East India Company as well as the British Raj, Ajmer had played a major role in the struggle for power. Monuments and forts that are standing till date are evidence to the relevance of this city, which the Mughals used as a second capital, besides Delhi.
Ajmer is located with proximity to all major cities of Rajasthan, which are Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Kota. 391 kilometres from Delhi, the city is accessible via road on the NH8. Regular bus services are also available. Ajmer is also connected to all major cities via Jaipur by train. The nearest airport is the Jaipur International Airport.
The hot semi-arid climate of Ajmer makes it inadvisable to visit in the summer months. The best time to visit is during the winter months of October to February. The weather is mild, pleasant and welcoming during these months.
1. Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Dargah Sharif was built by the renowned Emperor Shah Jahan as a shrine to renowned Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Built over his tomb, the shrine is a collection of several white marble buildings. Considered a major pilgrimage site for the Muslims, the site was also often visited by Emperor Akbar. The major attraction at this Dargah is the celebration of the death anniversary of Sant Chisti. On this, a group of people travel from Delhi to Ajmer on foot.
2. Taragarh Fort
Originally the seat of the Chauhan dynasty, this fort is located on the top of the Taraghar hill, with breath-taking views of the city of Ajmer. Later, it was taken over by Akbar, who ruled from here, as did his successors. Two miles long, this fort is only accessible up a steep hill. It has three doorways and a complex water reservoir as well as secret tunnel system. One can also view the separate women’s residence at the Fort.
The Museum of Ajmer, with its vast collection of Mughal and Rajput armour, sculpture and other artefacts, was once the resident of the famous Prince Salim. Built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, this is a fantastic example of the wonders of Mughal architecture, with its vast spaces, dome and engravings. This Museum also holds historic significance, as it is from here that Emperor Jahangir signed the petition of the East India Company to trade with the British.
4. Ana Sagar Lake
The Anasagar Lake is an artificial lake built by the Chauhans in the 12th century. It was meant to be the water source for the prosperous city of Ajmer and is spread over 13 km. Over time, it has been added upon by other rulers to what it is today. Shah Jahan was credited with building the pavilion surrounding the lake, while Jahangir constructed the Daulat Bagh gardens. An island in the centre of the lake is accessible by boats.
5. Soniji Ka Nasiyan
This Jain temple has been built with the purpose of educating visitors on the Jain faith and the teachings of Rishabha. The main temple has various gold-plated statues, which make for a visual treat. The imagery has been done in this three dimensional form as so to better explain the Jain faith to visitors. Another attraction is the large 24 metre by 12 metre pictorial representation of the process of conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment, and salvation. This temple is famous as a spiritual and educational that is also a treat for the senses.
Ajmer is a peaceful, slow paced city with an old world feel to it, amongst the beautiful Mughal architecture and the British influences in the layout of the city. However, as the seat of Rajput, Mughal and British power, the city has witnessed a lot of bloodshed and historic events that have changed the courses of many individuals and cultures. As such, it becomes imperative for us to visit this city and understand the days past.