Address: Southwest of Jaipur City: Ajmer State: Rajasthan Location: West India Year of Construction: Commenced in the year 1912 AD and was completed in 1915 AD Constructed By: Emperor Akbar Type of Construction: Ancient Type of Building: Mosque Other Deities: Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Religion: Islam Festival: Anniversary of the saint's death Best Time: Visit during October Accomodation: Hotel Mansingh Palace,Hotel Regency Accesibility: The nearest airport is at Jaipur (130 km)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. Nearby Cities: Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ajmer, Delhi, Agra Sharief of Ajmer Rajasthan : One of the most sacred shrines of the Muslims as well as the Hindus, Ajmer Dargah Sharif in Rajasthan is actually the tomb of the revered Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti. This famous Sufi saint came all the way from Persia and worked for the betterment of the underprivileged and the deprived class. The architectural style of Ajmer Sharief has the typical touch of Mughal style of construction and has been modified by all Mughal rulers from Humayun to Shah Jahan. In Ajmer, Dargah Sharif is one of the most famous landmarks and should be visited of you are going to Rajasthan. 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 Hallowed Dargah : Entering the precincts of the shrine is like entering another world. The clamor of the street falls away under an enormous marble gateway built by emperor Shahjahan. There are hundreds of people within, but a harmony of soft whisperings and prayer muffles the air. As you enter the Dargah, have a look at the two pulchritudinous gateways, Buland Durwaza, which were built by Sultan Ghyasuddin Khilji of Mandoo. Akbar was the first Mogul emperor to visit the Dargah on foot, when Ajmer came under his possession. He built the Akbari Masjid in the Dargah in 1571 A.D. which is a voluminous, red sandstone mosque, situated at the right side of the main entrance. The entrance is decorated with gold and enamel work, as well as Belgian crystal chandeliers , which hung from the apex inside the shrine. Clocks are another regular feature of mosques and Sufi tombs--in part to help the faithful keep track of prayer times. The Urs Festival : The Urs festival begins on the 25th of Jamadi-ul-Akhir (sixth lunar month), in May, portraying the six day seclusion, followed by the demise of the great Sufi saint Hazart Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chisty. Energized by the hoisting of a white flag with gaiety, on the Dargah by the Sajjada Nashin (successor representative) of Chistis, the tomb, richly adorned with gold and silver ornamentation, is then washed with rose water and sandalwood paste in the early morning. The last day is marked by the opening of the Jannati Darwaza, a gateway to heaven that should be crossed 7 times to obtain eternal salvation. A must see quantum of the fair is the mushaira or poetic recitation. Poets from all pockets of India gather wholeheartedly to recite compositions dedicated to Khwaja. People also gather in religious convocations which include singing of Qawwali songs by devotees. The Blessed Food : A spellbinding ritual is the looting of kheer (milk pudding) which is cooked in two cumbrous cauldrons called degs, donated by Akbar and Jahangir to feed the poor. Each day, the khadim cook a gruel of barley and salt for the hungry. At the cost of Rs 800, the simple larder feeds two thousand people, twice a day. The iron degs with a capacity of 120 and 60 maunds respectively, are reached by a set of steps. During the Urs, the khadim put on boots and leap into the hot cauldrons to decant food out from the bottom. Every time the money thrown into the empty vessels amounts to Rs 40,000 or more, a Tabarruk (blessed food) is cooked and distributed to the devotees.
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