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Dargah of Garib Nawaz Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti
The Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti lies in eternal rest at this dargah (mausoleum) located at the foot of a barren hill in Ajmer. Humayun constructed the shrine, and the Nizam of Hyderabad built the carved silver Buland Darwaza (Gateway to the Dargah). A silver railing surrounds the tomb of the saint. There is a separate prayer room for women, which is said to have been constructed by Shahjahan's daughter Chimni Begum. The dargah also has within it the tomb of the saint's daughter - Bibi Hafiz Jama.
In the courtyard of the dargah are two immense cauldrons with a capacity of 2,240 kilograms and 4,480 kilograms respectively. During the Urs, kheer (a sweet porridge) and khichdi (a savoury porridge) are cooked in these cauldrons and distributed among the pilgrims. An interesting ritual related to the cauldrons is the looting of the kheer. Inside the complex, there are also the Akbar Masjid and the Shahjahan Masjid. It is said that Akbar used to visit this dargah every year.
Tara Garh Fort
Built in 1100 AD by Ajayapal Chauhan on a hilltop, the Tara Garh Fort gives a birds-eye view of Ajmer city. It is also known as the Star Fort. A winding uphill path leads to this rectangular fort whose walls are approximately four-and-a-half-meter thick. Although the Fort is today in ruins, it is of historical interest as it is the first fort to have been built on a hill in India. With the construction of this Fort, the hill was believed to have become invincible. Hence, Ajayapal Chauhan named the place as Ajai Meru, which means an invincible hill. On the way up to the Tara Garh Fort is a graveyard of Muslim martyrs who died while storming this Fort.
Arhai-din-ka-Jhonpra (two-and-a-half-day shelter) is situated on the outskirts of Ajmer. It is said that the present mosque here was once a Sanskrit college. But in 1198 AD, the invader Mohammed Ghori converted the building into a mosque within two-and-a-half days. Hence the name. But some believe that it is named after a festival which carried on for two-and-a-half days. Today the mosque, which has seven arched walls with Islamic calligraphy, stands in ruins, abandoned.
Ana Sagar Lake
This lovely lake was constructed by King Anaji (1135-1150 AD), the grandfather of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, at a picturesque site located to the north of Ajmer. Next to the lake are the Daulat Bagh Gardens set up by Emperor Jehangir. Shahjahan added the Baradari (marble pavilion) to the lake. An embankment built between two hillocks-Bajrang Garh and Khobra Bherun (named after the Hindu temples built on them) forms the Lake.
Nasiyan Jain Temple
Greatly revered by the Digambar sect of the Jains, the Red (Nasiyan) Temple located on Prithvi Raj Road is devoted to the first Jain Tirthankar Rishabhadeoji. It also has a museum alongside the temple. It is notable that Ajmer has a large population of Jains, who constitute almost 25 per cent of the town's total population. The construction of the Temple was started in 1864 AD and it was opened to public in 1895 AD. The first floor or the Swarna Nagari (city of gold) hall houses an astonishing reconstruction of the Jain concept of the Universe, with gold plated replicas of every Jain Temple in India. It is estimated that over 1,000 kilogram of gold have been used here. The hall has depictions of scenes from Jain mythology, and of the ancient towns of Ayodhya and Prayag. The inner sanctum has silver balls suspended from its ceiling and is surmounted by a vimana (spire).
Akbar's Palace/ Daulat Khana/ Government Museum
Located near the east wall of the city, the Daulat Khana was once the palace of the Emperor Akbar. It has now been converted into a Government Museum.
Built in 1873 AD, Mayo College is one of India's finest public schools, and is also another major attraction of Ajmer. It was founded to provide liberal education to young Indian princes on the lines of the English public schools. Earlier, it was known as the 'Eton' of the Rajput kingdom.
Arhai-din-ka-Jhonpra mosque is located on the outskirts of Ajmer. Three kilometers beyond the mosque on a steep hill is the Tara Garh Fort which offers a breathtaking view of Ajmer city. The small town of Kishangarh is located 27 kilometres from Ajmer and is famous for its traditional miniature paintings. Roopangarh Fort is 52 kilometres from Ajmer and can be reached via Kishangarh.
Fairs And Festivals
The main festival of Ajmer is the celebration of the Urs held every year in the seventh month (the date of which varies) of the lunar calendar. A number of Qawwali (traditional Muslim recitals of devotional verses) functions are held within the Dargah or tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti to mark the occassion.