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Things To Do In Ajmer
Ajmer is one of the major tourist spots in Rajasthan. This city holds a strong religious significance for Hindus, Muslims and Jains as several important temples and dargahs are established here. Ajmer’s name originates from ‘Ajay Meru’ which means ‘Invincible Hills’. And interestingly, the ‘Aravalli’ mountain range encircles the city. Before Ajmer caught the eye of the Mughals, it was ruled by the Chauhan dynasty. Several well-known Mughal Emperors have resided here including Akbar the Great, and His Palace now houses the Ajmer Government Museum. The King was also said to be extremely grateful to saint Chisti for predicting the birth of his son. As a token of honour, Akbar built a mausoleum (Ajmer Sharif) for the saint and visited the Dargah every year.
If you're planning a trip to Ajmer, here are the top 5 things you absolutely must do.
Visit The Ajmer Sharif Dargah
Built in honour of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chishti, a notable Sufi saint from Persia, the Ajmer Dargah is one of the most revered Muslim shrines and known to welcome people of all faiths and religions. During the ‘Urs’ Festival celebrated on the death anniversary of the saint, the Dargah is decorated beautifully, with twinkly lights and lanterns. The festival lasts for about 6 days which includes overnight qawwali performances. An added incentive is the delicious food that is offered to all attendees.
Camping With A Twist
Camp in Pushkar, a small town a few kilometers away from Ajmer. Rajasthan, being a land of Nawabs, even a stay in the tents here is a lavish and comfortable affair. The campers here are entertained with folk music and dance performances around a bonfire, offered scrumptious food and drinks. Definitely one of the best things to do while in Ajmer.
Visit The Anasagar Lake
This lake is named after King Arnoraj Chauhan, also called Anaji, who built it in the early 12th century. The adjacent ‘Daulat Bagh’ and the 5 ‘Baradaris’ around the lake, were built centuries later by the Mughal Rulers Jahangir and Shah Jahan respectively.
The vast lake is home to many species of fish, thereby inviting a variety of migratory birds each year. People can regularly watch pods of pelicans dunking their heads in the water, waiting to catch their favourite fish. Seagulls are also seen taking a refreshing dip in the water to beat the heat. A popular activity here is feeding the catfish, along with boating to the tiny island in the middle of the lake. The variety of sights available here makes the Anasagar Lake a fantastic picnic spot for families.
Marvel At The Jain Temple
Apart from being an important religious stop for Jains, this temple is an architectural marvel as its interiors – Jain deities, and other wooden sculptures included – are covered completely with gold, hence the name ‘City Of Gold’. It is rumoured to have taken at least 3 decades to complete, and the exemplary skill and patience that is evident in its delicate designs, has mesmerized photographers for years.
Visit The Government Museum
This museum is situated within the ancient Mughal emperor Akbar’s Palace. After the Mughals, the British took over Ajmer, and they used this place as their arsenal in 1857, resulting in this place’s other name, ‘Magazine’. Tourists can still see many old weapons, armours, currencies from different eras, and a variety of inscriptions, sculptures and paintings of past Rulers.
Participate In The Pushkar Kite Festival
Remember the floating lanterns scene in the movie ‘Tangled’? This festival looks pretty much like that at night, because the kites flown here at night are lit up. The sky looks absolutely magical at that moment. One of the best things to do, during this festival is to join the locals in their celebrations, and choose a kite to fly, from the countless varieties available. This festival is held every year, around 14 January (Makar Sankranti - the harvesting festival).