Home to the famous dargah or mausoleum of Sufi saint Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti, Ajmer is one of the holiest cities in the country which attracts both Hindus and Muslims. Nestled at the base of the Aravali Mountain ranges, Ajmer is a historic city located 135 km from Jaipur in Rajasthan.
The magnificent forts, beautiful lakes, amazing museums and palaces attract tourists from across the world to the wonderful city. Ajmer is also popular as a centre of Rajasthani culture.
The renowned Mayo College, founded by the 6th Earl of Mayo, Viceroy of India from 1869-1872, is also located in Ajmer. Mayo College was founded to provide princes of Indian kingdoms with education similar to that given by a "public school" in the UK.
Ajmer has played a key role in the history of Rajasthan as it has tactically and politically been an important state for the rulers.
Founded by Ajaipal Chauhan of the Chauhan dynasty in the late 7th century, Ajmer went on to be ruled by them till 1193 when Prithiviraj Chauhan lost the control of the city to Mohammad Ghori. Continuous power struggle for Ajmer followed for the next three centuries and the city was to be ruled by many other dynasties. Finally in 1556, Emperor Akbar took over the reins of Ajmer and made it the headquarters for his conquests in Rajasthan.
After the decline of the Mughal power in Ajmer, the Scindias of Gwalior and the Marathas controlled the city for some time. The Marathas thereafter sold Ajmer to British for Rs 50,000 in 1818.
From independence till 1950, Ajmer remained a province of India. In 1950, the region of Ajmer was declared a state only to be made a part of Rajasthan in 1956.
- The song Kun Faya Kun from the movie Rockstar was shot at Dargah Sharif in Ajmer.
- Few scenes from the movie Jodha Akbar were shot in Ajmer.
- The Post and Telegraph department of the Government of India released a special stamp of Mayo College with the Main School building on its face on April 12, 1986.
Dhundhari and Marwari are the two most commonly spoken languages in Rajasthan. Rajasthani people also speak in various dialects of Hindi.
The week-long International Sufi festival attracts artists from across the world. Sufi songs and qawwalis are the high point of the festival which attempts to promote the Sufi culture.
Urs of Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti celebrated in Dargah Sharif is one of the most popular festivals in the country. It attracts lakhs of people from across the world. Apart from that Eid, Holi and Diwali are also celebrated with great fervor.
Ajmer’s architecture is an eclectic mix of styles ranging from Rajasthani to Indo-Islamic to Mughal architecture.
Akbar’s Palace and Museum houses arms and artifacts of the medieval period and also from the 6th century. Mayo College Museum is regarded as the world’s largest College Museum housing a wide range of artifacts.
Ajmer is a shopper’s paradise. Bandhani sari is the most famous item to shop for in the city. The best options are found in Mahila Mandi. There are also other interesting things to shop for like lehengas and odhnis that are popular.
Mandar Gate, Naya Bazaar, Chudi Bazaar, Kesarganj and Dargah Bazaar are other famous shopping centres in Ajmer. Home décor items, woodcrafts, silverwares, bangles, etc. are other popular tourist buys.
Where to stay
There are a lot of accommodation options in Ajmer. Most of the budget and mid-range hotels are located near the railway station. Tourist bungalows run by RTDC are also available in Ajmer that provides budget accommodation. There are limited options as far as luxury hotels are concerned. Heritage hotel like Hotel Mansingh Palace is the best way to experience royal experience. There are other heritage hotels like Hotel Ropangarh Fort, Hotel Haveli Inn and Hotel Bijay Niwas Palace.
During November-February hotel rooms generally get booked fast.
Where to eat
There are a lot of eating options in Ajmer. Mostly, street-side eateries and small restaurants serve an assorted mix of delicious Indian cuisine at extremely nominal prices. Restaurants and stalls near the station and Dargah Bazaar serve mouth-watering non-vegetarian food. Daulat Bagh is a popular place for food lovers as it houses a number of dhabas. A lot of restaurants that serve pure vegetarian food are also located at Daulat Bagh. Apart from these, there are also a few café’s in Ajmer.
In-house restaurants of the hotels serve a host of cuisines ranging from Rajasthani, Mughalai, Chinese, Continental and Italian.
Best time to visit
Ajmer can be visited anytime of the year. However, during summers it tends to get hot with temperature soaring as high as 40 degree Celsius. October to March is the best time to visit the city as the climate is pleasant with temperature dropping as low as five degree Celsius in peak winter.
The city receives medium rainfall during the monsoon months.