(Towns of Religious Significance)
Enveloped in the Aravalli ranges and located south-west of Jaipur, the historical city of Ajmer with 0.5 million inhabitants keeps buzzing with tourists round the year. Ajmer is well known for Dargah Sharif, one of the prominent pilgrimage sites of Muslims. Epitomizing the modern Jain and early Muslim architecture, Dargah accommodates the Tomb of Garib Nawaz. Ajmer is deemed as an educational hub and cultural center. Government of India has also chosen it as one of the heritage cities for Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY).
Ajmer was founded in the 7th century AD by Raja Ajaypal Chauhan. It gets its name from ‘Ajay Meru’, which means ‘invincible hills’. It was the epicenter of the Chauhan dynasty till the late 12th century AD. It was ruled by several dynasties after 1193 AD. Due to home to Dargah Sharif, Ajmer used to be the favorite destination of the Mughals.
PLACES TO VISIT:
- Ajmer Sharif Dargah:This is one of the most prominent Sufi Shrines in India, built on the grave of Moinuddin Chishti, an Islamic scholar & philosopher responsible for spreading Sufi order in Indian sub-continent.
- Anasagar Lake: Spread over 13 kms, this artificial lake was built in the 12th century. It has a lot of folk stories behind it, but one fact that remains undisputed is the beauty of this lake with Aravalli’s wrapped around.
- Soniji ki Nasiyan :This 19th century Jain temple is a fine example of Jain architecture, which also houses a gold-plated 3D model of the 5 Kalyanakas of Lord Rishabhdev.
- Adhai Din ka Jhonpda
- Akbar Fort & Museum
- Foy Sagar Lake
- Mayo College
- Nareli Jain Temple
- Sai Baba Temple
- Ajmer Government Museum
Located 14 kms northwest of Ajmer, Pushkar holds religious significance for Hindus and is one of the 5 sacred pilgrimage sites. Known as one of the oldest cities of India, Pushkar is situated at an average elevation of 1,670 feet (510 m). Pushkar is surrounded by hillocks on three sides. In between Ajmer and Pushkar is a natural border formed by ‘Nag Pahar’ (Snake Mountain). The city is known as ‘the rose garden of Rajasthan’ and the essence of the roses is exported globally. A perfect blend of architectural heritage and mythological history makes Pushkar an enticing city.
Caution: – Alcohols and non-vegetarian foods are forbidden in Pushkar.
It is believed that Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe, dropped a lotus to the ground, and a lake got created there immediately. He named the city as ‘Pushkar’ after the flower. The only temple of Lord Brahma in the whole world is located in Pushkar. The pilgrimage trip of Hindus is said to be incomplete if they do not visit this city.
PLACES TO VISIT:
- Brahma Temple: Believed to be 2000 years old, this is one of the holy places for the followers of Hindu religion, where the God of Creation- Brahma is worshiped. This is the only one temple of Brahma in the world.
- Pushkar Lake: This ancient lake with its proof of existence from as early as 4th century BC is located very close to Brahma temple and holds a great significance in the Hindu religion. A dip in this lake (surrounded by 52 bathing ghats) is said to cure skin ailments and cleanse sins.
- Savitri Temple: This temple is dedicated to Goddess Savitri, the first wife of Lord Brahma. You will have to climb a long series to reach the temple. The temple offers the mind-blowing view of the surrounding villages.
- Varah Temple
- Gurudwara Singh Sabha
- Rangji Temple
- Pap Mochini Temple
- Sri Panchkund Shiva Temple
- Atmateshwar Temple
FAIRS & FESTIVALS:
Pushkar Fair –
Pushkar Fair is the world’s largest camel fair that takes place for five days every year, in the month of October-November. The fair is organized at the banks of the Pushkar Lake. You can buy goats, sheep, cows, camels, and many other things. The main attractions are competitions like ‘bridal competition’, ‘matka phod’, and ‘longest moustache’.
- Shop for Silver jewellery, Local handicrafts and Bangles, ittar (perfumes), antique silverware, puppets, ethnic clothes, and funky accessories.
- Bathe in the Pushkar Lake
- Watch Evening Prayers at ‘Varah Ghat’
- Go for Camel and Jeep safari
- Be carefree with trekking and hiking
- Enjoy hot air balloon ride
BEST TIME TO VISIT AJMER & PUSHKAR: –
From October to February, weather remains pleasant with the lowest temperature around 10 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for sightseeing. You must visit during monsoon (July to September) during which the entire valley turns green and the scenic beauty is at its best. If you want to be a part of Camel Fair, visit Pushkar in October-November.
The summers (March to June) are typically hot with the temperature crossing 40 degree Celsius on a normal day.
HOW TO REACH:
- By Air – Jaipur International Airport is the nearest airport at 132 kms. After that, you have to take either rail or road to reach Ajmer. Buses to Pushkar are available from Ajmer. In September 2013, Prime Minister inaugurated the work of Kishangarh Airport (near Ajmer), and it is expected to start operations in 2018.
- By Rail – Ajmer Junction is well connected with all major cities like Jaipur, Delhi, and Ahmedabad. The distance from Jaipur to Ajmer is 91 km by rail. Since Pushkar is located in the mountainous region, trains to this city are slow and infrequent.
- By Road – Ajmer is located on one of the best highway networks in India, i.e., NH8. It is 130 kms from Jaipur and 400 kms from Delhi. The distance between Ajmer & Pushkar is 15.7 kms.