Ajmer,  Pushkar, Merta & Nagaur in Rajasthan

AJMER in Rajasthan

Surrounded by the Aravallis and located in the heart of Rajasthan, Ajmeris 130 km west of Jaipur. The city has seen the rise and fall of many kingoms. Established on early 7th century by Ajaipal Chauhan and named Ajaimeru – the invincible hill, Ajmer is today a very important pilgrimage centre for the Muslims. Ajaipal also built the fort Taragarh. The Chauhans dominated Ajmer for many years and it was only towards the end of the 12th century that Prathvi Raj Chauhan rulers was killed in battle with Mohammad Ghori. Ajmer then passed under the Delhi Sultanate. Ajmer was to see many more upheavals until Emperor Akbar the Great came to the throne in 1556 and gave Ajmer the status of a full- fledged province and also made it his base for operations in Rajputana. But the did not mean a harmonious existence for Ajmer, it was still to see more action. The Rajputs, the Mughals, the Marathas and British were all involved on it at some point in history and left their mark. From 1818 onwards, it passed into the British empire and remained under the care of the British behind a lasting legacy – excellent educational institutions – because it was seen as an ideal location to establish these institutions here.

Ana Sagar Ajmer

Today, Ajmer is more important as the final resting place of the great Sufi Sant – Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti. The Dargah Sharifk, where the saint lies buried, was visited by Akbar. During the Urs, lakhs of Muslim pilgrims from all over the sub- continent visit the shrine. Ajmer during Urs, is a totally different place bustling with people of all ages. The Dargah has two massive cauldrons which are filled with rice, dry fruits, and condiments and then looted by professionals who slide down into the massive cauldrons are gathering it. The “looted” rice is then sold off as tabarukh (sancitifed food).

The other notable monument of Ajmer is the Adhai-din-ka-Jhonpra  (the tow-and-a-half-day mosque) with its ornate calligraphic inscriptions. The popular belief is that the monument itself was built in two-and-a-half days.

PUSHKAR in Ajmer

Pushkar fairLocated 11 km west of

Ajmer, Pushkar is sacred to believed to have been created by Lord Brhama himself and has the same sancity for Hindus as Mansarover in Tibet. No pilgrimage is complete without a visit to Pushkar. For most believers it is essential to visit Pushkar at least once in their lifetime. Today, there are as many as 400 temples in Pushkar and the lake is circled by 52 ghats built over the years of several kings and nobles. The most important temples are dedicated to Lord Brahma, Shiva, Badri Narayan, Varha, Gayatri and Savitri. The important ghats are the Varaha, Brahma and Gau.

Pushkar is also the site for one of the largest cattle fairs in the world. For 12 days in the month of Kartik, which falls sometime in November, the sleepy little town is taken over by laksh of animals and visitors. The cattle fair and the mela is believed to the most colourful animal fair in the world.

MERTA in Rajasthan

Merta was founded by Rao Duda, son of Rao Jodha of Jodhpur in the 15th century. Rao Maldeo erected the fortress, known as Malkot. In the centre of this fortified town is the famous temple of Charbhuja, the tutelary deity of the Mertas, a clan of the Rathores. The medieval mystic poetess, princess Meera Bai, born in the Kurki village was associated with the shrine. The famous mosque erected by Aurangzeb on the ruins of a Shiva temple is an imposing edifice and is surrounded by many Hindu shrines.

Dadasagar, the ‘Lake of Duda’, and many other small ponds surround the town. Near Vishnusagar is the Ashram of Mauni Baba (the Silent Sage), a focal point for his many devotes.

The nearby plains are dotted with cenotaphs or ‘built in memory of the heroes who died on the battlefield.

NAGAUR in Rajasthan

This is a fortified desert city where the focal point is the fort itself. The Muslim influence is apparent in the important monuments here -  Akbar’s five-domed mosque, Shams Masjid. The fort is medium sized and there are portions in it which have been built by |Akbar and Shah Jahan. The Mughal style gardens have been given special attention. Even in its present condition it retains its attractiveness.

Nagaur is best visited during the Ramdeoji fair in February and the Tejaji fair in August.