Ajmer grew into prominence after Akbar initiated a pilgrimage from Agra to the Dargah of Moinuddin Chishti, also known as Khwaja Sahib, a Sufi Saint who came to Ajmer from Persia in 1192 and died here in 1236. Moinuddin Chishti has followers from all faiths all around the country and even abroad. A lot of followers congregate in Ajmer during the Urs or death anniversary of Khwaja Sahib which is observed with huge fan fare. On an average more than a lakh pilgrims visit the shrine daily.

Ajmer is situated in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan. Located at a distance of about 135 km from Jaipur, the state capital, Ajmer is set amidst the Aravalli mountain range on the slopes of Taragarh hill. Ajmer was formerly known as Ajaymeru that means ‘invincible hill’. True to its name, the city of Ajmer is fortified by the enormous Taragarh Fort, which is one of the country’s oldest hill forts. The fort is found at the summit of the Taragarh hill, and provides a stunning view of the city below.

Ajmer was founded by King Ajaypal Chauhan of the Chauhan dynasty. Prithviraj Chauhan was one of the most illustrious rulers of Ajmer. Ajmer has imbibed cultures from dynasties like the Mughals, the Scindias, Rajputs and others. These famous dynasties have all contributed in transforming Ajmer into the city that it now is.

One of the places to visit in Ajmer is the Akbari mosque, built by Akbar himself, in the premises of the dargah and a fort which houses a museum. Shah Jahan also contributed to the city’s architecture by building a white marbled Shah Jahani mosque.

The Adhai-din-ka-jonpura was originally a Saraswathi temple, built by the Chauhans, was converted into a mosque in the 12th century. The mosque has 40 pillars. The Nasiyan Temple which is a well known Jain temple is generously embellished with glass mosaic, precious stones, gold and silver work. The Nimbark Peeth and Nareli Jain temples are also worth a visit.

Ana Sagar Lake, an artificial lake was constructed by Maharaja Anaji, the grandfather of Prithviraj Chauhan, has a garden laid out by Jahangir, called Daulat Bagh.

Mayo College, established in 1875 by Lord Mayo, the then Viceroy of India, evokes the grandeur and splendour of the princely state of Rajasthan.

Ajmer has turned into a thoroughfare to the more popular Pushkar, even earning the name ‘gateway to Pushkar’. The holy city of Pushkar, which is famous for the Lord Brahma temple is also just 11 km away from Ajmer.

The nearest railway station is Ajmer junction. The nearest airport is Sanganer Airport. Rajasthan roadways have numerous buses running from all the major cities of Rajasthan and Delhi.

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