Often referred to as the city of education, Ajmer, is a city like no other. Surrounded by the beautiful Lake Ana Sagar and the majestic Arravali hill range, Ajmer offers more than meets the eye. All corners echoing a blend of Indian culture, diversity and more, this city is an avid pilgrimage site. A silent spectator and overflowing with history, Ajmer is the most visited city in Rajasthan. Home to the Sharif Dargah and Soniji ki Nasiyan, this city hosts thousands of pilgrims every year from all over the world. A truly unmissable city, Ajmer should definitely be next in your list.
Built by Raja Ajaypal Chauhan in the 7th century, the etymology of Ajmer is quite interesting. Deriving its name from the words ‘Ajay Maru,’ which literally means invincible hill, is the same hill at the foot of which Ajmer stands proudly today. The varied architecture here is a result of an amalgamation of influence of Mughals and British. Specks of Indo-Mughal structures and hints of British architecture are scattered throughout the city. And that isn’t limited only to the famous landmarks, but also to the delicious cuisine. While here, you can have a taste of everything. From an authentic Rajasthani plate of food to a fusion of british and mughal cuisine, while in Ajmer, forget about all your diets and promises and relish scrumptious meals without any guilt.
Brimming with pretty hotels and prettier villas on rent, the stay, here will not be an issue. Villas in Ajmer, as you would predict, are all things spacious, beautiful and picturesque. Though Ajmer’s beauty is evergreen and untethered, the best time to visit Ajmer is between the months of November and February. The weather during this time is pleasant and cool. However, if heat is your thing, feel free to visit Ajmer during the summer as well! Whether you visit in winters or summers, here are a few places that you cannot miss while in Ajmer.
Soniji Ki Nasiyan (सोनीजी की नासियां)
The Ajmer Jain Temple, or the Soniji ki Nasiyan is an architectural marvel, the intricacies of which took about 25 years to perfect. The Main chamber, referred to as the Swarna Nagari or ‘City of Gold’, is engraved with shining gold-plated wooden figures depicting various scenes and learnings from the Jain Scriptures. A structure brimming with carvings, this temple is dedicated to Rishabh or Adinath and gives a peek into the teachings of Jain Faith. Known to be one of the richest temples in India, the entrance of the temple is made with red stone and the staircases are engraved with the Jain teaching
Adhai Din ka Jhonpra (अधै दिन का झोंपड़ा)
Literally meaning ‘Shed of two and a half days,’ Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra is a beautiful blend of indo-mughal architecture. One of the oldest mosques surviving in Ajmer, this structure was turned over to Jaipur circle of Architectural Survey of India in 1947. There are several legends regarding the name of the monument. While some say that it got its name because it was built in 2 and a half days, others believe that it got its name because of the 2 and a half day long fair that was held here. Visit this architecturally fine monument and know more!
Mayo College (मेयो कॉलेज)
It is only believable that the city of education is home to one of the oldest public boarding schools in India. If you are a history buff, or simply love admiring various styles of architecture, Mayo College, Ajmer is the way to go. Also known as the Eton college of East, the Mayo College was one of the first colleges to provide similar education to Eton. In the past, this college has hosted some of the royals and princes, and today it is famous for its intricate yet impeccable architecture and the Danmal Mathur Museum that showcases an array of rustic antiques.
Ajmer Sharif Dargah (अजमेर शरीफ दरगाह)
Another of the popular attractions in Ajmer, this Dargah attracts people from all over the world. There are entrances, one of which was erected by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The prasad here is made in large couldrons or ‘degs’ and is distributed to over a thousand devotees. The gates are made with pure silver and carved with intricate and delicate engravings. A sense of calm and peacefulness will engulf you once you are here.
Ana Sagar Lake (अना सागर झील)
You might have heard of man-made things, but have you heard of an artificial lake? A scenic beauty, Ana Sagar Lake is a beautiful lake at the brink of Ajmer. First built by the son of Ajaypal Chauhan, this scenic lake went through a lot of additions later on that only made it better and better. Now, adorned with Daulat Bagh Gardens at the shore and five pavilions, this lake provides an amazing view. Witness a picturesque sunset every evening or indulge in boating while here, a perfect way to end the day.
Local Bazaars (स्थानीय बाजार)
Ajmer, like any other Rajasthani state is home to some of the amazing local markets. Rajasthan hosts some of the best handicrafts and sculptures. Hence, going to Ajmer and not indulging yourself in a pair of vibrant juttis or making a few purchases of stone sculptures would only be unfair. Ajmer is also known for selling some of the best brassware items, sohan halwa and phad paintings. Some of the famous local bazaars of Ajmer are Nalli Bazaar, Dargah Bazaar and Mahila Mandi, make sure you visit them the next time you go!
Taragarh Fort (तारागढ़ का किला)
The ultimate tourist spot of Ajmer that attracts flocks of tourists every year, the Taragarh Fort is extremely popular amongst the masses. A fort that has been a silent witness of several battles, it also houses the Rani Mahal. The Mahal was the home of the wives of the kings and is adorned with murals with stained glass windows. Earlier called as the Star Fort, this fort stands tall at the top of the Aravalli hills, offering a breath-taking panoramic view of Ajmer.
If you wish to step out of Ajmer and get a little away, Pushkar is an apt location. A beautiful city of fairs and festivals, Pushkar is just 14 kms away from Ajmer. One of the oldest cities of India, Pushkar is surrounded by hills on all sides. Home to Pushkar Roses that are exported all over the world, this city attracts thousands of tourists and devotees alike. Housing the only temple that is dedicated to Brahma in the world, this city is definitely worth a visit while at Ajmer.
An ideal city for a shopaholic, a history buff, a foodie and an avid architecture admirer, Ajmer is a city that does it all. You can choose to visit this city for a short period of time, and like a true tourist, experience in Ajmer in all its glory. Or you can plan a full-itinerary, along with renting out a villa to spend time with your family and friends and stay as long as you want and soak in the local culture in its true authentic self. Whatever you decide to do, Ajmer will not disappoint.