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Ajmer

South west of Jaipur, Ajmer is an oasis wrapped in the green hills. The city was founded by Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan in the 7th Century A.D. and continued to be a major centre of the Chauhan power till 1193 A.D. When Prithviraj Chauhan lost it to Mohammed Gaure. Since then, Ajmer became home to many dynasties. Today, Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage centre for the Hindus as well as Muslims. Especially famous is the Dargah Sharif-tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, which is equally revered by the Hindus and Muslims. It is a centre of culture and education, the British chose Ajmer for its prestigious Mayo College a school exclusively for Indian nobility. Ajmer is also the base for visiting Pushkar (14 km.), the abode of Lord Brahma, lying to its west with a temple and a picturesque lake. The Pushkar Lake is a sacred spot for Hindus. During the month of Kartik (Oct./Nov.), devotees throng in large numbers here to take a dip in the sacred lake.

Ajaipal Chauhan founded Ajmer in the seventh century. He constructed a hill fort "Ajaimeur" or the invincible hill. The Chauhans ruled Ajmer till the 12th century when Prithviraj Chauhan lost Mohammed Ghauri. Thereafter it became a part of the sultanate of Delhi. Ajmer was also favourite residence for the great Mughals. One of the first contacts between the Mughal King Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe took place here in 1616. The Scindias took over the city in 1818 and then handed it over to the British and it became one of the only part of Rajasthan controlled directly by the East Indian Co.

The bus stand in Ajmer is located near the RTDC hotel Khadim. And the railway is further north and most of the hotels are west of the stations. Northeast is the main post office and most of the cities market is located behind and up to Agra Gate. Further north is a large artificial lake called the Anna Sagar.

Forts &Monuments
Taragarh Fort
The giant fort stands guarding the city. It has six gates. The  fort also has Miran Saheb ki Dargah who was the governor of the  fort and laid down his life in an encounter. It gives a panoramic view of the city situated in Nagpahari of Aravalli ranges, this fort has immense archaeological and historical importance.

Ahai - Din Ka- Jhonpra
This is a masterpiece of Indo - Islamic architecture. As legend goes its was constructed in two and a-half days (Adhai-Din). It is a relic of an old mosque consisting of a quadrangle with a front screen wall of seven pointed arches. The distinct pillars and arched screen with its ruined minarets make it a splendid architectural masterpiece.
Temples

Nasiyan (Red) Temple
The red temple is a Digambar Jain temple which has a double- storey hall adjacent to the main temple. The hall displays a series of large gold plated wooden figures depicting legends from Jain mythology. The entire hall is richly adorned by glass mosaic, precious stones, gold and silver work. The place is also popularly called Soni Ji Ki Nasiyan.

Brahma Temple
This is the only existing temple dedicated to lord Brahma and was constructed in the 14th century, standing on a high plinth with marble steps leading up to it. A beautiful carved silver turtle sits on the floor facing the sanctorum or Garbha Griha. The marble floor around the silver turtle is embedded with hundreds of silver coins, with donors name engraved on them.

Rangji Temple
Lord Rangji is an carnation in of lord Vishnu. This temple was built in 1823 by Seth Puran Mal Ganeriwal of Hyderabad.This temple is unique due to confluence of South Indian style (Dravid) Rajput and Mughal style of architecture.

New Temple :The gracious temple is very conspicuous, due to its south Indian style of architecture. It has a high rising Gopuram typical of southern India

Pushkar has more than 400 temples, the other important temples are Balaji Ka Mandir and Man Mandir.

Savitri Temple
The temple of Lord Brahma's first wife. It is located on the hill behind the Brahma temple and one has to climb a long series of steps to reach the shrine. It commands a panoramic view of the beautiful lake and the picturesque surrounding of the villages.

Saraswati Temple
Saraswati is the wife of Brahma. Literally her name means 'the flowing one' .In the Rig Veda she represents a river deity and is connected with fertility and purification. She is considered the personification of all knowledge - arts, sciences, crafts and skills. She is the goddess of the creative impulse, the source of music, beauty and eloquence. Artists, writers and other individuals involved in creative endeavors have for millennia come on pilgrimage to Pushkar to request the inspiration of Brahma and Saraswati. According to a theory,the shrine myths are often metaphorical expressions of the particular power of a pilgrimage place, the lake, hill and area of Pushkar have a spirit or presence that awakens and stimulates the human capacity of creativity.

Dargah
Dargah Khwaza Sahib
It is the landmark of Ajmer and one of the holiest of Muslim shrines in the country. It has a secular appeal and revered by people of all sect. Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, a Sufi saint from Persia made this place his abode from 1192 till he died in 1236 AD. Mughal King Humayun completed the construction of the shrine. The Dargah is approached through a massive gate with silver doors built in several stages. Emperor Akbar made an annual pilgrimage to Ajmer. Mughal Emperors Akbar and Shah Zahan have built mosques in the complex. The saint's tomb is in the centre of the second courtyard and the actual tomb inside is surrounded by a silver railing and partly by a marble screen. The tomb is of marble and dome is gold plated. The atmosphere inside the shrine is charged and supernatural with burning of incense and offerings of flowers mainly rose and sweets.

As you enter the Dargah courtyard, you see two massive 'degs' meaning cauldrons. Mughal Emperors Akbar and Jahangir donated these cauldrons originally but they have been replaced in the nineteenth century. The larger cauldron can contain as much as 4480 kgs of rice while the smaller one contains 2240 kgs of rice.

The shrine comes alive with activity when millions of devotees throng the shrine during Urs fair. Urs is held on the seventh lunar month according to Islamic calendar and is variable according to the solar calendar. Sufis and believer converge from all over India and abroad, as it is believed that those visiting during Urs receives special blessings of the saint. It is compulsory that you cover your head while inside the complex so remember to carry a skullcap or a scarf. The skull-cap is on sale in the colourful market just outside the Dargah. It is also customary to make floral offerings mainly of roses, incense sticks and sweets that are locally available.
Lakes
Ana Sagar
It is an artificial lake named after Anaji Chauhan. The catchments were built with the help of local populace. The 'Baradari' pavilions was built by Shah Jahan, to facilitate his long stays in Ajmer. the Baradari and the adjoining parks are the lungs of city and favourite outing spot.

Pushkar lake
The pious Pushkar Lake, believed to have been created by the falling of lotus from the hand of Lord Brahma. It is considered to be as old as the creation. The lake is considered as one of the most sacred spots, and believed that one dip in the waters of lake on Kartika Poornima is equivalent to performing yagnas for several hundred years.

The charming lake amidst the hills has fifty-two bathing ghats, built around lake. The water around each ghat is supposed to have special powers. The Naga Kund is belived to give fertility, Roop Tirth gives beauty and charm, Kapil Vyapi Kund water helps in curing leprosy and a dip in the Mrikand Muni Kund grants the boon of wisdom.

Foy Sagar
Fairs
Pushkar Fair
URS Fair
Around Ajmer
Kishangarh
Kishangarh is 27 Kms north east of Ajmer and was founded by Kishan Singh a Rathore Prince. In the 18th century it acclaimed fame as one of the finest schools of miniatures paintings. Though a smaller school with a much shorter duration it had a more refined style. It peaked under the patronage of Savant Singh an heir to the throne, who later became a hermit. It is said that Savant Singh modeled as Krishna while his mistress nicknamed as Bani Thani modelled for Radha. Paintings of Bani Thani are it most celebrated. The artist of this school favoured evening lights and grey skies with fine colours. This outstanding school lasted only a few decades. Today the artists still create duplicates of the work. The town is now an industrial town for marble and textiles. Kishangarh is connected by train and bus.

Tilonia
Tilonia is a small town 25 kms from Kishangarh near Ajmer and 7 kms off Jaipur-Ajmer highway. Barefoot college inspires this town, which began in 1972 with the conviction that solutions to rural problems lie within the community. The College, officially known as Social Work and Research Centre, addresses problems of drinking water, girl education, health & sanitation, rural unemployment, income generation, electricity and power, as well as social awareness and the conservation of ecological systems in rural communities.

Pushkar
PUSHKAR- the 'Pilgrim City' is a picturesque town 14 kms. from Ajmer, known for its temples and lake, the Nag pahar (Snake Mountain), which forms a part of chain of the Aravali range, stands between Ajmer and Pushkar. The road from Ajmer to Pushkar is a very interesting drive as the road winds through the Nag Pahar, leading to the ancient lake. The town situated around the beautiful lake is surrounded on the three sides by hills, while the fourth side cordoned by the sands which have drifted from the plains of Marwar.

It is one of the most revered places of Hindus and referred as Tirth Raj' or the king among pilgrims, just as Banaras is their 'guru' or preceptor. No pilgrimage to Badri Narain (Himalayas), Jagannath (Orissa), Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) and Dwarka (Gujarat) the four principal Hindu places of pilgrimage is complete till the pilgrims bath in the sacred waters of Pushkar.

According to Padam Puran, the Hindu religious text, Lord Brahma was in search of suitable place for a Vedic yagna. While contemplating, a lotus fell down from his hand on the earth and water spurted from three places one of them was Pushkar and Brahma decided to perform his yagna over here.

The beautiful Pushkar Lake is a sanctified spot, and considered as old as the creation, and has been a place of pilgrimage since time immemorial, surrounded by 52 bathing ghats, where people come to take a dip with deep religious faith rooted in their hearts. Pushkar has with stood the test of time, and has been a mute witness to the procession of history from the time of Rama, the hero of the earliest Hindu Epic Ramayana, to Fa-Hien's accounts of Pushkar in 4th century AD., and to the time of Muslim invasion.

Things to See

JAGAT PITA SHRI BRAHMA TEMPLE
PUSHKAR- is a flourishing temple town full of religious myths and faiths, the biggest attraction being the temple of Lord Brahma-Lord of Creation; this is the only existing temple dedicated to Lord Brahma. It was constructed in 14th century, and stands on a high plinth with marble steps leading up to it.

A beautifully carved silver turtle sits on the floor facing the sanctum -sanctorum or garbha- griha. The marble floor around the silver turtle is embedded with hundreds of silver coins; silver coins with the donor's names engraved on them are also inset in the walls of temple.

Peacocks adorn the temple walls as they are believed to be the vehicle of Goddess Saraswati - the goddess of wisdom and consort of Lord Brahma. A small image of milkmaid Gayatri, flanks the four faced image of Lord Brahma and is known as Chaumurti. The sanctuary has silver doors inside a carved marble gateway. Steps in the corner lead to a small cave dedicated to Lord Shiva.

WARAH TEMPLE
The Warah temple houses an image of Lord Vishnu in the incarnation of wild boar. The temples of Lord Brahma and Warah are considered equally important. This ancient temple believed to be constructed by Chauhan King Anaji (1123-1150), and was renovated by Gokul Chand Parikh a Scindia minister in 1806.

My thologically a very important temple and is believed that Lord Vishnu came on the earth in the incarnation of Warah (Wild boar) to kill the demon Hirnayaksh and liberate the land from his atrocities. After the Ajmer victory. Mohammad Gauri destructed the temple.

ATMATESHWAR MAHADEO TEMPLE
Another important temple of the town, the 12th century temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

SAVITRI TEMPLE
The temple of Lord Brahma's wife. It is located on the hill behind the Brahma temple and one has to climb a long series of steps to reach the shrine. It commands a panoramic view of the beautiful lake, and the picturesque surrounding of the villages.

OLD RANGJI TEMPLE
Lord Rangji is incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This temple was built in 1823 by Seth Puranmal Ganeriwal of Hyderabad. This temple is unique due to confluence of South Indian style (Dravid) & Rajput style of architecture.

TEMPLE OF RANGJI OR SHRIVAIKUNTHNATH
The gracious temple is very conspicuous, due its south Indian style of architecture. It has a high rising 'Gopuram' typical southern India.

Pushkar has more than 400 temples, the other important temples are Baiji ka Mandir and Man Mandir etc.

MAN MAHAL
Raja Man Singh-I of Amer, built this largest royal house in Pushkar located on the east of Sarovar, the sacred lake in Pushkar. It gives a clear view of the banks and temples located around the lake. It was built as a royal guest house for Raja Man Singh I on his trips to the holy town. This traditional guest house has now been converted into a hotel, run by Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation.

PUSHKAR LAKE
The pious Pushkar lake, believed to have been created by the falling of lotus from the hand of Lord Brahma. It is considered to be as old as the creation.

As per the Hindu Mythology there are Panch Sarovar (Five Lakes) namely Man sarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar.

The lake is considered one of the most sacred spots, and believed that one dip in the waters of lake on Kartik Poornima, is equivalent to performing yagnas for several hundred years.

The charming lake amidst the hills has 52 bathing ghats, built around the lake. The water around each ghat is supposed to have special powers. The Naga Kund is believed to give fertility, Roop Tirth gives beauty and charm, kapil Vyapi Kund water helps in curing leprosy and a dip in the Mrikand Muni Kund grants the boon of Wisdom, The other important ghats are the Varah Ghat which is very sacred as Lord Vishnu is believed to have appeared here in the form of boar, the Brahma and Gau Ghat. A dip in the lake by a woman absolves her and her husband both.

For complete cleansing of sins, three twilights must be passed at the pious city with baths at three ghats.

Photography is prohibited on the ghats of the Pushkar Lake, while people bathing in the lake.


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