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Ajmer is an ancient city located in the state of Rajasthan. It was a provincial state in British colonial period under the name of Ajmer-Merwara. It is situated on the slopes of Taragarh hill of the northern Aravali range that crosses through the state of Rajasthan. In the north of the city is the Anasagar Lake. Raja Ajay Pal Chauhan of the Chauhan Dynasty established the city in 10th century CE. The Chauhan Dynasty rule ended with the victory of Muhammad of Ghur over the last Chauhan ruler, Prithvi Raj Chauhan of Lalkot in Delhi. The later rulers of Ajmer could maintain internal control of some of their territories by paying a hefty tribute to the Islamic conquerors. The Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar conquered Ajmer in 1365 and ruled it until 1509 when the Rathore Rajput rulers of Marwar started a long struggle that they finally won in 1532. The Mughal Emperor Akbar took control of Ajmer in 1559 and the Mughal rulers maintained their hold on Ajmer until 1770 when Maratha rulers conquered it from them. In 1818 the Maratha rulers sold the territory of Ajmer to British East India Company for Rupees 50,000. After independence of India in 1947 Ajmer was merged with newly formed state of Rajasthan.
The Dargah Shareef (holy mausoleum) of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chistie is the most popular pilgrimage attraction in Ajmer. Khwaja Moinuddin was and still is the most popular and famous leader of the Chistie Silsila or mystic order in India. He is popularly called Gharib Nawaz or the one who blesses the poor. He was born in 536 A.H. that corresponds to 1141 CE in either Sajistan in Khorasan or in Isfahan in Persia. He traveled widely in central Asia and middle eastern countries to acquire knowledge from various saints and scholars. He became a disciple of Khwaja Uthman Harooni. Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki was his ‘Khalifa’ or chief disciple, who is buried in New Delhi. The next saint in this Chistie linkage was Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakkar who is buried in Pakpattan in Pakistan. His disciple was Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia, who is the most popular Sufi saint in Delhi. He is popularly known as ‘Mahboob-i-Ilahi’ or the beloved of God. Millions of followers still visit the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chistie around the year. The Dargah is located at the foot of Taragarh hill. Many Islamic rulers made pilgrimages to the Dargah and built various buildings in the vicinity of the Dargah. A huge gate was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Mughal Emperors Akbar and Shahjahan had two mosques constructed here.
Taragarh Fort has a surrounding battlement of about two miles. It is one of the oldest forts of India. It was the stronghold of Chauhan Rajput rulers. The road to the fort is very steep and paved with rough stones. The British East India Company Governor-General, Lord Bentinck ordered the demolition of the fort and converted the remnant structures into a sanatorium for the British troops.
Adhai-Din-ka-Jhonpra was originally a very beautiful Jain temple that was constructed in 1153 CE. The first Islamic ruler of Delhi Sultanate, Qutubuddin Aibak, destroyed it and replaced it with a mosque in 1193. Many structures of the Jain temple were used to make the mosque and are in fairly good state of preservation. Most of the other structures of the original temple were destroyed by the Islamic invaders.
The Fort of Mughal Emperor Akbar is popularly called the ‘Magazine’. It was later the residence of Prince Salim who ascended the Mughal throne as the fourth Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Emperor Jahangir met with the British Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe, who was appointed by King James I in this fort and in Pushkar in 1615 to grant permission to trade with India. This grant eventually led to the establishment of the British colonial rule in India.
Lord Mayo, the Governor-General and Viceroy of India established Mayo College in 1875 for the education of the children of Indian princely state and other elite families. The college is housed in a beautiful white marble building designed in Indo-Saracenic architectural style.
Soniji ki Nasiyan Jain Temple belongs to the Digambar Jain sect and is located on Prithviraj Marg. The Jain temple is dedicated to Swami Adinath Bhagwan. The Soniji ki Nasiyan Temple that is also known as Lal Mandir (red temple) and was constructed in 1865. It has two floors and is divided in two distinct sections. One section is used for the worship of the idol of Swami Adinath Bhagwan. Because of the gold used in this part, the temple is also called Swarna Mandir or golden temple. The other part is a museum that has a huge hall. The interior of the museum hall is constructed with solid gold and shows the five stages (Panch Kalyanak) of the life of Swami Adinath. The dimensions of this hall are 40 x 80 feet and there are Belgium stained glass windows and paintings done with mineral colors in this area.
Mansingh Palace – 54 rooms
Bhagchand ki Haveli
Phool Mahal Palace in Kishangarh
Country Inn & Suites - 71 rooms
Ambassador Hotel – 27 rooms
Hotel Regency Ajmer – 26 rooms
Distance from Ajmer in kilometers and miles:
Pushkar: 11 kilometers or 7 miles
Jaipur: 131 kilometers or 81 miles
Jodhpur: 200 kilometers or 124 miles
Chittorgarh: 191 kilometer or 119 miles
Udaipur: 274 kilometers or 170 miles
Bundi: 163 kilometers or 101 miles
Kota: 199 kilometers or 124 miles
Mandawa: 265 kilometers or 165 miles
Ranthambhore: 255 kilometers or 168 miles